National Teaching Fellow 2007
James Derounian is a Principal Lecturer in Community Development and Local governance at the University of Gloucestershire. As a University Teaching Fellow, James models his approach to learning on his own experiences as an early professional proponent of community development in the North East of England.
In this work he drew on the expertise, opinions and aspirations of an economically-depressed set of ex-mining communities, giving them the advice, contacts and skills to improve the quality of their lives. Today he uses the same techniques to draw together communities of learners, both online and on campus, so that they work together under his guidance, supporting each other’s activities and learning. James combines action research and consultancy on community issues with analysis and
evaluation of teaching styles and materials. So, for example, students have been involved in evaluating the Church of England’s delivery of rural affordable housing; have used research skills to inform a project on community development skills for the Carnegie UK Trust; and have evaluated a participatory game for the New Economics Foundation. His commitment to active learning also has a local context: he has involved students in reviewing the needs and potential of a social housing estate at the back of their campus. He has a particular interest in drawing on the skills and talents of recent graduates, involving them in the work of the University so that they remain a part of this community. This is reflected in a conference he organised in May 2007 which brought current
students together with graduates employed in professional practice as planners and community developers to explore influences on the British countryside. The mkII conference is scheduled for 2009.
James is skilled in using Virtual Learning Environments such as WebCT in his teaching. He manages modules which bring together campus-based and distance learning students, so that they can work together on projects and produce joint reports. He has also conducted contact sessions synchronously online, bringing together learners in remote locations for a two-hour lecture slot. Since 2000 James has been a nominated national adviser on socio-economic affairs for the Royal Town Planning Institute, contributing, for example, to Housing Corporation research on resident participation in regeneration. He recognises the strength and friendship of his direct colleagues in supporting and extending his own teaching.
Principal Lecturer in Community Development and Local Governance
University of Gloucestershire