National Teaching Fellow 2011
Steven is passionate about the educational benefits of what he calls ‘learning in public’, establishing connections – both physical and virtual – between students and practitioners through placements, guest lectures, educational visits and Web 2.0 tools.
For example, students on his diplomacy modules write on publicly accessible blogs, which enables them to receive formative, peer and occasionally expert and practitioner feedback on their work in progress. Steven finds this unlocks creativity in their academic writing, as well as developing their capacity for independent research. He has been unfolding the implications and potential for assessment, employability and research-based learning from such activities, which form an essential element of the innovative courses he leads: the BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and the new BA in Diplomacy, which will welcome its first intake of students in October 2012.
Steven has been team member or leader of discipline-based learning and teaching projects totalling almost half a million pounds since 2005, including two major three-year projects: The Scholarship of Engagement for Politics, which explored means of embedding placement learning in the politics and international relations curriculum; and It’s Good to Talk: Feedback, Dialogue and Learning, which aims to devise more effective forms of feedback centred on dialogue. His individual projects have explored the educational applications of Web 2.0 and he mentored a team of students who won funding from the Subject Network for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (C-SAP) for an undergraduate research project on the use of blogs in higher education. He has written extensively about placement learning, employability and educational blogging in the study of politics and international relations and is co-editor of a book on engaged learning in the discipline, which includes chapters by students.
Steven is C-SAP’s Discipline Associate for Politics and International Relations and has been co-opted onto the executive committee of the British International Studies Association (BISA) as an expert on learning and teaching and to engage in schools outreach activities in collaboration with the Political Studies Association. He is co-founder of BISA’s Learning and Teaching Working Group, which promotes pedagogical innovation and research in the discipline.