National Teaching Fellow 2009
Denise Robinson entered teaching to work in a career that would allow her to support widening participation and originally started teaching in Further Education institutions that then (and still do) work closely with the community and the lower socio-economic groups. Over the years she has maintained this philosophy and initiated and introduced courses that would be attractive to those students who previously had been excluded, directly or indirectly, from educational opportunities and in so doing, developed teaching approaches that were also appropriate.
Her progression into teaching in HE, initially in an FE context, started 20 years ago as one of the early partnerships between HE and Further Education. In 2002 she was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Post Compulsory Education & Training Consortium. An essential element of the post has been involvement in the development of various initiatives to support the training of the 2000 teachers who annually undergo training on an in-service basis, as well as the teacher educators themselves.
As the Director of the Huddersfield University Distributed Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (HUDCETT) the reach to students is further extended to some additional 5000 HE students per annum and includes a broader spectrum of students, many of whom have not experienced HE before and can be classified as widening participation students.
Denise has instigated and led on taster/introductory courses for ethnic minority groups to encourage more to enter teacher training; she has also supported similar initiatives on Access to Teacher Training for under-represented groups.
Her recent work includes the pedagogic development and extension of Associate Online - a Virtual Learning Environment to support subject specialist pedagogy on an interactive basis for trainee teachers in the Learning and Skills sector. This is unique in offering learning opportunities for those students who find difficulties in engaging, or interaction with, subject specialist mentor and peers, particularly where they are delivering minority subjects. It is not merely a depository for resources; for example, it offers a range of activities and facilities such as the uploading and sharing of work with other trainees, teacher educators, their mentors and the moderators.
Denise has steered and edited the development of a new Journal, 'Teaching in Lifelong Learning' to its launch in March, 2009. The Journal aims to offer opportunities for publication for those practitioners who are new to research activities in the sector, as well as support students who are studying for a professional teaching qualification in the sector. Details of the Journal can be found at http://hudcett.hud.ac.uk
Director - Huddersfield University Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (HUDCETT), School of Education and Professional Development
University of Huddersfield