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Welcome to my monthly update on the work of the HEA in the disciplines of Economics and Politics. I hope that you are all now firmly settled into your teaching and are successfully avoiding the bouts of illness that circulate our campuses around this time of year. The past month has seen some interesting developments and opportunities that I'd like to share with you.
The past month in review
The HEA workshop and seminar series in our disciplines got off to a good start at the University of Edinburgh on 15 December, with the workshop on Active Learning in Environmental Politics, which drew participants from across the country. The event began with an exploration of the main issues in teaching environmental politics today by Sherilyn MacGregor (University of Keele).
This was followed by Louise Maythorne's (Bath Spa University) very engaging demonstration of online tools for encouraging active learning and student engagement in the classroom, such as Twitter and Pinterest. We were able to try out a text-messaging response system during her presentation. Our host Elizabeth Bomberg then provided an excellent overview of ways of assessing active learning and we were introduced to the masters-level placement learning scheme run by Lucie Stokes at the university.
The afternoon session was given over to the environmental negotiation simulation developed by Clare Saunders (University of Exeter) and her former colleagues at the University of Southampton. Exploring the educational possibilities of simulations by experiencing one during the workshop, with the assistance of a number of student volunteers, was a fantastic idea and it generated a great discussion about how to best use this approach to active learning.
The workshop was organised by the Political Studies Association's Environmental Politics specialist group. More details about the group can be found here. A fuller account of the event written by the organisers will appear on this blog in the near future.
Two other highlights from my month were events for research students: one for new PhD students organised by the Postgraduate Network of the British International Studies Association (BISA) on 6 November, the other a two-day seminar run by the Academic Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) on 21-22 November. I was delighted to be invited to speak at both events on the support the HEA can provide to PhD students who teach, including our range of workshops and seminars and our helpful new to teaching toolkit, and was very taken on both occasions with the level of interest in developing teaching practice as well as the number of delegates I spoke to who had already become Associate Fellows of the HEA or were interested in applying for this level of professional recognition. With such dedication to good teaching among today's research students, the future of university teaching looks very bright.
Looking forward, we have a growing list of workshops, seminars and conferences for the remainder of this academic year. Details of our Economics events are listed here, while the list of Politics and International Studies events can be found here. In particular, I'd like to draw your attention to our annual Social Sciences conference, Teaching Forward: The Future of the Social Sciences, which will be held in Birmingham on 21-22 May 2014. I hope to receive a good number of paper proposals from our disciplines. The call is open until 17 December.
In addition, we are pleased to sponsor, alongside the leading professional associations in the discipline, the first European-wide conference on teaching politics. Teaching Politics and International Relations to the Next Generation of Students will be held at the University of Maastricht on 26-27 June 2014 and the call for papers is open until 16 December. This is a very significant development for Politics and International Studies in Europe and I hope to see many of you there.
I am also looking forward to the launch event in Oxford on 9 December for the Political Studies Association's new Quantitative Methods Network, which will provide the first opportunity to hear about the plans of the dozen politics departments which have received funding in the new £19.5 million Q-Step programme to raise the quantitative skills of social science students.
Funding Opportunities, Awards and Other Developments
The call for our collaborative round of teaching development grants is now open and closes on 24 January 2014. This call is for bids of up to £60,000 for projects involving two or more departments, either within the same university or across two or more institutions. And there is still time to apply for our international scholarship scheme, the call for which closes on 20 January.
In terms of teaching awards, I'd like to remind you that the deadline for nominations for the BISA-HEA awards for teaching excellence in international studies, for lecturers and postgraduate students respectively, is 13 January 2014. In addition, the call for applications for the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities is open until 20 January. Please encourage colleagues who are dedicated and innovative educators to apply for these awards.
Finally, we are looking for a new editor in chief for our journal ELiSS: Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, following the retirement of founding editor Anthony Rosie. Details about how to submit expressions of interest for the role can be found here.
I hope the last few weeks of this term are enjoyable and that you all have a wonderful winter break. If I don't see you in December, I hope to meet you to discuss innovations in teaching in our disciplines early in the New Year. Please keep me informed of any developments you would like me to publicise and please send me your comments and suggestions for how the HEA may best serve our disciplines and you. As always, I am keen to visit departments, so please contact me to arrange a visit.