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Academic Office

The team

Dr Robert Matthew (Academic Development and Director of CARD) 

Bob studied Civil Engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, obtaining a BSc, he then obtained both an MSc and PhD in Public Health Engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He then went into professional practice and worked on the Edinburgh Sewage Disposal Scheme. He moved back into academic life and taught Civil Engineering for almost 20 years at University College Cork and Bradford University. In 1989, along with a colleague he won a Partnership Award (a forerunner of the National Teaching Fellowships) for innovation in teaching. This led to growing interest in how students learn, and an eventual move to University of Glasgow to be director of the Teaching and Learning Service. At the time Glasgow merged with St Andrews College (a teacher education institution) and he was made Deputy Dean of the new faculty with responsibility for research and researcher development. He was awarded a personal chair in 2005 for his work on learning and assessment in Higher Education. He subsequently moved to the University of Stirling to be Director of Centre for Academic Practice and Learning. He has supervised over 30 students, both in Engineering and Education, to successful completion of a higher degree.

He is a founding editor, in 2006, of the on-line journal, Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, www.pestlhe.org.uk. Additionally he is Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has an on-going interest in student learning and the evaluation of the effectiveness of new approaches to teaching and assessment in higher education.

Bob can be contacted at robert.matthew@durham.ac.uk or extension 46525. 

 

Dr Lowry McComb (Researcher Development and Deputy-Head of CARD) 

Lowry completed a BSc and DPhil at the University of Sussex, and also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from the Open University. He has held a series of teaching and research posts (mainly at Durham University) where he is currently responsible for early career researcher training and a Senior Fellow in Physics. He also teaches part-time for the Open University, mainly on undergraduate physics and astronomy courses. 

His teaching interests are wide ranging. In physics and astronomy he is a firm believer in the value of practical work and much of his teaching is laboratory-focussed. His work with postgraduates (and formerly with undergraduates) has focussed on the skills and employability agendas. He has contributed to an undergraduate textbook on observational astronomy (Observing the Universe, ed. Andrew Norton, CUP, 2005). He is also an active researcher in very high energy gamma-ray astronomy. 

Lowry is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is a reviewer for National Teaching Fellowships. He is a committee member of the Institute of Physics Higher Education Group. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal for Researcher Development. 

Lowry can be contacted at Lowry McComb or on extension 44581.

 

Dr David Coast (Researcher Development Officer)

David completed a BA, MA and PhD in history at the University of Sheffield before undertaking a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Durham University. He has taught seminars and lectured in history at the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Durham and is also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He developed e-learning resources for statistics and the philosophy of social science research at Nottingham university, where he also taught face-to-face professional development courses. He currently teaches a wide range of professional development courses for postgraduate and early career researchers at Durham.

David can be contacted at David Coast or on extension 44678.

 

Ms Carolyn McAlhone (Programme Administrator, Researcher Development) 

Carolyn joined the university in 2003 as PA to the Principal of Ustinov College and Graduate Dean. She later became programme administrator for the Graduate Training Team. 

Carolyn is the first point of contact for the researcher development programme and undertakes a wide range of duties including managing the day-to-day running of the programme, maintaining the financial records, diary management, arranging venues, hospitality, producing workshop materials and recording attendance. 

Carolyn organises events including postgraduate research student induction, the poster competition for postgraduate researchers, the local NE GRADSchool, the Enterprise School and the Durham Blueprint competition. 

She administers the internship applications, conference and grant awards, business creation fellowship, and the bookings for the induction programme for postgraduate teachers. 

Carolyn can be contacted at Carolyn McAlhone or on extension 44576. 

 

Mrs Catherine Laidlaw (Programme Administrator, Academic Development) 

Catherine began her career at Durham in 1994 and worked for Human Resources before transferring to the Academic Staff Development Office in 2004. She administers the academic staff development programme, including booking rooms, liaising with internal and external facilitators, arranging hospitality, maintaining financial records, making up packs for participants, and providing summaries of evaluations. 

She also administers the University's awards for Enhancing the Student Learning Experience and for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and Doctoral Supervision respectively. Along with Carolyn, Catherine administers the induction programme for postgraduate teachers and the Durham University Learning and Teaching Award. 

Catherine is the first point of contact for enquiries to support academic staff to develop and enhance their practice. Catherine can be contacted at Catherine Laidlaw or on extension 46109.

 

Please note that researcher development is also supported by: Dr David Heading (CIS); Mrs June Kay (Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre); Mr James Bisset (Library); and Ms Janet Lavery and Ms Elaine Tan (Learning Technology Team, CIS). 

The CARD office is located on the ground floor of the Palatine Centre.