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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, 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 or extension 46525.

Christine Bohlander (Researcher Development Officer)

Christine obtained a degree in Translation Studies in German, English and Spanish at the University of Saarbrücken (Germany). After starting her career as a free-lance translator and as a teacher of English and Spanish for adults in Germany, Christine joined Durham University in 2004. She has taught German in a variety of settings from Beginners’ level for first-year non-specialist undergraduate students to students on the MA in Translation Studies programme. Christine has developed and set up a suite of language reading classes aimed at postgraduate students who need to access documents written in their original language and an online reading course in German. Since 2012 Christine has been a mentor on the DULTA (Durham University Learning and Teaching Award). This has sparked a broader interest in postgraduate training in general and led to the recent move to the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development where she looks after the training programme for postgraduate and early-career researchers.

Her special interests range from innovative teaching methods including the creation of online teaching resources and software tools for feedback and collaborative and independent learning to the development of new courses, particularly for academic reading in a foreign language.

Christine is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Christine can be contacted at Christine Bohlander 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.