Back in June, we were introduced to a new CANTF committee member, Professor Debbie Holley. Now it’s time to introduce our brand new communications officer, Dr Julie Hulme…in her own words.
As Groucho Marx allegedly said, I was born at a very early age. I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, an area that is generally perceived to be deprived, and where university education was most definitely not the norm. I was late starting university; after finishing my A levels, I held several jobs (selling double glazing, store security, working in a lab, and more!), and had a young daughter before starting a Foundation Year at Keele University in 1992.
As the first in my family to attend university, and a mature student, I was very under-confident about my ability to succeed in higher education. Doing a Foundation Year gave me an opportunity to hone both my academic skills and my self-belief, and I will be forever grateful to Keele for giving my that foot on the pathway, which ultimately led to a BSc in Biology and Psychology, and a PhD in Neuroscience.
Whilst doing my PhD (part-time), I had a variety of jobs, including a Lectureship in an FE College, and a Teaching Fellowship in the Psychology department at Keele University, providing subject-specific study skills support to students who wanted to improve their academic performance. Combined with my own widening participation background, I started to realise that building skills and confidence was important for everyone, and that these attributes were key to both student retention and academic success.
Fascinated by education, I shifted my focus from Neuroscience to learning and teaching, and over the years, I’ve developed a portfolio of research and scholarship which focuses on developing people. I started by researching assessment and the ways in which feedback can help students to develop skills, then moved into thinking about student transitions, and the ways in which we can support students to develop a sense of belonging at university. This led me into thinking about disadvantaged groups, and how we can enhance the learning experience of students with disabilities, from BAME groups, and from other minority groups – how do we educate inclusively? Finally, I realised that inclusive education is a product of inclusive educators, leading me to research innovative teaching and the ways in which teaching can be transformed, with a particular focus on inclusion. I also co-founded the #ProfsInPrep community to support people to achieve teaching-focused promotions.
My professional heart is now firmly rooted in the discipline of psychology, and my NTF award (as well as PFHEA and Chartered Psychologist status) has helped me to establish myself as someone who applies the rigorous approaches of psychology to better understanding the learning and teaching process from both the student and tutor perspective. I thoroughly enjoy my membership of the NTF community – it has stimulated many a co-authored publication, and helped to increase my impact. Prior to joining the NTF family, I felt that I was a bit of a ‘maverick’ – a student-centred teacher in a world full of researchers. Here, I’ve found my spiritual home, with a fantastic group of like-minded educators. I’m looking forward to giving back to the community through my role on CANTF.
Julie currently manages the @NTF_Tweet Twitter account, and also has her own blog at https://higherpsyched.home.blog/. She can also post YOUR blog on here – email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your say and reach the whole NTF and CATE community.