Introducing… Leisa Nichols-Drew

Leisa Nichols-Drew is honoured to be a member of the newly formed CATE-Net and a friend of the NTF Committee.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science and have been at De Montfort University since 2016, for the Chartered-Society-of-Forensic-Sciences (CSoFS) accredited undergraduate degree programme, where I work in a team with truly fantastic colleagues. However, my journey to DMU started in 2000, as a Forensic Scientist at the Home Office Forensic Science Service, coordinating the laboratory examinations of crime scene exhibits.

I am proud of this practitioner career and refer to myself as a ‘pracademic’. On the way to DMU, I facilitated Further Education qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science, in addition to university modules, enabling me to qualify for both DTLLS and PGCertHE. This FE experience has undoubtedly informed and shaped my HE pedagogy, which is a holistic blend based of connectivism and constructivism.

In 2017, I obtained my Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2018, I was awarded a DMU Teacher Fellowship, and honoured with a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to investigate international approaches to knife crime in Australia and Canada. Also, in 2018 as part of the acclaimed CrashEd team led by Professor Angela O’Sullivan (NTF 2017), we were delighted to be successful with a spotlight and CATE award. In 2019, I was beyond proud when my application for National Teacher Fellow was successful. In 2020, my practitioner expertise was recognised with Chartered Forensic Practitioner (ChFP) status by the CSoFS.

I have an altruistic pedagogic partnership with Angela O’Sullivan and Julia Reeve, who are creative and inspirational DMU colleagues. Our conference workshops and online disseminations have included lego, xylophones, 150-year-old crimes, and treasure chests!

I am also undertaking practice-based PhD research. Recently, my first ever journal article, on rounded knives was published, hopefully preventing future injuries.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, it is a privilege to have collaborated with 2 other forensic science NTFs; Associate Professor Rachel Bolton-King (Staffordshire University, who is a CATE winner too!) and Professor Ian Turner (University of Derby). Together, we have launched a forensic science community (#RemoteForensicCSI) for FE/HE lecturers, practitioners and trainers, sharing ideas for teaching in a blended way using novel resources, promoting engagement and transforming forensic science education. Our first webinar (August 2020) was viewed by participants from around the world, focussed on three areas: crime scene, forensic laboratory, and court. Our resources are hosted on a website ‘Lecturemotely’, established by three DMU academics: Dr Jo Rushworth (NTF), Dr T J Moore and Dr Beth Rogoyski. This website also includes the #DryLabsScience material by Dr Nigel Francis, Dr Francis Smith, and Prof Ian Turner (which originally inspired #RemoteForensicCSI), and Final Year Project material by Dr Dave Lewis.

Here is the link to the ‘lecturemotely’ website and #RemoteForensicCSI resources:

Forensic science is my absolute passion and it remains an honour to be both an NTF and CATE in this subject, so I look forward to building connections within the CATE and NTF community and communicating these awards across all sectors (HE and FE).

Leisa Nicholls Drew, NTF, CATE

The National Teaching Repository

Thanks to Dr Dawne Irving-Bell for contributing information on the National Teaching Respository for this post. Dawne is based at Edge Hill University, and you can find her on Twitter @belld17. Follow the National Teaching Repository on @NTRepository

Citable, shareable and and discoverable, disseminating ideas that work”, the National Teaching Repository (NTR) is an open access online searchable database where tried and tested strategies ‘that work’ can be housed and harvested.

Context/Background: One aspect of my work in the CLT at Edge Hill University is to identify and collate notable good practice from external examiner reports, validation, and periodic review etc (work undertaken by AQDU) and then identify work that is suitable for dissemination outside of the faculty where it originated, from which I facilitate staff development events to support the effective dissemination of the very best ideas.

Developing the work further I initiated an institutional repository, where in addition to sharing practice, colleagues were able to gain recognition for their Learning and Teaching Practice, which they could then use in Performance Review, for promotion and for external awards such as FHEA and NTF. Also – informed by the data I was able to identify which items where of most interest to staff and when staff accessed the blog. As a result, I was able to schedule internal staff development activities accordingly.

Originating from work undertaken to share good practice across a single institution, I disseminated the model at AdvanceHE’s conference in Newcastle (2019). After this using funding I secured from Advance HE (a Good Practice Grant, 2020), and I’ve now developed the concept further to create a national repository.

The National Teaching Repository: The NTR is a space where colleagues can upload and share teaching resources, pedagogical research, approaches and ideas. Sharing these innovations and strategies will both help others and help contributors gain recognition, be acknowledged for and be able to show evidence of the impact of their work in practice. It is a database that anyone can search to access hands-on, practical ideas and resources, off the shelf ready to use or to adapt for implementation in their own settings. A repository that facilitates the ability to showcase practice in a range of non-traditional research formats including data, books, reports, code, videos, images, audio recordings, posters, and presentations.

The National Teaching Repository creates a central space where anyone with an interest in teaching and learning and supporting developments in this field can view, download, upload, share and browse the very best ideas. Either to use as ‘off the shelf’ transferable strategies for immediate direct application, or with adaption to meet the needs of their own context.

The aim of the repository is to share resources amongst teachers and researchers that will have a positive impact on teaching and learning. A space that facilitates the strategic implementation of effective interventions that lead to real improvements for students by providing access to high-quality support to as many colleagues as we can because ‘better’ support for staff enables ‘better’ outcomes for students. Within the repository we have created several folders called categories. You simply decide where your work sits best and upload. It is possible to have work that straddles two or more categories which is easy to do during the upload process and you can upload almost anything into the repository: Papers, Reports, Key Note Lectures, Power Point Presentations, Video, Teaching Resources and Materials. Use the categories and add key words to help people to find your work easily.

Our curators will help ensure your work is located in the most appropriate space and support you in making your work visible. You can link your work to your ORCID ID, request a unique DOI for each item you upload and altmetrics will help you to measure impact. The welcome information can be located here. We have curators and are supported by critical friends with affiliations from over 25 institutions and organisations.

CATE: I’m proud to be a part of the team who won a CATE Award earlier this year in recognition of innovative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. Sharing good practices in learning, teaching and assessment between the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and the Academic Quality and Development Unit (AQDU) was an aspect of that winning application. The links for quotes etc.. can be found here:

If you want to know more about the Repository, please contact Dawne directly on Otherwise, sign up and get sharing!

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