Caroline Bowsher is a Professor of Biology at The University of Manchester (UOM) and Deputy Associate Dean for Pedagogical Development in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. Her personal experience of teaching has provided an excellent insight into the needs and expectations of different student bodies.
Her ethos of teaching 'for' and not 'of' learning has been aided through a willingness to innovate through theatre and technology. Her use of interactive theatre has enabled students to engage critically with specific topics, explore the issues surrounding them and the impact potential decisions may have. Similarly embedding technology into the teaching and learning process has been key to personalising the student learning experience.
Despite never having used a smartphone, Caroline recognises that it is not about what she can or cannot do. Instead by trusting in learners ability to be able to do things independently in a safe, supported and personalised learning environment, she understands the potential value that technology can bring to the learning environment. Caroline brings the same flexibility and understanding from her teaching to create supportive infrastructures which enable significant improvements for staff and colleagues.
Impact of work
The UOM Teaching Excellence award (2014-15) recognised her outstanding contribution to colleagues professional development. Her sharing of best practice has transformed teaching approaches towards more learner centred styles.
Most recently she has introduced an inclusive Teaching and Learning Development Framework which provides flexible opportunities for individuals (including staff on or off campus, academics, Clinicians, PSS, postdocs, GTAs etc), supporting career progression and linked to internal and external priorities such as promotion and TEF criteria. The Framework has had an immediate impact in supporting participants skill development and sharing best practice across a large organisation. It has also identified more experienced participants as either 'mentors' or 'experts' capable of supporting and/or delivering particular developmental activities through an effective community of practice. With the framework sessions delivered not only in person but also housed on a website, where all of the resources developed have creative commons licence, this ensures they are also available for use nationally and internationally.
Plans for the future
Caroline is currently leading a University wide project developing a 'Smarter Curriculum' which includes approaches to make Teaching, Learning and assessment more effective to thereby maximise student engagement and success.