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CEPA has a research budget which seeks to primarily allocate seedcorn research funding, and we welcome applications form colleagues which contain a clear contribution to our research programmes, adopt an interdisciplinary focus, and extend collaboration across departmental, university, and national boundaries.

Current Projects which have successfully applied for funding include:

Investigating Academic Optimism

Dr Claire Lloyd, Sue Cronin, Michelle Pearson, Judy Boyce (Liverpool City Council)

The School of Teacher Education is participating in an international research project, with colleagues in America and New Zealand, to investigate Academic Optimism. Academic Optimism is a property of schools’ organisational structure that has been found to have a powerful impact on pupils’ learning, even after controlling for SES (socio-economic status) and prior performance. Indeed, an increasingly strong body of theory and research has emerged that links academic optimism with school performance (Hoy, Tarter, & Woolfolk -Hoy, 2006). We seek to extend these findings, testing their fidelity across different contexts and augmenting the largely quantitative research-base with qualitative Case Study work. We also seek to collaborate with schools to enhance academic optimism through targeted professional development activities.

Mediation and Enactment of Fundamental British Values in Schools

Dr Phil Bamber, Dr Alison Clark (Liverpool World Centre), Dr David Lundie (University of St Mark & St John)

Based within the Fundamental British Values Project, this is a multi-method study of the factors influencing new teachers’ understandings of Fundamental British Values. Data collected includes

A pre- and post- intervention survey (n=62) measured the levels of teachers’ awareness and understanding before and after undertaking the course, which aimed to develop awareness of global citizenship, and a short practice-based project.

Peer-participant ethnographic observations were carried out in 5 primary (elementary) schools in which the practice-based project specifically referenced Fundamental British Values, and narrative interviews were carried out with 12 students and 5 school principals involved in the project.

Documentary analysis of the students’ final projects to evaluate the values and positionality underpinning students’ understandings of the Fundamental British Values agenda.

English and Australian academics on ‘Teaching Excellence’

Dr Namrata Rao

Recent debate in the English higher education sector around the Teaching Excellence Framework has led to a decisive shift in focus towards excellence in teaching within English Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The key aspect currently being debated is – what is ‘teaching excellence’ and whether a metric based system would facilitate any realistic measurement of this contested concept? Accordingly to Williams (1961), conception of and understanding of ‘teaching excellence’ is contextual and is influenced by the wider societal, economic and political contexts.

The research study is intended to identify the differences in the academics’ conception and interpretation of the term ‘teaching excellence’ and its impact on academic work in two differing national contexts – England and Australia with the view to identify how these conceptions might be underpinned by the differences in the educational discourses and educational ideologies within HEIs in the two countries. Further, the academics’ views on the measurability of the contested concept ‘teaching excellence’ will be gathered. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Brendan Bartram (University of Wolverhampton) and Dr Tanya Hathaway (University of New England).

Lecture Attendance

Dr Frank Su

CEPA has made a small sum available for used to facilitate a Level I (Second Year) student experiment of policy creation and evaluation. As part of a seminar activity, students were asked to create policies to improve lecture attendance. Among many other policy suggestions, there was a policy statement from one group which suggests that the University needs to think creatively to achieve their policy goals, e.g. a 'lotto' draw of £5 worth catering vouchers at the end of each lecture. The findings of this experiment will be shared in the CEPA seminar on the topic 'student engagement' on 11th of January 2017.