CAI Sabbatical Fellowship

Each year, the CAI Sabbatical Fellowship grants a selected number of DMU colleagues a two week period to engage in developing a learning and teaching project which explores pedagogy more critically. 

Introducing our 2021 fellows

Arina Cirstea

Senior Lecturer in CLaSS
Arina is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS). Her sabbatical will be used for the data analysis stage of a research project aiming to identify drivers and barriers to student engagement in online writing support. The findings from her project can be used to inform more effective promotion as well as design of online learning support and resources, in particular with a view to engaging ‘hard-to-reach’ student groups.

Kaye Towlson

Academic Team Manager
Kaye is using her sabbatical to explore knowledge production/dissemination and its influence on providing, supporting and promoting some voices in academia at the expense of others. She will be investigating questions such as ‘What do the existing forms of knowledge production mean for decolonising higher education, academics of colour and student learning?’, ‘How does this influence library collections and canons of knowledge?’, ‘What barriers are created by traditional academic knowledge production and publication?’


Kaye has worked in the library at DMU for many years and is currently an Academic Team Manager and the Library and Learning Services Fair Outcomes Champion working with the decolonising DMU project. She intends to produce a thought piece and a workshop addressing these and other questions considering the influences and impact of knowledge production on students and staff within the academy plus what it means within a context of decolonising.

Dr Keith Scott

Programme Leader, English Language

Keith is using his sabbatical to study the field of serious gaming, and how simulations, roleplays and game-based learning can increase student engagement in their studies. He will be interviewing a number of leading figures and practitioners in the field as an exercise in knowledge sharing, and aims to use this material as the basis for a practical teaching toolkit which will enable academics to help develop their own game-based learning activities.

Dr Neil McBride

Reader in IT management
Neil is using his sabbatical to apply systems thinking tools and techniques to the complex problem of student engagement. Using a focus group and addressing current literature, Neil proposes to produce a systems model which will identify possible interventions and increase university awareness of the issues concerning student engagement.

Dr Nicola Ward

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice
Nicola will be utilising her sabbatical to explore staff and student perspectives of compassion and sense of belonging at DMU. She aims to establish whether the current institutional ethos and learning and teaching strategies embody a compassionate approach, and whether there are any perceived barriers to creating a culture of compassion throughout the institution. Ultimately she will create a framework of compassionate pedagogical essentials on which to operationalise a compassionate approach to learning and teaching DMU.

Sara Coulson

Associate Professor
In her role as Operational Lead for Inter-Professional Education (IPE) in HLS, Sara has encountered a number of bottle necks and practical issues around student and staff engagement with IPE. Sara will use her sabbatical to develop a resource within Blackboard that will provide an enhanced and flexible IPE learning space. The provision will be underpinned by theories of online learning and online communities of practice.

See our 2020 fellows

  1. Abdul Hye Miah

    abdul-hye-miah-300x400-imgAbdul Hye Miah
    Abdul served with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years. His sabbatical explores how motivational interviewing techniques could be used by tutors to enhance student engagement. Abdul proposes that by refining the skills tutors already possess using this methodology, we can inspire further change in our students' behaviour, motivation and growth.

  2. Bernadette Gregory

    bernadette-gregory-300x400-imgBernadette Gregory
    Bernadette spent her sabbatical working on a collaborative project, which aimed to develop the small collection of materials used in one 1st year module, into more effective, scenario-based, high quality teaching and learning materials for use across the three-year undergraduate Midwifery BSc programme.

  3. Jo Rushworth

    jo-rushworth-300x400-imgJo Rushworth
    Inspired by the amazing work of her late colleague and very dear friend Dr Jane Sherwood – who taught both Biomedical Science and Suzuki cello – Jo is using her sabbatical to try to encapsulate Jane's ideas in a proposed 'Sherwood-Suzuki' pedagogic framework. This proposed methodology could radically enhance bioscience teaching by adapting the pillars of the Suzuki method of music education, such that all students will be encouraged and able to master their subject.

  4. Julia Reeve

    julia-reeve-300x400-imgJulia Reeve
    Julia is using her sabbatical to create a virtual playful teaching and positive mental health art installation, allowing her to further explore multi-sensory learning, compassionate pedagogy and mental wellbeing. This involves exploration of the theories underpinning her work including constructionism, flow theory and compassionate pedagogy.

  5. Nick Rowan

    nick-rowan-300x400-imgNick Rowan
    Nick is spending his sabbatical creating an online resource that covers the eight major aspects of being a product designer, which will be accessible to all. This will enable aspirational students to learn additional skills and improve their employability, and also support weaker students who can access additional exercises and digital tutorials to practice their core skills and achieve a better grade.