Working with Pakistani colleagues to improve learning and teaching: the Masters in Health Professionals Education group

In October, Janet Strivens and Ian Willis from the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Lifelong Learning returned to the University of Health Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan as part of the ongoing British Council funded INSPIRE project that aims to ‘enhance learning and teaching in medical education in the Punjab’.

We had two real gains as part of the project; two programmes were approved by UHS’s Board of Advanced Studies.  The first is the Certificate in Medical Teaching.  This course is designed to support relatively new lecturers in medial education. It is based on programmes in Centre for Lifelong Learning and was designed with local Pakistani staff to ensure it was suitable for the local context.

Second, the Masters in Health Professions Education was also approved.  This is intended for more experienced staff and again was based on University of Liverpool programmes with local input, in this case also influenced by University of Maastricht experience in medical education.

As the Inspire project is entering its final year, sustainability and local ownership was central to our efforts on this visit.  We are very fortunate to be working with skilled and enthusiastic local staff.  For the Certificate in Medical Teaching two local staff played a big part in delivering the programme whilst six more staff observed with a view to facilitating the programme in the future.

We hope that our final visits will be taken up with supporting these colleagues and putting in place quality systems rather than ‘just’ teaching.  Similarly, the Masters in Health Professions Education now has Professor Majeed Chaudhry as programme director with two other local staff contributing. Whilst these developments represent real progress, there are always challenges!  Supporting structures at UHS, namely the Department of Medical Education, is seriously understaffed and recruiting suitably qualified staff is really difficult.  There are few people in Pakistan trained to Masters level in Medical Education and very, very few at PhD level.  We are also looking to enhance the use of technology to support learning.

The technical infrastructure is good and UHS has a Moodle VLE platform.  However, the role of educational technologist is unknown and so again difficult to get authorisation to recruit (a national not local process) and harder to find suitable applicants. We also started a ‘Researchers Group’ with the intention of supporting teaching staff to research and evaluate their practice. Early days but ten enthusiastic teachers and some good ideas, many centred on getting student feedback, which is not part of the teaching culture and seen as a threat by some staff. So not only are there issues of supporting this kind of small scale research at a distance but also of getting it accepted in some of the colleges.

As always, it has been great working with the staff and good to feel that we are contributing to locally owned developments.

Ian Willis & Janet Strivens

2012 John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture: Steven Rose

The 2012 John Hamilton Lifelong Learning lecture took place on Wednesday 31 October at the University of Liverpool.

The speaker, the neuroscientist Steven Rose, spoke on the topic of ‘Being Human; Becoming a Person’ to an audience of 550 people: academic specialists; members of the general public; undergraduate and postgraduate students; schools; etc. Steven Rose gave a fascinating talk that covered human evolution, the centrality of personal development to understanding the human condition, the importance of lifelong learning and that also debunked many of the myths of neuroscience and human biology. (We do not ‘only use 10% of our brain’, for example. Rather we use ‘all of our brains, all of the time’).
The John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture once again has demonstrated that there is a thirst for ideas and dialogue about all aspects of our lives and of society. It has also once more shown what the University can to contribute to public life. See the lecture here (each video will open in a new window or tab):
Watch Part 1.
Watch Part 2.
Watch Part 3.
Watch Part 4.

Mark O’Brien

Doctoral Careers Event: Open invitation to colleagues in Academia and Industry

Would you like to share your career experiences with a range of postgraduate researchers?

We would welcome your participation in a short afternoon question and answer networking session with a group of researchers from all disciplines who have been taking a careers management module as part of their research degree. 2.30 p.m. – 3.45pm December 10th, CPD Suite, Central Teaching Laboratories (formerly known as the Graduate School Suite). There will be tea and coffee. Go here for directions.

Doctoral students at the University of Liverpool are high academic performers contributing to world class research while gaining a PhD. At the end of their studies they need to find a job. Many find employment in the research sector and just as many find employment elsewhere either here or overseas.  This question and answer session will allow them to quiz academics and those in other professions on how they need to prepare to get into a career in this increasingly competitive employment market.

You can help doctoral researchers become researcher professionals!

 All you need to do is discuss your own career experience at our career management Skills Course. You don’t need to prepare anything just come along and talk about your experiences and any tips you have on improving researcher’s employability. If you would you like to participate in this networking event please get in touch with PGR Development by emailing me Dr Richard Hinchcliffe, To see PGR Development’s online career resources for research students go here: If you cannot make this date we will be having further sessions on 18th March or 3rd June 2013

Information session on the EdD in Higher Education with the Vice Chancellor

Colleagues are invited to find out more about the University’s Doctorate of Education (EdD) at an event hosted by the Vice-Chancellor on Monday, 12 November, at the Victoria Gallery & Museum.

The University of Liverpool’s Doctor of Education – Higher Education (EdD) is a professional doctoral programme focussed on the latest practice, research, and leadership thinking within Higher Education environments. The programme places great emphasis on the development of a deep understanding of universities, operating in a global context, as places of learning and as learning institutions.

The session, from 5.30pm-8pm, will give staff the opportunity to learn more about the programme, which is delivered online by the University in partnership with Laureate. There are discounts available to staff here at the University who enrol on this programme. As Director of Studies for the programme I will be giving a short presentation, along with my colleague Professor Clare Pickles, Laureate’s Director of Online Studies. This will be followed by a questions and answer session with staff who are currently working towards the qualification.  There will be networking and light refreshments from 7pm onwards. Any enquires in the first instance, do contact Lynn McClymont, Senior Administrator Online Programmes at the University who will be happy to help.  Lynn can be contacted on extension 50574 or by email:

Dr Peter Kahn, Director of Studies for the online EdD