Assistant Professor of Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helen holds a BA in International Economics and Cultural Affairs from Valparaiso University, a MA in Russian and East European Studies and a PhD in German and British citizenship and naturalisation policy from the University of Birmingham. She has also spent time at the University of Tuebingen and Moscow State University. She is fluent in English and German and academically fluent in French.
Her research interests are three-fold:
She is an active member of the Higher Education Academy and the Political Studies Association. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu and Delta Phi Alpha.
She maintains a Twitter feed relating to her research interests.
Teaching and learning interests:
Current teaching responsibility:
Helen's main research interests are migration studies and higher education pedagogy. Her current migration research examines elite and media discourse about migration, especially in light of the 2015… read more
Helen is enthusiastic about good teaching and learning practice. She is keen to implement innovative and evidence-based teaching improvements. She uses a variety of technology and teaching structures to encourage deeper engagement with sometimes difficult and/or unpopular material.
She has won awards for her teaching, including the Political Studies Association Innovation in Teaching Prize for 2014. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. From June 2013 through December 2014, she ran a Higher Education Academy-funded Teaching Development Grant to improve the communication of assessment feedback to students. A brief overview of the project can be found here. Links to publications from the project can be found on the publications tab. The project website is here.
Helen's teachings is currently focused at the undergraduate level. During the academic year 20116-17, she will be teaching on the following modules:
Helen's main research interests are migration studies and higher education pedagogy. Her current migration research examines elite and media discourse about migration, especially in light of the 2015 Mediterranean refugee crisis. She has also been conducting archival research looking at targeted labour recruitment of female labourers in post-war Europe. Current pedagogical research projects examine strategies for decreasing students' anxiety about learning statistics; and continued exploration of students' understanding and use of feedback.
Research fellow and co-investigator (2012), 'Understanding Society Through Secondary Data Analysis: Quantitative Methods over the Undergraduate Life Course'. PI: Prof. Stephen McKay. ESRC project (£80,206.99) ranked 8/9. Curriculum innovation project to improve provision of undergraduate quantitative methods teaching.
From June 2013-December 2014, Helen ran an HEA-funded project on assessment feedback. Entitled 'Closing the loop: bridging the gap between provision and implementation of feedback', it explored the persistent communication gap between what university teachers write on summative assessments and what students understand and implement from the feedback. It produced a series of Open Educational Resources (OERs) with student-tested feedback to improve staff provision of feedback without placing additional demands on staff time. A brief overview of the project can be found here. The project website is here.
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