Tuesday Ten: 10 questions we ask L & T experts

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Dr Thomas Curran is a Lecturer in the Department for Health. He is gaining widespread recognition for his research on the notion of perfectionism in HE and beyond, examining the ways in which excessively high personal standards and overly harsh self-criticism may increasingly be a feature of the lifestyles of young people. In January 2018, he featured in a discussion on rising perfectionist tendancies on  BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme.

What can you see outside of the window?

I can only see the opposite building out of my window, but I have nice view of the Computer Science offices.

What does your average day at work involve?

I arrive in the morning, have a coffee and reply to emails. I'll then attend to any time-pressing work and begin ticking off my to-do list for the day. Sometimes that's writing papers, sometimes that's writing lectures or reading, and other times that's doing admin.

Why do you think teaching at your university is important?

Teaching is important at Bath because it is an industry-facing, socially-responsible university. The knowledge we impart to our students gives them much-needed skills to contribute meaningfully to society, whether that be as health experts, architects, engineers or chemists.

What do you hope the impact of your teaching will be?

I hope that I educate students in critical thinking and knowledge translation. I hope that I am also able to equip them with practical skills that are necessary for them in their chosen discipline (and beyond)

Who has inspired you most in your teaching career?

I really like the way Michael Sandel conducts his public lectures. Debating controversial issues in social sciences with a conversational style is a really effective way to engage students.

When did a lecture go wrong and how did you overcome it?

Luckily I've not had anything go majorly wrong so far, but I've had students get overwhelmed with content at times when I teach statistics. I find that getting students to support each other as peers is an effective way to manage this.

"Debating controversial issues in social sciences with a conversational style is a really effective way to engage students."

Recommend a book, film or album from the past year.

What about me? by Paul Verhaeghe

What is the biggest change that you've made to your teaching since you started your career?

The biggest change I have made is to offer more small group contact and sole teaching units. I find this helps with engagement and students seem to appreciate the continuity.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in teaching at your university?

Enjoy it!

What three things would you take to a desert island?

My bike, my guitar, and my Kindle.


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