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University of Sussex appoints two Deputy PVCs to support Education, Innovation and the Student Experience

Professor Claire Smith and Dr Graeme Pedlingham

Two outstanding Sussex academics have been given key leadership roles supporting the institution’s education, innovation and student experience ambitions.

The University is pleased to announce that Professor Claire Smith, from BSMS, has been appointed as Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Innovation and Dr Graeme Pedlingham has been appointed Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Student Experience.

They will work closely with Professor Kelly Coate, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students and report to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell. They will provide dedicated leadership to successfully deliver the University’s Learn to Transform strategy and continue with the Pedagogic Revolution.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Kelly Coate, said:Due to the impact of Covid-19, recruitment to these positions had to be placed on hold some months ago as we focussed on delivering online teaching, learning and assessments to students.

“Now with the Sussex National Student Survey results (NSS) showing scores below average across all themes in the survey, it is critical that we strategically invest in our leadership capability with these two positions. Doing so will amplify our efforts to deliver an outstanding student experience and support our students to gain excellent learning outcomes. We want our students to love their time at Sussex and for this to be a truly transformative life experience.

"I am so pleased that we have recruited Claire and Graeme from within the Sussex community to these positions.  With such excellent skills and experience, they will help us to achieve our collective aims to make Sussex stand out nationally and across the globe.”

Professor Smith’s role will focus on delivering the aims of the Learn to Transform strategy that relate to education and innovation. Additionally she will take a lead role in shaping the online and distance learning provision for the University. 

Professor Smith is Head of Anatomy at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She has contributed to a major transformation in digital literacy and major medical advances. Her work in the field of anatomical education is recognised for creating greater opportunities for pedagogy through her interest in educational theory, in what was previously a limited field of anatomical education.

She was awarded the title: Educator Innovator 2017 by the Association for the Study of Medical Education. In 2018 she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance Higher Education.

As an internationally acknowledged pedagogic researcher, her research on approaches to learning, assessment and core syllabi have increased the profile of anatomy education. And her innovative approach to anatomical education has resulted in her being the first in the UK to print 3D anatomy body parts for students to utilise.

She is the lead author of Gray’s Surface Anatomy for Students, the faculty advisor for Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology, the lead author of The Silent Teacher: The gift of body donation, and an associate editor for the world-leading journal for anatomy education, Anatomical Sciences Education.

In his new position as Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Student Experience, Dr Pedlingham will work closely with all parts of the University including the Executive, Schools, Professional Services, the Students’ Union and the student body, taking a lead role in developing key education initiatives around inclusivity, employability and student experience, for instance through the Learn to Transform Network. He will lead specific education-related initiatives and planning to improve student experience and outcomes in student surveys such as the NSS.

Dr Pedlingham is University Lead for Assessment, Head of Central Foundation Years and Senior Lecturer in English.

He established the Central Foundation Years at the University of Sussex in 2015 and has since led its growth as an interdisciplinary programme that supports students’ access to higher education and enhances student attainment. Under Dr Pedlingham’s leadership the programme has been recognised as a space of excellence, being awarded a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) by AdvanceHE in 2019. This was awarded to Dr Pedlingham and the Central Foundation Years team he leads in recognition of outstanding impact on student learning, support for student transition in higher education and inclusivity. He works across institutions to champion Universal Design for Learning approaches within higher education.

He has been awarded both student-led and institutional teaching awards, and has worked with numerous Widening Participation organisations, disability charities and community organiser groups (e.g. Citizens UK) to develop initiatives supporting students and young people locally and nationally.

Both colleagues will start their new roles on 1 August.

By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Wednesday, 29 July 2020