Dr Cherie Woolmer

“radical collegiality”

I graduated in 2016, having completed my thesis Staff and students co-creating curricula in UK higher education: exploring process and evidencing value. My supervisors were Dr Catherine Bovill and Dr Bonnie Slade. I received the Mike Baker Doctoral Studentship through AdvanceHE.

Since graduating I undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Paul R MacPherson Institute for Leadership at McMaster University, Ontario. I co-facilitated the university’s flagship Student Partners Program and established a new online, open-access journal – the International Journal for Students as Partners. I served as Editorial Manager for IJSaP until January 2020. During my postdoc, I moved into teaching faculty educational research methods to equip them to design, undertake, and disseminate their research on their teaching. I’ve coupled this with my research on student-faculty pedagogical partnerships; advocating for students as legitimate and valuable ‘knowers’ in education and providing potential for new forms of ‘radical collegiality’, where faculty and students work together (rather than in consumerist ‘feedback’ models) to enhance, challenge and change the academy.

In July 2020, I started a new position as Assistant Professor (tenure track) and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University, Alberta, Canada. I’m a faculty member based in the university’s Academic Development Centre. The CRC scheme is open to all Canadian institutions and Tier 2 is aimed at emerging researchers. This is the first CRC focused on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the country so to say I’m thrilled would be an understatement!

My PhD provided the foundations for my research program but I truly believe it was the additional opportunities provided by the School of Education, the Teaching and Learning Centre, and my supervisors that really gave me the skills and confidence to pursue the opportunities that have followed. My supervisors were intentional with introductions and exposure to their networks and encouraged me to attend numerous international events and networks. This not only helped develop my own networks but also introduced me to critique and review from leading scholars in the field. I absolutely loved how international the university was. I met students from so many countries and cultures and was often humbled by the sacrifices fellow students were making in leaving families behind to complete their studies. That, in turn, inspired me to seek international opportunities myself. I also have fond memories of meeting fellow students and supervisors in Left Bank restaurant, and I still meet my supervisor there for wee reunions when I’m visiting Scotland.

I was a first generation student who, for a time, thought gaining my PhD was a pipe dream. The PhD has enabled me to not only develop as a researcher but also hone a criticality to ‘being’ in the academy. I had the privilege to be mentored and supervised by phenomenal colleagues at Glasgow. I also had the pleasure to make some fantastic friends, some of whom I’ve been able to collaborate with in recent research.