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Teaching and Learning Politics and International Relations PSA logoin the UK and Beyond: Challenges, Opportunities, Innovation.

On 2 January 2013, Higher Education Minister David Willetts delivered an upbeat account of the higher education sector in England (Independent 2/1/2013): overall funding for teaching and student choice will continue to increase, while financial support has been extended to part-time students. With the National BISA logoStudent Survey and the Key Information Set in hand, students now have more information than ever before on which to choose their career or educational establishment.

This new environment poses a number of questions of professionals in Politics and International Relations, including: how do we recruit and retain students in competition with other fields with more encouraging employment prospects?

HEA logoHow appealing are our degree programmes to prospective students? Can we improve the learning experience by making our teaching activities more responsive to student needs?

The 6th Annual PSA/BISA Learning and Teaching Conference, 9-10 September, 2013, University of Westminster, London, UK, will be exploring the opportunities and need for innovation in the teaching of Politics and International Relations in the UK and beyond in the new Higher Education environment.

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Keynote speakers:

Dr Heidi Maurer
Heidi Maurer is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), where she joined the Department of Political Science in August 2008. She holds a Doctorate from the University of Vienna (Political Science) and obtained a postgraduate certificate in European integration at the Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS, 2004-2007) in Vienna.  Dr Maurer’s research interests are EU foreign policy-making, and especially the EU relations with its neighbours. She has also actively engaged in research about alternative teaching methods, in particular problem-based learning, which is the main method of instruction at Maastricht University.

Denise Scheberle
Denise Scheberle currently teaches for the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Public Affairs, having recently retired as Professor Emerita and the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. During her twenty years in Wisconsin, she taught political science, public service and environmental policy courses to over 3,000 students.  Prof. Scheberle received the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay; the University of Wisconsin Regents Teaching Excellence Award, which is the highest teaching award in the University of Wisconsin system; and the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Community Outreach. In 2012, she was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s inaugural national Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. Scheberle has strong interests in enhancing student understanding and in joining with colleagues to grow as teachers. She was Co-Director of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Teaching Scholars Program, has been a Teaching Fellow and a Teaching Scholar for the University of Wisconsin system, and helped establish the first Teaching and Learning Center on campus as well as the annual teaching conference. Dr. Scheberle also served as chair of the Department of Public and Environmental Affairs and political science program, interim associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, president of the Public Policy Section of the APSA, Commissioner to the Green Bay wastewater treatment facility, and faculty chair of the Adult Degree program. She now spends her time in the Colorado Rockies, following the wisdom of John Muir, who once said, "The mountains are calling and I must go."

Mike Sharples
Mike Sharples is Professor of Educational Technology in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK. He also has a post as Academic Lead for the FutureLearn company. His research involves human-centred design of new technologies and environments for learning. He inaugurated the mLearn conference series and was Founding President of the International Association for Mobile Learning.  He is Associate Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies. His projects include the Wolfson OpenScience Laboratory which is an international virtual laboratory for practical science teaching, the JUXTALEARN project on science learning through creative media, and the nQuire project to develop online inquiry science learning for young people.  He is lead author of the Innovating Pedagogy series of reports and author of over 300 papers in the areas of educational technology, science education, human-centred design of personal technologies, artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

Registration and Conference fee

The conference fee includes all conference sessions on the chosen day(s), sandwich lunch(es), tea and coffee. For an additional £25, the conference dinner will be included.

A reduced fee is available to PhD students and Postdocs.

without conference dinner with conference dinner
Standard (TWO days, both 9 and 10 September) £50 £75
Standard (9 September) £29 £54
Standard (10 September) £30 £55
PhD/Postdocs £26 £51
PhD/Postdoc paper-giver £1 £24


When you have chosen your option, please go to the Westminster Online Payment page and do the following:

  1. In the left hand column, select: ‘SSHL Language courses’
  2. In the drop-down box in the middle of the page: click on the downward pointing arrow;
  3. Select ‘PSIBISALT’
  4. Click on the word ‘Select’.
  5. Complete name and address sections.
  6. Scroll down and click: ‘pay’

Please pay the exact amount. We will identify your chosen package from your payment.

Deadline for registration and payment: 5 September 2013

Venue and travel

The conference takes place in the main building (HQ) of University of Westminster:

309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

The building is located North of Oxford Circus, before the All Souls church and BBC Broadcasting House.  The nearest tube station is Oxford Circus (Central line, Victoria line and Bakerloo line)

Please see our map for directions


An abundance of hotel accommodation is available near the conference venue. It is wise to check reviews on Trip Advisor or a similar site before completing the booking.

Alternatives to hotel accommodation:

1. Summer accommodation in University of Westminster halls of residence is available until 10 September (Marylebone Halls are within 10 minute walking distance of the conference venue)

2. YHA hostels near Regent Street:

a. Bolsover Street YHA: 104 Bolsover Street, London, W1W 5NU  (top YHA hostel accommodation at very reasonable cost close to the conference venue; however, no single rooms and only two double rooms available)

b. St. Pancras YHA: 79-81 Euston Road, London, NW1 2QE.


Monday 9 September

11:00    Registration, tea/coffee

11:10    Welcome by Head of Department of Politics and IR, Dibyesh Anand.

11:15    Session 1: Politics and International Relations as taught and practically relevant disciplines

  • John Craig (HEA):  Who do you we think we are? The development of politics as a taught discipline in Britain
  • Steven Curtis (HEA, London Met): Studying International Relations as if it was a practically-relevant subject

12:00    Session 2: Enhancing student classroom engagement

  • Bridget Cotter (Westminster): Teaching political theory through role plays
  • John Hogan (Dublin Institute of Technology): What stick figures tell me about Irish politics
  • Gemma Jamieson (Westminster): Learning from TEFL - techniques for politics seminar teaching

13:00    Lunch

14:00    Keynote 1: Professor Emerita Denise Scheberle (University of Colorado-Denver)

15:00    Tea/coffee

15:30    Session 3: Managing expectations, organisation and regulations

  • Patrick Bijsmans & Pia Harbers (Maastricht): Advising Prospective Students: Matching at Maastricht University’s Bachelor in European Studies
  • Sharon Feeney (Dublin Institute of Technology), Initiating more flexibility into the academic semester: a six week semester approach
  • Barbara Morazzani: When is Plagiarism not Plagiarism?

16:15    Keynote 2: Professor Mike Sharples, (Open University)

17:30    Reception in The Heights, hosted by Politics, the PSA journal

19:00    Conference dinner

Tuesday 10 September

09:00    Welcome, day 2 registration, and tea/coffee

09:15    Session 3: Enactive and experiential learning

  • Farhang Morady, Kateryna Onyuoglwu & Christopher Kelly, Student-led Initiative - International Community Project
  • Andrew Connell, Using scenario-based role play to teach politics to non-politics students
  • Daphne Economou, Frands Pedersen, Andrej Kurobov, Interdisciplinary learning through games and simulations

10:00    Session 4: Employability

  • Donna Lee (Kent), Emma Foster (Birmingham) & Holly Snaith (Aston): Employability Learning in the Politics/IR Curriculum
  • Emma Thompson (Southampton): Working with Town from within the Gown: Integrating Experiential Learning with Employers within the University Research Methods Teaching Paradigm
  • Holly Snaith (Sheffield): ‘Integrating quantitative methods with the employability agenda: an empowerment approach’

10:45    Tea/coffee

11:15    Keynote 3: Dr Heidi Maurer (University of Maastricht)

12:15    Lunch

13:00     Session 5: Blended, technology enhanced learning

  • Emma Heron : Identit politics: the role of placements in the undergraduate curriculum
  • Jack Holland (Surrey), Video Use in International Relations: Teaching Critical Evaluative Skills
  • Alistair McMillan (Sheffield): Everyone loves to clicky!’: interactive lectures for Political Science using Electronic Voting handsets
  • Stephen Thornton (Cardiff, Wales): ‘Information Literacy is Dead': Do we care?

14:15    Session 6: Parliamentary studies module and resources

  • Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson (Hull): Making more effective uses of primary parliamentary sources in politics teaching
  • Naomi Kent (Parliament Outreach Service): The Houses of Parliament Outreach Service and the Parliamentary Studies module.

15:00    Tea/coffee and conference conclusion

15:15    Annual General Meeting