Department of Political Science


UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics

The UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics is a centre for research, discussion and engagement on the pedagogy of politics. Our aim is to develop and support research on how and what we teach, when we teach politics.

Bringing together scholars and practitioners who are interested in thinking deeply about the pedagogy of politics through fortnightly seminar sessions as well as larger occasional events. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries of teaching and research in the field of politics.

Headshots of JP and Cathy appear side by side
UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics on UCL Uncovering Politics Podcast

Should teaching politics differ from teaching hard sciences, such as Physics and Chemistry, or even other social sciences like Economics? In a field that is inherently contested, do we only dwell on known facts or welcome any debate in our teaching?

These are just some of the many questions that Dr Cathy Elliott and Dr J-P Salter explored in their interview with UCL Uncovering Politics. Alongside the deep dive into the pedagogy of politics, this episode explains the UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics and what our Centre is all about.

To listen, visit: https://ucl-uncovering-politics.simplecast.com/episodes/the-pedagogy-of-politics.


Resources - CPP Bibliography

We have compiled various useful resources relevant to the pedagogy of politics. This comprehensive bibliography includes a wide range of pedagogical publications on themes of particular relevance to our work at the CPP, such as gender, race and ethnicity, international students and contexts, teaching research design and research methods to students in politics, among others. It aims to facilitate, inspire and encourage pedagogical research at any stage and serve as an easily available and user-friendly resource to support research in teaching and learning. This is a growing resource focusing on current scholarship. Please contact us with any comments, updates and ideas: polsci.cpp@ucl.ac.uk


News and updates from the Centre 

Red, yellow and blue squares with the letter 'CPP'
Ditching Deficit Thinking Day

On 4 May 2023 we held a day focused on challenging 'deficit thinking', incorporating the launch of UCL’s Freedom to Learn Community

'Deficit thinking' assumes that students are lacking in some way – lacking engagement, knowledge, integrity or motivation. We focused instead on the skills, capabilities, strengths and brilliance of the students in our discipline, on what we gain if we trust students and how challenging deficit thinking helps us to work with students and enable them to get the education they want and need. Abstracts from the speakers are available to read here.

Cathy and Kalina are holding up their awards and look very happy
UCL’s Provost’s Education Award 2022

Congratulations to Dr Kalina Zhekova and Dr Cathy Elliott, two of the co-Directors of our Centre, who both won a UCL Provost’s Education Award in 2022. Kalina won an award for her outstanding personal tutoring and academic support, particularly for her work supporting students during the Ukraine invasion and war. Cathy won the award for her work on promoting inclusive education in the Political Science department.

You can view the full announcement here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/news/2022/jun/ucl-education-awards-winners-announced.

A seminar is taking place in a meeting room. A man in a brown jacket stands and is speaking to the group
Centre Launch Event

On 12 May 2021, we launched our new Centre with a panel discussion on the future of teaching Politics in HE with Professor John Craig (Leeds Beckett University), Dr Chris Huggins (Suffolk University), Dr Rima Saini (Middlesex University) and Obioma Egyemonye (PPE student and activist, UCL). We also held a book launch of Noele Crossley’s new textbook, Understanding Humanitarian Protection, accompanied by a lively discussion of the role of textbooks in teaching Politics. Today we continue our work to develop and innovate teaching and research in the Department of Political Science, and across UCL. 


Watch: UCL Micro-CPD

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/dG5GHd1H

Cathy Elliott "How to get your students to focus on learning, not the mark"

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/2E35Bcj6

Fergus Green "Continuous module dialogue"


Meet the team

JP smiles into the camera
J-P Salter


Dr Salter is a Associate Professor (Teaching) in Public Policy in the Department of Political Science, where he teaches a set of modules on public policy and lead the undergraduate dissertation process. He is also a Deputy Director of Education (responsible for the development of teaching practice in the Department); and a member of UCL’s Academic Board.  

 Dr Salter has three broad areas of pedagogical interest. First, he is interested in how we build communities of practice, both to support students’ learning and their university experience more broadly. Second, building on his work as the dissertation, he is interested in helping students develop various academic skills alongside their mastery of the subject matter: how to conduct a literature review, how to construct a research design, how to write clearly and efficiently, and so on. Lastly, he is eager to explore the design and implementation of assessments, and of the supporting feedback processes, and how both can be better integrated into the delivery of teaching.

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Cathy Elliott


Dr Cathy Elliott has been interested in the pedagogy of politics for many years and has conducted a number of joint research projects with students. She has a particular interest in the role of imagination, creativity and emotion in learning and also works on inclusiveness, diversification and decolonisation. 

She is currently working on a grant-funded project with Mie Jensen and the UCL Arena Centre on queer pedagogy.

Pedagogical publications: 

 ‘Diversity or Decolonisation? Searching for the Tools to dismantle the “master’s house”’ (2021) London Review of Education 19 (1), co- authored with 9 UCL students 

Poverty at the UCL Art Museum: Situated Knowledge in a World of Images’ (2019) at RAISE: Student Engagement in Higher Education 2 (3): 34–53 

Learning Lessons: The articulation of antisemitism on campus' (2019) Renewal: a journal of social democracy 27 (2): 75–87 

Selected pedagogical resources: 

Assessment Without Grades: Co-Authoring with Students’ (2022), UCL Education Conference Blog: https://reflect.ucl.ac.uk/education-conference-2022/2022/04/26/assessment-without-grades-co-authoring-with-students/

Kalina wears a pink top and black blazer and smiles into the camera
Kalina Zhekova


Dr Zhekova is a Lecturer (Teaching) and a Graduate Tutor in the Department of Political Science. She teaches postgraduate modules on qualitative research methods and an undergraduate module on Russian foreign policy. She has also taught core and elective modules on international public policy and foreign policy analysis. As a Graduate Tutor, she leads the provision of pastoral care and support to all postgraduate students in the Department. Dr Zhekova’s research explores Russian policies in the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, approaches to intervention and state sovereignty, Russia-West relations.

Dr Zhekova’s pedagogical interests are focused on the way pastoral care is conceptualised, how relationships of trust between students and academics can be built and enhanced. She is further interested in the pedagogy of empathy and care, including the study of emotive topics such as war and violent conflict. She is focused on exploring innovative teaching approaches, the use of new digital tools for a/synchronous learning and peer support, flipped classrooms, collective reading and annotation.

More information on Dr Kalina Zhekova’s work and experience can be found here

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John Craig

Honorary Fellow 

Professor John Craig is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at Kingston University, London. He was co-founder and chair of the Political Studies Association’s (PSA) Teaching and Learning Specialist Group (2004-18) and then served as co-chair for the PSA Teaching and Learning Network. John is Honorary Secretary of the PSA. He is a National Teaching Fellow and Chair of the QAA Review Panel for the Politics and International Relations Subject Benchmark. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Political Science Education and published on the development of teaching and learning in the discipline.

Kasim stands against an urban skyline and looks towards the camera
Kasim Khorasanee

Centre Member

Kasim Khorasanee (FHEA) is a PhD candidate in political theory with a strong interest in pedagogy.  His university teaching ranges from sixth-form summer programmes to undergraduate and masters students at UCL, KCL, and the University of Hertfordshire.  He has worked with KCL’s learning and development team (King’s Academy) to help induct new graduate teaching assistants and also contributed to Introduction to University Teaching (Sage 2021) by Bale and Seabrook.  He is particularly interested in active learning techniques, maximising the educational benefits of diversity and inclusivity, and constructive assessment feedback strategies.

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Simon Chin-Yee

Centre Member 

Dr Simon Chin-Yee has over 15 years of experience in international cooperation and policy through multiple research roles within Academia, as well as his work with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He joined UCL’s School of Public Policy in 2019 as a lecturer in Global Environmental Politics, International Public Policy and the Political Economy of Development. Simon attained his PhD in Politics from the University of Manchester (July 2018). Entitled Defining Policy: Drivers of Climate Change Policy in Kenya, his thesis was based on extensive training in international political economy and is a thorough climate policy analysis on three levels: international, regional and national. Following his PhD, Dr Simon was a research fellow in the War Studies Department, King’s College London and the London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre.

Pedagogical publications

CHIN-YEE S. ‘Briefing: Africa and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.’ Journal of African Affairs, published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society, 2016 May. The Impact Factor for this journal is 2.500, with a 5-year Impact Factor 3.158. 

CHIN-YEE, S. ‘Climate Change and Security: Linking vulnerable populations to increased security risks in the face of the global climate challenge.’ European Centre for Energy and Resource Security and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, 2019 February. 

CHIN-YEE, S., NIELSEN, T.D., BLAXEKJAER, L.O. (2020) ‘One Voice, One Africa: The African Group of Negotiators’ in Klöck, C., Castro, P., Weiler, F., and Blaxekjær, L.O (eds.) Coalitions in Climate Change Negotiations: Routledge.

More information on Dr Simon’s work and experience can be found here

Julie Norman
Julie Norman

Centre Member

Dr Julie Norman is a Associate Professor (Teaching) in Politics and International Relations at University College London (UCL), and Co-Director of the UCL Centre on US Politics (CUSP). She is also a researcher/consultant on conflict, security, foreign policy, human rights, and development.

An expert on the Middle East and US politics, she is the author of four books and multiple articles and op-eds, and she is a frequent contributor to the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, and other media outlets.

More information about Julie's work and experience can be found here.

denny pencheva
Denny Pencheva

Centre member

Upon completion of her PhD in Politics, Dr Denny Pencheva joined UCL in 2020 where she teaches and convenes core and elective modules in political science and social policy.

Her research interests lie within the field of European and British politics, with a particular emphasis on Brexit, migration, labour and welfare policies. This has led to her exploration of the historical and contemporary aspects of European integration, as well as the growing political and economic interdependencies in the aftermath of the three rounds of Eastern EU enlargement, the political communication of the Remain and Leave campaigns, Brexit and neoliberalism, and the significance of EU migration for UK political parties and policy making.

Beyond this, she has also been invested in advancing the role of qualitative social science methods in interdisciplinary research.

More information on Dr Denny’s work and experience can be found here.

Andrew is wearing a navy blue jumper and smiling at the camera.
Andrew Scott

Centre member 

Holding degrees in law (LLB), international relations (MSc) and politics (PhD), Dr Andrew Scott taught international relations at the University of Edinburgh and worked in policy and research roles at the UK Civil Service before joining UCL. Currently, he teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on public policy, agenda setting and political economy while pursuing research in various aspects of public policy and energy and environmental politics.

More information on Dr Andrew Scott’s work and experience can be found here

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John Wilesmith

Centre member  

 A Lecturer (Teaching) in Political Theory in the Department of Political Science, John Wilesmith joined UCL in January 2018. Over his four years at the university, he covered a wide range of modules including the postgraduate modules “Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory “ and “Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality”. 

 His main research interests centre around a range of topics in contemporary normative theory, such as social justice, egalitarianism, normative democratic theory, and normative political economy. Besides teaching and research, he has also supervised multiple undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations that overlap with his research interests.  

 In the future, John is looking to broaden his research experience to cover issues at the intersection of pedagogical practice and normative political theory. These include the possible tension between instructor autonomy and non-domination, and the nature and value of freedom of pedagogical speech.  

 More information about John’s work and experience can be found here

Other Centre Members

Marina Cino Pagliarello

Kate Cronin-Furman

Noele Crossley

John Filling

Jared Finnegan

Melanie Garson

Fergus Green

Tim Hicks

Maki Kimura

Kavita Maya

Emily McTernan

Luke Moore

Liz Ralph-Morrow

Aparna Ravi

Dusan Rebolj

Behar Sadriu

Indraneel Sircar