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My route to Principal Teaching Fellow: Amelia Roberts

Dr Amelia Roberts (UCL Institute of Education) on her recent promotion and team work.

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17 September 2019

Dr Roberts, Deputy Director of the UCL Centre for Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education (IOE), is one of 21 colleagues promoted to Principal Teaching Fellow this year.

You’ve just been promoted to Principal Teaching Fellow. What is your role?

I am the Deputy Director of UCL Centre for Inclusive Education, part of the Psychology and Human Development Department at the IOE.

We run a range of school-based knowledge-exchange programmes that blend research and school improvement. Two of these are 'Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning (SWERL)' and 'Making Autism Research Accessible to Teachers (MARAT)'.

I also speak at conferences, advise on policy and engage in enterprise activities, often overseas, such as evaluating the work of JK Rowling's charity 'The Lumos Foundation' in Moldova and developing Teacher Training materials for Inclusive Classrooms for UNICEF in Oman.

What are the challenges in your role and how are you addressing them?

The challenge is always about finding time and achieving a good work-life balance.

The trick is to work collaboratively and build capacity within the team.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love the variety!

Working directly with teachers in the UK and abroad is always inspirational. Knowledge-exchange enables teachers to feed back into the research domain with rigorous case-studies of improved practice and these are often very powerful.

What do you think of the Academic Career Framework?

I think the new framework is rigorous and transparent.

The new pathways support people with enhanced teaching and enterprise portfolios and it is great to see this type of work valued by UCL.

What are your thoughts on the status of teaching at UCL?

I see teaching and educational research as very much interlinked.

Historically, research has been the life-blood of universities so it has a very high status, but times are changing and the new Teaching Fellow pathway reflects and supports this culture shift.

What achievements helped you to make a case for promotion?

I have been a Programme Lead, as well as having an enterprise portfolio.

Although I had no journal publications at the time of applying, I had been commissioned to write/edit a book on Special Educational Needs for Routledge and have been involved in the production of publications for the Department for Education. I also work with the Department for Education and Shadow Minister for Education on policy initiatives.

It also helps to get involved with IOE/UCL initiatives such as Policy Champion/Research Engagement and Impact Lead as these roles teach you a huge amount and introduce you to your wider network of colleagues.

What would you say to people just embarking on a university career?

#teamwork! Your colleagues are vital and UCL is full of incredible people.

My promotion reflects the support I have been given by others and the fascinating opportunities that were offered as part of my role.

My top tip for teaching is this: if you feel it isn't going quite right, don't speed up, slow right down and try and figure out what your audience needs.