Teaching

I have consistently sought to develop creative, research-based teaching, building on my long experience of teacher (first as qualified secondary school physics teacher and then as academic). I have been the Personal Tutor of about 200 undergraduate and postgraduate students. I directed more than 20 final MSc dissertations.

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome inquiries and proposals for doctoral research, honours and master dissertations in relation to any area of sociologial research that connects with one or more of my research interests:

  • Spatial mobility, in particular the links with personal and family relationships
  • Family in space
  • Distance relationships
  • Family and personal networks
  • Social network analysis
  • Life course research.

PhD Supervision (in progress)

  • Jingyi Wang (Taiwanese government-funded), third year
  • Jingbo Ma (Chinese government-funded), second year
  • Laura Makhulbayeva (Kazakhstan government-funded), first year
  • Paul Schuler (ESRC-funded), first year
  • Barbara Dzieciatko (ESRC-funded), second year
  • Henry Myers (Self-funded, Geography), second year
  • Chantelle Toner-Boyce (ESRC-funded, Social Work), second year

Recent Undergraduate Teaching

Analysing Social Networks with Statistics (Convenor) (~25 Students) University of Edinburgh.

I developed this advanced Q-Step course, which is offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Students use the SNA software packages UCINet and R in labs. The course starts with exploratory SNA to progress into more advanced statistical tools to analyse social networks. It covers community detection methods, scraping Twitter networks from the web, multilevel modelling, permutation-based methods and Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs).

Sociology 2B – Researching social life, Researching families with survey methods (~200 Students). University of Edinburgh.

This is the core quantitative research methods module undertaken by 2nd year students in the sociology programme. This module covers foundational concepts in quantitative research design and data analysis. The module is comprised of lectures and seminars. I have redeveloped this module for introducing more interactive teaching elements and a focus on engaging students.

Sociology 2A – Thinking sociologically, Class, stratification and inequality (~200 Students). University of Edinburgh.

This is the core module on social inequalties undertaken by 2nd year students in the sociology programme. This module covered substantive material on the nature and processes of social inequalities in modern westernised societies, whilst simultaneously encouraging students to read and critically engage with key authors. This course comprised of lectures and seminars.

Recent Postgraduate Teaching

Key Concepts in Global Social Change (Convenor) (~40 Students) University of Edinburgh.

This is the Semester 1 core course of the Taught MSc Programme Sociology and Global Change. In the 2019 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), 90% of the students in the MSc Sociology and Global Change reported overall satisfaction with the programme and 89% with the Programme Directors – the third highest scores among MSc programmes in SPS. In his October 2019 review as Programme External Examiner, Professor Sinisa Malesevic from University College Dublin wrote: ‘the programme belongs to the group of the best organised and best run graduate programmes in the UK and beyond. The faculty that runs and teaches on this programme should be commended for their excellence in programme organisation, high professionalism and enthusiasm in teaching, examining, programme co-ordination and dedicated supervision of student dissertations’.

Analysing Social Networks with Statistics (Convenor) (PG option of the Q-Step course, see above), University of Edinburgh.

Social Network Research (previous title: Social Network Analysis) (Convenor) (~25 Students) University of Edinburgh.

This course offers an original combination of hands-on computer work in labs and conceptual lectures. Students use the SNA software packages UCINet and Gephi in labs. The forms of assessment encourage students to creatively apply the network approach to their own area of interest and many students are developing essays that are part of their wider postgraduate project. My social networks courses have been praised by external examiners for the quality of the coursework produced. In his course report, Professor Matthew Williams from ICL wrote in 2017: ‘I would say the quality of first-class work submitted to this module is above the national standard. This is very impressive. (…) some of the work written for the module was identified by the convenor as of publishable standard. Upon inspection of the work I would agree with this assessment.’ At least two course participants published articles in top journals (PLOS ONE and International Journal of Psychology) building on their final course assessment and many students have used SNA in their doctoral research after taking my courses.

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