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Marjon welcomes new Director of Academic Practice & Professor of Higher Education, Debby Cotton.

Released: 06.09.19

Professor Debby Cotton joined Plymouth Marjon University this week, as Director of Academic Practice & Professor of Higher Education. Having had a long, successful career in research and academic practice, Professor Cotton hopes to develop the University’s growing research, as well as enhancing the student experience.

“I’m really interested in developing research capacity, and a lot of the work I’ve done in the past has been about helping people to develop as researchers. I’m now a PGR coordinator at Marjon, so I’m hoping to use my expertise to help students develop their research and skills”, said Debby.

Debby has worked in Higher Education for a number of years, and has achieved quite a few accolades along the way. 

“One of my proudest achievements was becoming a Professor, and in 2015, I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship, which is one of the highest achievements in teaching. It’s amazing to have accomplished that.”

Achieving a National Teaching Fellowship is widely recognised in higher education within the UK as well as internationally as a mark of quality.

Previously, Debby worked at The University of Plymouth, where her key interests were around pedagogic research; researching teaching and learning in higher education. As well as pedagogic research, Debby has spent much of her career researching sustainability and the environment. Professor Cotton has an abundance of published work, and one of her most recent publications looks at whether students’ energy literacy is linked to their university’s position in a sustainability ranking.

“Getting papers published is always really exciting, and I love co-authoring and working with others on collaborative projects. The biggest project I’ve been working on recently is one working in three or four different European countries.”

“The project is researching Energy Literacy, which looks how much people understand about energy consumption and how it affects their behaviour. It’s been really interesting to see people who have really strong values towards saving the environment, who have often been let down by their knowledge, because they didn’t understand enough about how energy saving could work, in order to make sensible behavioural choices.”

Debby is passionate about improving the student experience in her work and has invested a lot of her career into helping institutions improve teaching, most recently through working as a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Assessor.

She continued: “A lot of what I’ve being doing for the last few years has been focused on helping institutions prepare for the subject-level TEF. Rather than just looking at the metrics and jumping through hoops, it’s about really trying to improve the student experience, and move things forward.”

Find out more about Research at Marjon

Find out more about National Student Survey results at Marjon.


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