Keynote lecture

The vVICEPHEC keynote lecture will be given by Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan, Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent.  She holds a PhD in Education from the Stanford School of Education and has researched teaching and learning in higher education for more than 20 years. She has led educational development programmes at the University of Oxford, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and The Australian National University, and served as Educator-in- Residence (August 2014) at the National University of Singapore. Her recent research focuses on emotions and motivation in learning and teaching in higher education, particularly how to support the development of students’ interest in their subjects and related careers. She has authored or co-authored 40 peer reviewed journal articles, 9 book chapters and 2 books, including How Higher Education Feels: Commentaries on Poems that Illuminate Emotions in Learning and Teaching (Sense Publishers, 2016).   View her profile here.


What interests students and why? How lecturers can motivate and engage students

Often teachers think students are either interested or not in what they are teaching.  Yet, interest research emphasises the malleability of interest, and the ways in which interest can be stimulated and supported through interactions with other people, objects (e.g., text, tests, activities), or events.  Students’ appraisals of their interest in a subject shape their decisions about choice of programme, further study, and career. Thus, the ways in which interest develops during HE not only has instructional and curricular design implications, but could have far-reaching impact on workforce preparedness and productivity.  

HE exposes students to new subjects, new specialities within a given subject, new disciplinary practices, and new extra-curricular opportunities, all of which allow students to broaden, deepen, or re-shape their interests.  What path they take may depend upon their hopes and beliefs, as well as the opportunities and constraints of their particular HE environment.   In this talk, I present findings from my own research, funded by the University of Kent and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit on the role of interest in students’ decision-making, what aspects of instruction stimulate science students’ interest, key changes in students’ interest during higher education and what influences those changes.