In this blog, we spoke to School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) Lecturer in Psychology and clinical psychologist Dr Shirley Wang. Dr Wang joined Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) this summer from Syracuse University London, where she taught health psychology. She has also previously worked as a health and science writer.
12 October 2018
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I came in knowing I would love the teaching because I’m very passionate about it. But it’s been even better than I expected. Having the role of Deputy Director or Teaching and Learning in the psychology department, I get to work with so many colleagues who are very enthusiastic about the programme and dedicated to improving the student experience. I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of the role, hearing so many great ideas and having the opportunity to start implementing those ideas.
What are some of the changes you are working on?
We’re trying to improve the student experience both within the department and SBCS, in many different ways. We are holding more activities for students beyond their course and their modules, at times when all students can attend. An example of this is our new Inspiring Talks initiative, which brings in guest speakers to talk to students about interesting topics such as entrepreneurship, women in STEM and professional online profile building. These talks provide a platform for students from different subject areas in SBCS to come together more regularly.
We’re also enhancing the activities of the Psychology Society, which is a student-led society. Lots of the students have great ideas and we’re working with them to implement these ideas. For example, lunch time activities such as watching a film together gives students the opportunity to meet peers with similar interests and provide some fun outside of the classroom.
On a larger scale, we’re looking at ways in which we can be more responsive to students and their needs, in addition to improving students’ sense of belonging at the University. There have been many studies showing that if there is a positive sense of community at an educational institution, this tends to reflect positively in terms of academic performance. This is the kind of environment we are working hard to build.
Any advice for our psychology students?
My main advice is for students to realise that university is more than just about your modules and coursework. Of course this is important, but beyond your course, take the opportunity to explore and attend talks and events that sound interesting, even if they are not related to your area of expertise, as you might find you really enjoy them. Similarly, build relationships with people. The relationships that you build with your peers and the academic staff will last far beyond your time at university, so take advantage of your time here and the resources here on campus.