Staff Profiles

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Dr Gemma Van Vuuren-Cassar

Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching

School: School of Childhood and Education Sciences

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 923144

Profile summary

I am a Principal Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Learning and Teaching and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.

I trained and worked as a teacher in schools before moving into higher education. I read for a PhD (1996-2000) and a Master’s Degree in Education (1993-1995) at the Victoria University of Manchester; and for a B.Ed.(Hons.) (1987-1991) and a Diploma in Applied Social Studies (1986-1989) at the University of Malta. I have been awarded a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) (2014).

In 2008 I joined the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK).  I lead h cross faculty working groups and research projects. I am also involved in and enthusiastic about teaching and supervising students on undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programmes. I am passionate about research informed practices that inform pedagogy and curricular innovation in higher education, initial teacher training and schooling.

In the recent past I have contributed to the role of institutional lead for the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) and Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching. Previously, I was a Programme Director for the FD and BA in Physical Education and Physical Activity; and the BA/BSc (Hons.) in Physical Education and Sports and Exercise Science. I led modules and taught on the PGCE 14-19 and Masters. From 1995 to 2008 I contributed to B.Ed. (Hons.) and M.Ed. with QTS for Primary and Early Year, Physical Education, Sports Coaching and Leisure programmes at the University of Malta. I participated in ERASMUS staff mobility programmes; and research and knowledge projects with various national and international stakeholders.

My research interests and publications are on pedagogy, curricular innovation, assessments in higher education and education, Physical Education and Sport related domains. 

Dr Gemma van Vuuren Cassar B.Ed.(Hons.), M.Ed.(Manc.), Dip in App Social Studies, PhD.(Manc.) SFHEA

Research and knowledge exchange

  • Knowledge Exchange cross-university project (2017-2019) A case study of combined and single honours: insights of students’ experience on the Early Childhood Studies programme in the Faculty of Education
  • Knowledge Exchange (2018-2019) Investigating the effect of module teaching activity design; and how this is constructively aligned to module assessment activity types (CCCU, 2017) in the Faculty of Education.(£4000)
  • Horizon 2020 EU Funding: Erasmus + Sports Programme Funding Stream: SPEACH (Sport Physical Education and Coaching in Health)- Project (June 2014-Dec 2017) €494.420,70
  • Physical Education and Higher Education: Curricular innovation, entrepreneurship and employment (2013) £4400
  • Research on Entrepreneurial Learning (2012): £2500
  • Employability in physical education, sport, exercise and coaching: The role of Higher Education institutions (2011) £2000
  • Kent 20in12 Research project: Learning Programme: Using the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Inspire Study Support and Extended Schools
    Activity (2010): £500

Teaching and subject expertise

The main areas of academic lecturing and specialisms include pedagogy, learning, teaching, assessments, examinations and accreditation, curricular issues, inclusion, physical education and health enhancing physical activity. My research interests include pedagogy, assessments, accreditation and employability in higher education and education. 

I am part of the team accredited with mentoring and verifying the ADVANCE HE Fellowship Awards at CCCU, which attest to teaching excellence as acclaimed by the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) for Higher Education.

Undergraduate Programmes Module Leader:

  • MAIN2APE: Assessments in Physical Education and School Sports (level 5)
  • Physical Development and Movement (level 5)
  • MPEMD3LPE: Learnning in Phsycial Education (level 6)

M.A. (Research) supervisor

  • George Revell- Working title: Emotional Intelligence in coaching 

M.Ed. supervisor

  • Simon Mizzi (2010)
  • Alfred Cachia (2009)

MA Creativity and Innovation supervisor

  • Eman Pulis (2007)

PhD/EdD supervisor:

  • Tracey Wornast:   Student Wellbeing in Higher Education (2018)
  • Debbie Maindonald- Working title: To be a good teacher. Do the Teachers Standards really reflect all that is good practice?
  • Suzanna Sedeno- Working title: Support for families of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in non-specialised schools: personal perspectives  

External activities

External Examiner:

  • International Baccalaureate (2013 to date)
  • Newman University Birmingham: PGCE Secondary PE/School Direct Secondary PE (2014-2018)
  • Edge Hill University PGCE (PE Secondary) (2010-2014) 
  • University of Malta (Masters’ dissertations PE specialism) (2008 to date)

 International and European Expert

  • Executive Board Member of European Network for Sport Science Education and Employment (ENSSEE / ENSE) (2011- 2017).
  • Sport Physical Education and Coaching in Health (SPEACH) Project Partner (2015-2017) www.speach.hanze.nl
  • Physical Education Group expert lead on the European Network of Sport Education and Employment (2011-2015)
  • International Expert contributor for the UNESCO World-wide survey of school physical education: final report (2014)
  • International Expert: Physical Education Pedagogist at the AIESEP (International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education) 29-31 March 2012 Birmingham 2012 AIESEP Position Statement on Sport Pedagogy
  • Expertise and research on curricular innovation and assessment was instrumental to the introduction of the Secondary Education Certificate in PE (16+ qualification) in Malta in 2004, consequently I sat on the PE Syllabus panel of the MATSEC Exam Board of the University of Malta (1998-2008).
  • Board member on the National Sports for All Committee - Malta (1998-1999).
  • Board member of the National Sports Council - Malta (1995-1998).

International Conference Advisory Panel Member / Peer Reviewer 

  • 7th International Assessment in Higher Education Conference, 26-27 June 2019, Manchester (UK)
  • 10th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies EDULEARN, 2-4 July 2018: (Palma, Mallorca, Spain); Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board and Abstract reviewer.
  • 9th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies EDULEARN, 3-5 2017: (Barcelona, Spain)
  • 8th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning EDULEARN, 4-6 July 2016: (Barcelona, Spain)
  • 13th Forum of the European Network of Sport Science Education and Employment (ENSSEE) Rome, Italy (2015)
  • 12th European Network for Sport Science Education and Employment (ENSSEE) Forum: Sporthorizon 2020: share qualities towards innovative sport education”, Groningen, The Netherlands.

International Key note presentations

van Vuuren Cassar, G. (2018) Higher Education in Sports related disciplines: insights into teaching and research. 2nd Forum of the Sport Universities, University of Leiria, Portugal. 5th November 2018.

Van Vuren, G (2016) Curricular Innovation:  A Case Study Of Developing Health Enhancing Physical Activity Modules In Physical Education - Coaches And Physical Education Teachers. 1st Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (MCAST) Sports Conference, Poala, Malta, 15TH April 2016.

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Last edited: 29/01/2019 15:27:00