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RGN, (Registered General Nursing) University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK, 06/93
Psychology BSc (Hons) University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, 07/99


My post within the University involves developing learning and teaching strategies; lecturing at degree level and often working with post-graduates on the main University Campus. I have worked as a lecturer at the Centre for Community and Lifelong Learning, University of Wales, Newport for over twelve years and during that time I have adopted the pioneering ethos of the Centre in being at the front of best practice and innovation in who we teach, and how. As a core developer together with a small team we have developed a highly successful programme – Combined Open Studies, Certificate of Higher Education, a higher education certificate aimed at engaging learners from areas suffering severe deprivation through widening participation and lifelong learning. This has helped the Centre (and me of course) to develop a highly person-centred, deep reach and flexible teaching style which has led to being recognised as a specialist in engagement strategies for all levels and abilities and I have taught workshops on high impact learning strategies within the University and to secondary school teachers throughout the UK.

Learning at higher education level takes intellectual rigor and concentration as well as exposure to knowledge. Fortunately my key subjects Psychology and Philosophy have lent themselves easily to informal as well as formal learning and I have been able to develop my own modules to meet the needs of the learner whether that need be for progression, personal interest or professional update. As my own techniques have changed over the years so has the responses of the students, the early years were full of students say “you made me think!” I was very proud of this at the time but now the responses are more like “what exactly do you mean by that?”, or “can you give me an alternative explanation for that conclusion?” these responses are more tricky for the lecturer, but more rewarding for both the student and myself, this is a direct result of teaching core critical thinking skills in every class. I am Subject Co-ordinator for Psychology.

Having been both an educator and keen at applying psychology to my practice I am fortunate in my University’s support in combining these interests into a PhD thesis around pedagogy, educational policy and mindfulness. I am hoping to draw on some of my own previous work on assisted mindfulness with the elderly to develop methods specifically for the classroom.


Member British Psychological Society, (Community Psychology Section)
Member Royal College of Nursing


Public Engagement Activities

The Philosophy Lounge ( , a series of public lectures I developed following feedback which asked for a forum to talk about the new ideas encountered in the modules as many of the widening access students did not have a space to explore their new voice. It is now a lively well attended monthly meet for staff, students and members of the general public.
“Battle of the Sexes – a large group encounter”, 3rd March 2012, an open academic conference for students, staff and members of the general public (with multi-level facilitation and accreditation possibilities for 1st time presenters).


Experience or Interest

PhD Candidate, University of Wales, Newport, Education Department. Researching into mindfulness and implementation of mindful based practices in the classroom.
2009 – Present M Clare O’Connell PI
University of Wales, Newport research grant to explore conversational cognitive engagement with the very elderly as a method of increasing independent activities of daily living. This study is nearing completion and used a conversational schedule to engage the process of fresh thinking and alertness.
Role: Principal Investigator
Conference Paper: ‘Exploring a novel method (cognitive linguistic assisted re-engagement) as a technique of assisting mindfulness training for the very elderly to enhance independent activities of daily living’. Mindfulness Conference 2011. Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University.
Conference Paper: Teaching, the Transmission of Knowledge and the Transpersonal Event; 2009, British Psychological Society Conference – Scarborough, Cober Hill Conference Centre, Cloughton, Scarborough, 14th September, 2009
Conference Paper: Child Care the Forgotten Experience – a phenomenological/transpersonal approach to the visceral/somatic barriers to learning. Paper given at Birbeck University; Barriers and Innovations in Lifelong Learning Conference; 29th June 2008
Conference Paper: Self Management in successful partnerships- Lecture. “Learning for Life” Partnership and Community Projects, CyMAL Best Practice Conference, 11th December 2008, Llandrindod Wells
Conference Paper: Team Work – How to Succeed- Lecture, Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Conference, First Campus, 31 October 2007, Merthyr Tydfil College, Merthyr Tydfil.

Completed Research and Published Papers

2008 – 2010 Axel Kaehne PI
Series of Collaborative studies with Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities, Cardiff University regarding the needs and implementation of transition policies for young people with learning disabilities, transferring from school to the workplace/educational opportunities. This included the challenge of developing methods of participatory person centred research using focus groups for those with moderate to severe intellectual disability.
Role: Co-Investigator
KAEHNE A., O’CONNELL M C., 2010 Transition partnerships and protocols – do they help planning transition for young people? Llais , Spring (March 2010) pp.13-16
KAEHNE A., O’CONNELL C., Focus Groups with people with learning disabilities. Journal Of Intellectual Disabilities , Volume 14 , 2 (2010) pp.133-145
KAEHNE A., O’CONNELL C, 2010, Like falling off a cliff, Learning Disability Today, February (2010)
KAEHNE A, TODD S, FELCE D, NASH S, TOTSIKA V, HASTINGS R & O’CONNELL M C 2008 Research Priorities in Learning Disabilities and Autism in Wales: Consultation Exercise, Learning Disabilities and Autism Network.
DOUGAN C.F., O’CONNELL C. THORNTON, E., YOUNG, C.A., 2001 Development of a patient-specific dyspnoea questionnaire in motor neuron disease (MND): the MND dyspnoea rating scale (MDRS). Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 180, 87-93

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