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Professor John Sumpter

Professor John Sumpter
Professor

Teaching

I have been a University teacher since 1978, when I came to Brunel University. I attended an induction course, which had a strong emphasis on teaching, upon arrival. Since then, I have delivered between 40 and 70 lectures each year, held seminars (about 10 per year), and designed and run practical classes to complement my lecture courses (between 8 and 20 practicals per year). Student feedback, obtained primarily by anonymous questionnaires, has been collected each year, and used to change and improve the courses in subsequent years. In general, this feedback has been very positive.

Until recently, my main teaching had covered the area of Human and Animal Physiology (i.e. respiration, circulation, endocrinology, reproduction, etc.). For over 15 years, I taught a final-year course in Animal Reproduction, but more recently, as my research interests in environmental science grew, I replaced it with courses in Ecotoxicology, Biodiversity and Environmental Risk Assessment. These courses have been very well received by students, primarily, I think, because of the topicality of the subjects. I have introduced a number of modern teaching approaches into these courses, including group project work and presentations.

I also supervised between 3 and 6 final-year research projects each year, for twenty-five years. Some of the students have produced results which have been included in research papers (and hence the students have been authors), and many have gone on to do research (usually as PhD students) in the areas covered by their projects. I currently supervise students doing their MSc dissertations.

Between 1996 and 2001, I chaired the Teaching Policy Group within the Department of Biological Sciences. This Group was established primarily to ensure that teaching was not adversely affected when four senior staff (all with very considerable teaching experience) retired simultaneously, and were replaced by younger, more junior staff. Since transferring to the Institute for the Environment, I have played a major role in designing and developing Masters Courses in environmental science.