Outward mobility to Florida [] Symudedd allanol i Florida

Outward mobility to Florida

This year two colleagues in forensic psychology (Drs Nic Bowes and Karen de Claire) were successful in gaining funding for an outward mobility visit.  Building strong international collaborations is vital to how we critically understand our own practices and knowledge, and helps us develop research into new areas, and to design courses to better support students.  Here, Dr Karen de Claire outlines the trip, what was covered and some of the outcomes.

 The Santander funding allowed us to visit the Miami Dade University. Miami Dade is the largest HE provider in the US, with more students than any other college.  They lead the way in activities to widen access to study and improve employability for people who would not be typically expected to attend university.  This University has a School of Justice and has similar practice concerns and research interests; weapon crime, violence and community issues related to offending. Miami Dade University were very interested in meeting and working with us and arranged an amazing itinerary. On arrival we met with the Dean of the School of Justice and his team and toured the campus. They explained the Police and Correctional Officer Academies that they run, which are both based on the psychological concept of procedural justice. A concept we are working on currently in the UK. They also talked about their role in promotion boards for criminal justice organisations, something we as a university could consider exploring.

We followed this with attendance at a gun crime conference, meeting gang leaders, victims, police chiefs and national experts. Obviously this is a huge issue for the American people. While it was great to see all of these groups working together with academics to deal with the problem, it was concerning to hear the message that the gun control laws are not widely or effectively applied. While we were in Miami there were a number of shootings including the murders of two high school students.

On day two of our visit we were invited to observe a disaster recovery exercise by Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMOR).  They had created a disaster scenario (terrorist attack) and had established a body recovery and identification exercise including the use of real human remains to test out all aspects of the emergency team response (including cadaver dogs). Miami Dade trains crime scene investigators and mortuary staff. In America they do not have Forensic Psychologists and our title confused them. This misunderstanding lead to them thinking we would be comfortable surrounded by cadavers and body parts. We were able to fake insouciance. It was fascinating to see how a mobile mortuary operates following a major incident of multiple deaths and it was great to see Bella the cadaver dog in action.

The trip gave us a wonderful insight into the way American university funding works and the entrepreneurial nature of the academics work. In the School of Justice all of the staff were practitioners in their field prior to joining the university and the ethos is innovation. The motto being try anything we will support you and if it works great. The academic team is multicultural and multilingual and southern hospitality was offered by everyone we met.

As part of their practitioner contact we were taken to a low security prison. Here we met the education, drug treatment and industries staff who work tirelessly to rehabilitate men who may have been in prison all their adult life. This experience was nothing like the view of American prisons presented by the media. Staff and prisoners worked alongside each other and showed considerable respect to each other. We met a group of 20 prisoners who had undertaken a treatment programme with university staff and students. They were welcoming to us and spoke positively about the experience as did the students.

On the final day we met the Virtual Campus team their professional approach was amazing with the University offering 300 MSc programmes on line. We learned how to develop our own programmes to provide a more blended learning approach and this discussion sparked many ideas for the future.

This turned out to be a very productive visit and has the potential to lead to the following collaborations, including research and student exchanges. 

Our visit ended with a meeting with red Dragon radios Dr Johnny Love, but that is another story. 

 

 Symudedd allanol i Florida

 

Eleni, bu dau gydweithiwr mewn seicoleg fforensig (Drs Nic Bowes & Karen de Claire) yn llwyddiannus wrth ennill cyllid ar gyfer ymweliad symudedd allanol. Mae adeiladu cydweithrediadau rhyngwladol cryf yn hollbwysig i’r modd yr ydym yn deall yn feirniadol ein hymarfer a’n gwybodaeth ein hunain, ac yn ein cynorthwyo i ddatblygu ymchwil i feysydd newydd, a dylunio cyrsiau i gynorthwyo myfyrwyr yn well. Yma, mae Dr Karen de Claire yn amlinellu’r daith, yr hyn a gwmpaswyd a rhai o’r canlyniadau.

 

Caniataodd arian Santander i ni ymweld â Phrifysgol Miami Dade. Miami Dade yw’r darparwr AU mwyaf yn yr Unol Daleithiau, gyda mwy o fyfyrwyr nag unrhyw goleg arall. Maent yn arwain y ffordd mewn gweithgareddau i ehangu mynediad i astudio a gwella cyflogadwyedd ar gyfer pobl na fyddai disgwyl iddynt fynychu’r brifysgol fel arfer. Mae gan y Brifysgol hon Ysgol Cyfiawnder ac mae ganddi bryderon ymarfer a diddordebau ymchwil tebyg; troseddau arfau, trais a materion cymunedol sy’n ymwneud â throseddu. Roedd gan Brifysgol Miami Dade ddiddordeb mawr mewn cyfarfod a gweithio gyda ni a threfnwyd taith anhygoel. Ar ôl cyrraedd, gwnaethom gyfarfod â Deon yr Ysgol Cyfiawnder a’i dîm a theithio o amgylch y campws. Esboniodd yr Academïau Swyddog yr Heddlu a Chywirol maent yn eu rhedeg, sy’n seiliedig ar gysyniad seicolegol cyfiawnder trefniadol. Cysyniad yr ydym yn gweithio arno ar hyn o bryd yn y DU. Buont hefyd yn sôn am eu rôl mewn byrddau dyrchafiad ar gyfer sefydliadau cyfiawnder troseddol, rhywbeth y gallwn ni fel prifysgol ystyried ei archwilio.

 

Dilynwyd hyn gyda mynychu cynhadledd troseddau gwn, gan gyfarfod ag arweinwyr gang, dioddefwyr, penaethiaid yr heddlu ac arbenigwyr cenedlaethol. Yn amlwg, mae hwn yn fater enfawr i bobl America. Er ei bod yn wych gweld pob un o’r grwpiau hyn yn cydweithio ag academyddion i ddelio â’r broblem, roedd yn ymwneud â chlywed y neges nad yw’r cyfreithiau rheoli gwn yn cael eu defnyddio’n eang neu’n effeithiol. Tra’n bod ni yn Miami roedd yna nifer o saethiadau gan gynnwys llofruddiaethau dau fyfyriwr ysgol uwchradd.

 

Ar ddiwrnod dau o’n hymweliad, cawsom wahoddiad i arsylwi ar ymarfer adfer trychineb gan System Ymateb Gweithrediadau Brys Marwdy Fflorida (FEMOR). Roeddent wedi creu senario trychineb (ymosodiad terfysgol) ac wedi sefydlu adfer ac adnabod corff gan gynnwys defnyddio gweddillion dynol go iawn i brofi pob agwedd ar ymateb y tîm brys (gan gynnwys cŵn darganfod cyrff meirw). Mae Miami Dade yn hyfforddi ymchwilwyr lleoliad troseddau a staff marwdy. Yn America, nid oes ganddynt Seicolegwyr Fforensig ac mae ein teitl yn eu drysu. Arweiniodd y camddealltwriaeth hwn atynt yn meddwl y byddem yn gyfforddus o amgylch carcharorion a rhannau o’r corff.  Llwyddom i ffugio dihidrwydd. Roedd hi’n ddiddorol gweld sut mae marwdy symudol yn gweithredu yn dilyn digwyddiad mawr o farwolaethau lluosog ac roedd hi’n wych gweld Bella y ci darganfod cyrff meirw yn gweithio.

 

Rhoddodd y daith gipolwg gwych i ni ar y ffordd y mae arian prifysgol America yn gweithio a natur entrepreneuraidd gwaith yr academyddion. Yn yr Ysgol Cyfiawnder roedd yr holl staff yn ymarferwyr yn eu maes cyn ymuno â’r brifysgol ac mae’r ethos yn arloesol.  Yr arwyddair oedd rhowch gynnig ar unrhyw beth, byddwn yn eich cefnogi ac os yw’n gweithio, gwych. Mae’r tîm academaidd yn amlddiwylliannol ac yn amlieithog a chynigiwyd lletygarwch deheuol gan bawb a gyfarfuom.

 

Fel rhan o’u cysylltiad ymarferydd, cawsom ein tywys i garchar diogelwch isel. Yma fe wnaethom gyfarfod â staff addysg, triniaeth cyffuriau a diwydiannau sy’n gweithio’n ddiflino i adsefydlu dynion a allai fod wedi bod yn y carchar trwy gydol eu bywydau oedolion. Nid oedd y profiad hwn yn debyg i farn carchardai America a gyflwynwyd gan y cyfryngau. Roedd staff a charcharorion yn gweithio ochr yn ochr â’i gilydd ac yn dangos cryn barch at ei gilydd. Cyfarfuom â grŵp o 20 o garcharorion a oedd wedi ymgymryd â rhaglen driniaeth gyda staff a myfyrwyr y brifysgol. Roeddent yn groesawgar i ni ac yn siarad yn gadarnhaol am y profiad fel yr oedd y myfyrwyr.

 

Ar y diwrnod olaf, gwnaethom gyfarfod â thîm y Campws Rhithwir, roedd eu hymagwedd broffesiynol yn rhyfeddol gyda’r Brifysgol yn cynnig 300 o raglenni MSc ar-lein. Fe wnaethon ni ddysgu sut i ddatblygu ein rhaglenni ein hunain i ddarparu dull dysgu mwy cymysg a thaniodd y drafodaeth hon lawer o syniadau ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Bu hyn yn ymweliad cynhyrchiol iawn ac mae ganddo’r potensial i arwain at y cydweithrediadau canlynol, gan gynnwys ymchwil a chyfnewidfeydd myfyrwyr.

Daeth ein hymweliad i ben gyda chyfarfod gyda Dr Johnny Love, red Dragon radios, ond  stori arall yw honno.

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Cangen Cymru o Gymdeithas Seicolegol Prydain [BPS] Welsh Branch Student Conference

Bob blwyddyn mae Cangen Cymru o’r BPS yn trefnu cynhadledd myfyrwyr ar gyfer myfyrwyr y flwyddyn olaf ac ôl-raddedigion i arddangos eu gwaith ymchwil. Eleni, roeddem yn ffodus gan i’r gynhadledd gael ei chynnal ym Met Caerdydd ar ddiwedd mis Mawrth. Yma mae Dr Nick Perham yn sôn am y gynhadledd.

Cynhadledd Myfyrwyr Cymru o Gymdeithas Seicolegol Prydain – cyfle gwych i fyfyrwyr israddedig ac ôl-raddedig y flwyddyn olaf i ledaenu eu Prosiectau i gynulleidfa dderbyngar, wybodus ac sydd â diddordeb. Bu’n dipyn o amser ers i mi fynychu un o’r cynadleddau hyn ond unwaith eto gwnaethpwyd argraff aruthrol arnaf o ganlyniad i ystod eang a dyfnder y pynciau a’r wybodaeth a ddangosodd y myfyrwyr.

Cynhaliwyd cynhadledd eleni ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd ac roedd wedi bod yn naw mlynedd ers iddi gael ei chynnal yma ddiwethaf. Byddai unrhyw un nad oedd wedi bod ar y campws ers hynny wedi sylwi ar y nifer o newidiadau sydd wedi digwydd ers hynny, yn enwedig yr enw.

Dechreuodd y gynhadledd gyda Dr Paul Hutchings yn gosod yr olygfa ar gyfer digwyddiadau’r dydd a thawelu nerfau pawb. Yna symudom i dri sesiwn cyfochrog yn y bore. Roedd sgyrsiau yn amrywio o edrych ar y rhagfynegydd gorau o grefyddrwydd i ddefnyddio defnydd caethiwus ar y rhyngrwyd i ragfynegi camddefnyddio sylweddau, o empathi poen tuag at robot i wahaniaethau rhywedd mewn sweipio ap detio ar-lein, a pherthnasoedd agos i ofalu am unigolion â dementia o safbwynt dyn.

 

Yn ystod cinio pleserus iawn, cafodd y rhai a fynychodd gyfle i gymysgu a gweld y posteri a oedd yn cynnwys pynciau megis effaith lle glas / gwyrdd ar straen, effaith, a hapusrwydd, a datblygu rhaglen llesiant gadarnhaol i fyfyrwyr prifysgol. Ar ôl cinio, cawsom ddwy sesiwn gyfochrog arall.

I gloi’r gynhadledd, rhoddais y prif anerchiad a aeth yn dda yn fy marn i – ni syrthiodd neb i gysgu, roedd y gynulleidfa yn rhyngweithio â mi, roedd pobl yn chwerthin â mi yn hytrach nag ar fy mhen, ac roedd y cwestiynau’n wybodus iawn. Wrth gloi’r digwyddiad cyfan, dyfarnodd Dr Paul Hutchings y gwobrau am y poster gorau a’r ail – Rebecca Nicholls (Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd) a Murat Karakas (Prifysgol Bangor) yn y drefn honno – ac am y sgwrs orau a’r ail – Bethan Elliott (Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd) a John Butler (Prifysgol Caerdydd) yn y drefn honno.

Wedi bod yn gadeirydd cangen Cymru, yr wyf yn ymwybodol iawn o faint o amser ac ymdrech sydd yn ofynnol fel rhan o’r cynadleddau hyn, yn enwedig pan fyddant fel arfer yn cael eu gwneud trwy ewyllys da’r aelodau. Diolch i bawb sydd wedi helpu i drefnu digwyddiad sydd wedi rhedeg mor llyfn.

Felly, o’i hystyried yn ei chyfanrwydd, cynhadledd wych. Fe’ch gwelwn i gyd eto’r flwyddyn nesaf.

Roedd gan Becky y canlynol i’w ddweud am y digwyddiad:

“Roedd cynhadledd myfyrwyr BPS yn brofiad gwerthfawr iawn, rhoddodd ddealltwriaeth well i mi o’r BPS cyfan, a’r ffordd y byddai cynhadledd fel arfer yn rhedeg. Roedd hefyd yn ddiddorol iawn clywed am brosiectau myfyrwyr eraill o blith israddedigion a graddau meistr. Byddwn yn argymell yn fawr i unrhyw un fynychu gan y bydd hefyd yn ychwanegiad da i’ch CV, ac edrychaf ymlaen at fynychu’r flwyddyn nesaf gyda’m prosiect meistr.”

Aeth Bethan yn syth at y pwynt yn dweud hyn:

“Roedd yn wych, wir wedi mwynhau”

 

BPS Welsh Branch Student Conference

Each year the BPS Welsh Branch organises a student conference for final year students and postgraduates to showcase their research work.  This year we were fortunate as the conference was held at Cardiff Met at the end of March.  Here Dr Nick Perham talks about the conference.

The Welsh British Psychological Society Student conference – a fantastic opportunity for final year undergraduate student and postgraduate students to disseminate their Projects to a receptive, knowledgeable, and interested audience. It has been a while since I attended one of these conferences but once again I was incredibly impressed at the sheer range and depths of topics and knowledge that students demonstrated.

This year’s conference was held at Cardiff Metropolitan University and it had been nine years since it was last held here. Anyone who had not been on campus since then would have noticed the many changes that have taken place since then, not least of all the name.

The conference started with Dr Paul Hutchings setting the scene for the day’s events and calming everyone’s nerves. We then moved onto three parallel sessions in the morning. Talks ranged from exploring the best predictor of religiosity to using addictive internet use to predict substance abuse, from pain empathy toward a robot to gender differences in online dating app swipes, and from a male perspective of intimate relationships to caring for individuals with dementia.

During a very enjoyable lunch, attendees had the opportunity to mingle and view the posters which covered topics such as the impact of blue/green space on stress, affect, and happiness, and developing a positive wellbeing programme for university students. After lunch we had two more parallel sessions.

 

To conclude the conference I gave the keynote address which I feel went well – no one fell asleep, the audience interacted with me, people laughed with me rather than at me, and the questions were very insightful. In wrapping up the whole event, Dr Paul Hutchings awarded the prizes for first and second best posters – Rebecca Nicholls (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Murat Karakas (Bangor University) respectively – and for first and second best talks – Bethan Elliott (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and John Butler (Cardiff University) respectively.

Having been chair of the Welsh branch, I am acutely aware of how much time and effort these conferences require especially when they are usually done through members’ goodwill. Thank you to all of those who helped out in organising such a smoothly-run event.

So, all in all, a wonderful conference. See you all again next year.

Becky had this to say about the event:

“The BPS student conference was a really valuable experience, it gave me a better understanding of both the BPS as a whole, and the way in which a conference would typically run. It was also very interesting to hear about other students projects from undergraduate and masters. I would highly recommend anyone to attend as it will also make a nice addition to a CV, and I look forward to attending next year with my masters project.”

And Bethan got straight to the point saying this,

“it was wonderful, really enjoyed it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


Para-athletwr elit yn y gamp tenis cadair olwyn, a myfyriwr Seicoleg

Mae Fran Smith yn fyfyrwraig lefel 4 ar y cwrs BSc Seicoleg ym Mrhifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd. Yma, mae hi’n dweud wrthym am rhan arall pwysig iawn o’i bywyd ble mae hi’n hyfforddi fel chwaraewr tenis cadair olwyn a sut mae Seicoleg wedi helpu gyda hyn.

 

Fy enw yw Fran Smith, rwy’n 18 oed, ac yn bara-athletwr elit yn y gamp tenis cadair olwyn. Cefais gyfle i fynychu fy ngwersyll tenis cadair olwyn cyntaf ar 05/06/17 ac ar hyn o bryd rwyf wedi cyrraedd y brig o blith merched iau Prydain ac yn dal safle 38 o blith merched iau y byd. Ar hyn o bryd rwyf yn fy chweched mis o chwarae ac yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw rwyf wedi ennill yr aur mewn tenis merched iau i senglau a pharau yn y British Open yng Ngemau Ysgolion 2017.

Mae hyn yn swnio’n dipyn o gamp, tydi? Efallai fod hynny’n wir, ond wnes i ddim eistedd mewn cadair olwyn chwaraeon gyda raced tenis a datblygu’r gallu anhygoel i chwarae.

Roeddwn i eisoes wedi chwarae tenis am 13 mlynedd gan ddefnyddio fy nghoesau. Ond erbyn imi gyrraedd 16 oed roedd rhaid i mi roi’r gorau iddi oherwydd nid oedd fy nghorff yn ymdopi, ac roedd y perygl o wneud niwed difrifol i’m coesau yn rhy uchel. Am 6 blynedd rwyf wedi bod mewn brwydr gyda’m corff a gyda’r Gwasanaeth Iechyd. Gyda’i gilydd, rwyf wedi gweld 6 ffisiotherapydd (2 arbenigwr), 2 rhiwmatolegydd, 1 niwrolegydd, 1 arbenigwr clust-trwyn-gwddf (ENT) ac un meddyg teulu pryderus dros ben.

Pe byddech chi’n fy ngweld i, fyddech chi ddim yn meddwl bod gen i anabledd (rwy’n dal i aros i rywun ddod i weiddi arnaf mewn maes parcio na ddylwn i fod yn deilwng i gael bathodyn glas), yn bennaf oherwydd fy mod i’n gallu cerdded.

Mae seicoleg yn hanfodol i mi, yn enwedig gan fy mod yn dod yn fy mlaen mor gyflym yn fy nghamp. Y llynedd, roeddwn i’n drist drwy’r amser, yn fwy trist nag arfer, oherwydd doedd gen i ddim chwaraeon yn fy mywyd, ac yn teimlo bod gen i ddim byd i’w wneud, dim uchelgais, ac yn y bôn, dim bywyd. Roedd y tristwch hwn yn gwneud imi fyw yn fy mhen yn ormodol a gor-ddadansoddi pob manylyn fyddwn i’n ei gael. Wrth lwc, llwyddais i roi trefn ar fy hun cyn imi droi yn gadach llestri am weddill fy oes!

Mae fy nghwrs seicoleg wedi fy helpu i mewn sawl ffordd. Un o’r pethau pwysicaf rydw i wedi ei ddysgu yw sut mae eich gwrthwynebwyr yn mynd i ymateb mewn gêm; beth mae eu hosgo, eu hedrychiad, eu safiad, eu symudiad a’u patrwm o chwarae yn ei ddweud wrthyf. Ond mae un peth sydd hyd yn oed yn bwysicach na’r rheiny; fy seicoleg fy hun. Yr elfen fawr yw fi fy hun yn byw y tu mewn i’m pen ar y cwrt oherwydd, wrth gwrs, mewn gêm senglau, dim ond chi a’ch gwrthwynebydd sydd yno. Rwy’n gwybod nawr os oes rhywbeth yn mynd o le ar y cwrt bod angen i mi newid pethau yn y fan a’r lle, ac yna, mae angen meddwl beth all fynd o le a pham.

Enghraifft wych yw’r gystadleuaeth ddiwethaf yr oeddwn i’n cystadlu ynddi, sef y Wheelchair Tennis Nationals cyn y Nadolig 2017. Collais y gêm gyntaf achos ’mod i’n teimlo fel pe bai gen i gartŵn o geiliog deri yn fy mhen. Yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio ar fy ngwrthwynebydd, roeddwn i’n meddwl yn ormodol am yr elfennau yn fy arddull i. Ar ôl imi gael ychydig o amser i feddwl, sylweddolais mai’r rheswm roeddwn i wedi colli’r gêm oedd fod gormod o bobl wedi bod yn gofyn imi beth oedd fy nghynllun ar gyfer y gêm, sut oeddwn i am eu trechu nhw, pa strategaethau oedd gen i, ac ati. Mae gormod o hyn cyn mynd allan i chwarae yn gallu bod yn llethol.

Diogel yw dweud, erbyn imi chwarae’r gêm gysur gyntaf, roeddwn i wedi rhoi’r gorau i’r ceiliog deri, ac wedi dileu popeth o’m meddwl. Canolbwyntiais ar ddim ond chwarae tenis, ac yn sgil hynny, llwyddais i ennill y rownd gysur a churo dwy ferch sy’n cystadlu yn fy erbyn am le yn nhimau Prydain. A dweud y gwir, yn ystod y ddwy gêm honno, doeddwn i ddim yn teimlo bod gen i ymennydd, yr unig beth yn fy mhen oedd pêl denis.

Yn amlwg, dim ond camau bychain ar y daith yw’r rhain, ond mae seicoleg wedi dysgu un peth i mi, mae wedi fy nysgu i stopio a meddwl. Ac os nad oes gennych chi fawr ddim synnwyr cyffredin, fel fi, mae hynny yn rhywbeth pwysig dros ben.

 


A Graduate’s Tale

Even if the weather feels doggedly like winter the days are finally getting longer and spring is upon us. It is a season of growth and maturation.

At the start of the year, the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme held a poster conference for final year students to showcase their research ideas. It was a lovely event, with lots of interactions between staff and students. What is really nice about the event is the chance to see the range of projects that students complete. This year there were projects on social media and mental health, on gender and employment, on well-being and yoga, on fire-spinners and connections to nature, amongst many more. Students demonstrate their concern with community support, the environment, health and well-being. It’s always really great to see how engaged with social matters students are. The poster conference also marks a transition, as final year students show what they are doing as part of the culmination of their studies.

This year, we invited a number of ex-students to come and talk to our current final year students about their experience with us, and also what they have gone on to do since graduation. One of our guests was Jon Mitchell, who spoke about his time at Cardiff Metropolitan (to see a video of the event and Jon chatting please click here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0xRaErs6DBI&feature=youtu.be)

 

Jon kindly provided a blog to accompany his visit in January. It is really nice to see how he has moved on, and recognises the support and value of what we ask of all students to do.

 

I am now in my third University (fourth if you count a brief adventure into a different field ten years ago), over three different UK countries.  Of them all, I think that I look at Cardiff Met with the fondest sentiments. Presently I am studying a PhD in anxiety and gender issues and before that was a Masters at one of the top ten Universities in the UK but if you ask me, Cardiff Met was the one that gave me the most.

Jon and friends at graduation

During my time there, I remember thinking how dull it was to be studying so many areas and topics that did not interest me; doing assignments that seemed pointless, and in reflecting on things so often when I did not feel the need to. Only now when I look back do I see how beneficial all of this truly was. By studying psychology as a whole, I was able to see which areas actually interested me. Granted BPS requirements had to be met, but the lecturers at Cardiff Met introduced such a wide range of theories and tools that I came away with a broader understanding of psychology than many of my peers at later universities. Completing so many different types of assignment had very much the same effect. I was able to move into other institutions having used most techniques that were introduced to us, or at least having a basic understanding of them. I was therefore able to be more versatile in my ability to generate content for assignments and in work.

I remember thinking that modules based around skills at work were pointless for me. I had already been working for ten years (being a mature student) and was running my own company at the time. Looking back, however, these modules gave me so many more skills than I realised, making me a better manager and enabling me to move into jobs I had previously thought well out of my realm. Even the dreaded “reflective learning journal” helped me to become a better employee, father and person. Trust me, I hated them at the time but they have stuck with me years later.

What sticks with me the most is the feeling of community and support that I received at Cardiff Met. This has not been felt anywhere else, and I know that many of my friends from there say the same thing. At Cardiff Met I was able to ask for help from any of the faculty, was supported and encouraged throughout assignments and was given confidence to speak up. This helped me grow and find my voice as a member of the academic community and gave me a better foundation than I could have ever wished for. Even now I know that I can get in touch with them and they would support me.

Jon has done really well, and we look forward to seeing what he does next, and continue t wish him all the best.


My Experience of Psychology Placements at Cardiff Met!

We have been offering volunteering opportunities within the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme for a number of years, and have rapidly expanded the number of organisations that we work with in the last four years. The placement opportunities offered in the second and third year provide students with work experience and helps them develop other practical skills that supplement and support the academic side of the programme.  Hannah Rowlands recently published a guest blog (http://studentblogs.cardiffmet.ac.uk/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-third-year-psychology-student/ ) about her routines at Cardiff Met, which made us think it would be interesting to ask if she would write something more specific for us.  Here is her blog about volunteering:

I chose to study psychology at Cardiff Met primarily because of it is applied nature. This course stood out to me as it allows its undergrads to develop a range of important employability skills. These skills are developed through the vast range of placement partners on offer!

Hence I chose to do the second year option Work, Volunteering and Placement module. Through this module I could apply for a range of placements Cardiff Met offers, such as placements in clinical settings to charity based community projects. There were so many to choose from and I was really unsure of which direction to head in but eventually I applied for Safer Wales Inclusive Service. This involved one-to-one and group sessions with a focus of encouraging positive lifestyle choices to the service users at risk of sexual exploitation. During the course of this placement I was given the opportunity to complete mentoring training. This consisted of a day’s workshop going thorough all aspects of mentoring, and afterwards we were expected to complete a booklet to evidence our understanding. These were then marked by our supervisors at Safer Wales and we were informed if we had passed the course. This helped me a lot on my placement when advising and mentoring the service users, and will aid me in the future on other projects.

wvap-blog

The placement supervision consisted of the placement provider completing an assessment grid evaluating my personal employability skills. Additionally, I had to complete a placement incident report. The focus of this was to evaluate my response to an incident of my choice that occurred during the course of my placement. I had to justify the reasons for my behaviour and what I would do differently in future to respond to a similar situation.

Due to the rewarding nature of this placement I also applied for extra volunteering at Whitchurch Hospital through a charity called Student Volunteering Cardiff. Throughout the volunteering I worked with adults who had an acquired brain injury. This was a really interesting experience as working in a clinical setting allowed me to see the difficulties the patient’s face when having mental health issues.

As you can imagine both of these volunteering programmes helped me to develop many key skills, like working in a confidential manner in professional settings, understanding appropriate ways to communicate with both professionals and service users and my confidence and ability to lead activities with service users. These skills will prove important in my later career in psychology. With this in mind I would definitely recommended anyone to get involved in the amazing number of placement partners Cardiff Met has to offer. Not only will it help you develop important skills and be great experience for your CV, but most importantly it is really rewarding and helps you see psychology applied in the real world!

We think it is great that Hannah recognises how she is developing and building skills. The Module Leader, Alison Walker, added this:

Community based placements offer students the opportunity to apply their learning in a range of contexts and gain valuable experience for their CV, whilst at the same time learning about the issues that impact on the local community. The model used by the department means that students are supported through the application process and are provided with 1:1 support for their individualised assessments.  It’s great to see how Hannah recognises how she has developed skills in professional contexts.


STAR: Student Action for Refugees

Much earlier this year I left the office late, and in the dark outside the Student Union was a small group of students standing in the mud behind a small desk glowing with the soft light of candles.  This turned out to be STAR raising awareness of the plight of refugees entering the UK.  I was impressed by their support for people trying to make sense of a new culture and helping them to adapt to the country that had hopefully provided them some security.

 

One of our first year students, Wasim Reza, was standing behind the desk that day, and he has written this blog about the important work of STAR:

 

Cardiff Met STAR (Student Action for Refugees) is a new society for this academic year. The Society is affiliated with a national charity called STAR in order to help welcome Refugees and Asylum seekers to the UK. STAR national aims to better the lives of Asylum seekers and Refugees in the UK, and they do this through campaigning and educating people about refugees and asylum seekers. STAR is made up of 13,000 student volunteers from over 30 universities from across the UK.

 

STAR

 

Cardiff Met STAR has held a number of fundraiser and awareness events over the past academic year, for example, a candlelit vigil highlighting how thousands of lives have been lost by refugees and asylum seekers who take an overseas route to Europe from Turkey and Libya in an attempt to flee conflict in their home country.  The vigil was held on International Humanitarian Rights Day to emphasize and remind people that all humans have the same rights and that we cannot turn our backs simply because it’s not on our doorstep.  Cardiff Met STAR has worked to change the sometimes negative view people in the UK hold towards refugees and asylum seekers by showing the film “Dirty Pretty Things” in which themes of both the humanity and exploitation of refugees are explored.

Cardiff Met STAR has also campaigned to make the routes to Europe safer for refugees and asylum seekers while they are traveling to safer countries by supporting petitions like “Safe Routes Save Lives,” which hopes to ensure that there are adequate search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Cardiff Met STAR, in partnership with STAR, sent a petition to Downing Street on behalf of all the societies working with the national charity to gain the attention of the Prime Minister in order to try and make a difference in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.

The Society helps refugees and asylum seekers improve their English Language skills by sponsoring an informal English conversation club held once a week at the Oasis Centre in Splott. The sessions are broken into two parts, both an hour each.  In the first half, volunteers build rapport with the refugees and asylum seekers, getting to know them and their stories (where they have come from, what their cultures are and to explain other cultures to them). The second half focusses on a slightly more formal English class where the refugees and asylum seekers are in a classroom setting in which the they have the time and opportunity to practise their English. The English language club at the Oasis Centre has been a huge success and there have been more than 35 refugees and asylum seekers in the class.  It can be a lot for volunteers at times, however it is a very friendly and supportive atmosphere and everyone encourages and helps each other.

Cardiff Met STAR is not just a society within the university as it has had a positive impact on the greater Cardiff community as well. It gives volunteers an opportunity to help refugees and asylum seekers in who may not have received this kind of support otherwise.  For students who are not from Cardiff, it gives them an opportunity to get to know the city of Cardiff better and sometimes learn from the refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom have lived in Cardiff longer than the students.  It is a learning experience for both parties, and volunteers go not just to teach but also to learn.  Many of our volunteers have picked up a few words of other languages, such as Arabic, and it looks good on a CV as it improves skills such as communication, working with people from different cultures and backgrounds, teamwork and teaching skills.

In the new academic year, Cardiff Met STAR will continue the weekly English conversation club as well as holding events and socials in support of Refugees and Asylum seekers across the UK and beyond.  We hope to see you next year!

 

STAR won the Cardiff Met Student Union Society Award this year for the best Contribution to the Community!  This is a much-deserved award and recognition of the work put in by all the volunteers.  Please do get involved!

 

 


Applied Cognitive Expertise: Networking Event

On Monday 4 April 2016 the Applied Cognitive Expertise held its first networking event at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The day was an opportunity for researchers, both inside and outside the university, to disseminate and discuss a range of diverse topics in an informal and relaxed environment.

Sessions were held on Distraction and language; Decision-making and reasoning; Emotion, mood, and cognition; and Hedonic cognition. Within those sessions, for example, Dr Robert Mayr talked about how native languages sound foreign, Dr Nick Perham informed us how a deficit in processing order information may explain some features of dyslexia, Dr Niall Galbraith explored how jealousy and paranoia are (not) associated with data gathering, Dr Andy Watt explained how decision-making in psychiatry is not as optimal as it should be, Professor Phil Reed examined how schizotypy and internet use are related to each other, Dr Deiniol Skillicorn focused on a novel Stroop methodology to explain cognitive control deficits schizotypy, and Dr Martin Graff regaled us with decision-making in online dating. To round things off, Professor Bob Snowden gave us an insight into the cognitive underpinnings of psychopathic individuals replete with fascinating anecdotes of his research experience.

We are very grateful to all those who presented and attended and hope to organise a similar event next year.

ACE event photo

Some feedback from the event:

Professor Phil Reed from Swansea University felt that the “day achieved three main things: 1) it allowed me to make some contacts with people doing similar work to me, so that we can develop research collaborations; 2) it kept me up to date with research in the local area, and a bit beyond; and 3) it was a good research conference in itself”.

Professor Bill Macken from Cardiff University said that “the Applied Cognitive Expertise networking event organised at Cardiff Metropolitan Uni provided a broad and stimulating forum for discussion of the of ways in which the methods and concepts of cognitive psychology could be usefully applied to a variety of ‘real world’ settings and problems. As a showcase for the range of research expertise in the area, it will hopefully provide a starting point for valuable collaborations in the future”.

Dr Martin Graff from the University of South Wales commented that “the day enabled me to discuss and make contact with several colleagues from different institutions sharing research interests to my own.  I have now had the opportunity to contact delegates with the idea of conducting further research in cognate areas”.

Dr Simon Dawson from Cardiff Metropolitan University initially was “a little sceptical to attend as many aspects were not directly related to my field of expertise. However, with the high calibre of speakers, well designed presentations and regular breaks to interact made the day worthwhile. There was a clear synergy between each speaker, highlighting the sterling efforts the psychology department had put in organising this event. This has opened ideas for potential collaborative research within areas I had not considered before. Looking forward to the next event”.

Professor Bob Snowden from Cardiff University “was really pleased to get a chance to hear of these activities taking place on our doorstep.  I hope the enterprise of the Applied Cognitive Expertise Network can continue to bring together scientists and practioners from our region to form strategic collaborations and exchange ideas”.