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.
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.
We have just finished Enhancement Week, which is the first week back after Christmas. The highlight of the week for me was the Poster Conference. All the final year students displayed and talked about their research ideas. It was fantastic to see the variety of topics that engaged with research, and focused on individual, social and community issues. It was also a treat to see the students come together as part of a community and to see their enthusiasm for their work.
As we build communities of students, one thing that is very important is the Psychology Society. A new group is now running it, with support from the Students Union. As staff, we are really pleased to see this, and support them in all their work.
Please read what they have to say below, and more importantly join up and get involved!
Hi everyone, hope you all had a nice break!
This is just a little segment on the psychology society and what we are aiming and hoping to do now and in the future. We decided to restart the psychology society with the hope of providing students, particularly those enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Psychology course, further opportunities to develop their experiences of studying psychology and to hold events which help individuals decide where to take their degree after graduation. In addition, we also wanted to provide opportunities to widen our social networking circles by arranging events involving the psychology departments at Cardiff and University of South Wales, and also other Cardiff Met societies. By doing this, we are also able to welcome those who do not study psychology but hold an interest in the discipline. Each uni holds organises research talks and these are one way we aim to achieve this. The talks cover a wide range of topics within psychology, ranging from psychosis and hypnosis, living with autism and criminal profiling, all of which have been successful with good turn outs. Future talks of a more general overview of forensic psychology and clinical psychology are being arranged. We also aim to provide information to students regarding events and research developments from the British Psychological Society (BPS). The BPS hold a number of insightful events across the country over the year which would be invaluable as psychology students and those who hold an interest, including job fairs, networking events and large scale research talks. By forwarding this information through our society networking sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, we hope they can inspire students to enhance their university experience and supplement their degree with extracurricular events.
Mike and friends on the way to a psychology talk organised by the Society
We hope to be able to arrange large scale psychology trips and social events, BPS related or otherwise, again, to provide something extra along with the degree and for those who are interested in the discipline. Fundraising for such events has been difficult, but we’re slowly finding our feet so you’ll be hearing from us a lot more during the course of the year!
If you have any suggestions for events we could arrange or anything you’d like to see from us, please drop us a message on our Facebook page (Cardiff Met Psychology Society 2017-2018).
Mike, Nadine, Izzy & Thomas
Do get involved!
Last week the Department of Applied Psychology was proud to officially launch the Psychological Literacy Award (you can find out more about the award here: https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/graduate-skills-the-psychological-literacy-award-2/). Students and staff came together to find out more about the new development.
We were delighted to be joined by many of the Psychology BSc students as it is their development that is central to the goals of the award.
Dr Dan Heggs, Programme Director for the Psychology BSc (Hons) Programme, said:
“Helping students develop skills for future careers is central to the degree programme, and students have been successfully completing placements as part of their studies for many years. We now have a range of work-related modules in all years of the programme so from the first year onward students are supported and encouraged to think about how they can use and apply psychology. What’s so great about the new Psychological Literacy Award is that it recognises more of the extra-curricular work that students complete, and will help them show that to potential employers.”
We were also pleased to be joined by staff from the Department of Applied Psychology, the Student Union, the Careers Service and Professor Antony Chapman, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. Professor Chapman is a well-known psychologist and a former President of the British Psychological Society. The Department of Applied Psychology was very keen for Professor Chapman to be involved in the launch of an employability initiative which is tailored to the skill of psychology students, especially as to how their psychological literacy enables them to engage in the many work areas.
Dr Lalage Sanders, Head of the Department, was very supportive of the launch event and the award:
“I was delighted with the launch of this innovative development for the Department. Our Vice-Chancellor was clearly impressed by the Award and its launch and is keen to be kept abreast of its progress. I think we may see other disciplines follow this lead. Another first for Applied Psychology!”
We are thrilled to be home to such an exciting initiative and look forward to keeping you updated about the progress of the Psychological Literacy Award. Please also take a look at our Facebook page for more photographs of the event!
Unfortunately this year our annual picnic was cancelled due to poor weather. This is the first year we have been unable to celebrate outside, but we were determined to celebrate anyway! Instead staff, students and families gathered in our research area for coffee and cake.
This has been a busy academic year for us with new modules, new placement opportunities and new members of staff so it was lovely to be able to mark the end of the year in a relaxed environment.
As always it was really enjoyable for staff to spend some time with students outside of a lecture context. It is good for us to spend some time talking about non-university activities! As students enjoy their post-exam freedom and staff are busy marking it is important for us to make some time for some enjoyment. Thank you to all who came and we look forward to next year’s picnic where hopefully we will be fortunate enough to experience some sunshine!
Last Friday was our annual picnic! Read about last year’s picnic here: https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/43/
The picnic was originally scheduled for Thursday, but due to a gloomy weather forecast we postponed it to the Friday. As you can see from the photo above we made the right decision and had blue skies and sunshine for the afternoon!
Staff spent some time with our final year students who, while pleased with having finished their exams, were bemused by having so much time on their hands! As with all our social events it was really nice to spend some time talking to students outside of the university context, enjoying their company and talking about their plans for the summer. Students also talked about next year’s picnic becoming a reunion event for them and this would be lovely; it is really good to catch up with our alumni and so we hope to see the same faces at next year’s event!
Most of us enjoyed food, conversation and sunshine, but some felt more athletic and had a friendly kick around. Staff members also brought along their pet dogs, meaning we were all entertained by the antics of Dave, Meg and Yoshi! Some staff also brought along their children (it was half-term for Cardiff schools) consequently there was a genuine family atmosphere to the afternoon.
All in all the weather was wonderful and the company excellent so the afternoon was a wonderful way to round off the academic year!
Last week the Department of Applied Psychology hosted its first ever quiz!
Staff and students gathered in Zen on Llandaff Campus for the event. We had eight quiz teams made up by students, with a good representation from all three levels of the BSc Psychology Programme. Tina Weatherbed was our Quiz Mistress for the evening and Lalage Sanders kept track of the scores. Leanne Franklin, Annette Daly, Deiniol Skillicorn and Darren Walker made up the academic contingent who were available for students to ‘purchase’ for a round – though there was no guarantee of any right answers!
Tina posed some very difficult questions, but the teams performed very well. None better than the ‘Freudian Slips’ who were our winners for the evening. The team was comprised of Ellie Osborn, Kerry Dare, Jack Constant, Bethan Jones and Joseph Keenan – congratulations! They were closely followed by the ‘Dyslexic Brians’… the team names also demonstrating that our students are well versed in psychological humour!
Everyone who attended had a great time and we raised over £100 for Ty Hafan! This was a great effort and an evening which is going to become a regular social event for the department – hopefully we will see you at the next one! Don’t forget to like our FaceBook page for information on upcoming social events… the next one is a Film Night on February 27th!
What a busy term it has been!
All levels have been busy getting into the swing of the new academic year and all have had a deadline filled last week of term… with the final year students also now busily working away on their projects!
Another piece of news (as announced on our FB page) is that we are supporting Ty Hafan this year and will be holding fundraising activities. Ty Hafan is a children’s hospice in South East Wales that provides specialist care and support for all members of the family.
Our first fundraiser was a film night earlier in the term where we showed ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. This is a classic film, with Jack Nicholson playing the role of R.P.McMurphy, a convict who feigns madness in order to escape the hard life of prison and be admitted to a psychiatric ward; while there he brings life and spontaneity to the ward and also challenges the rule of Nurse Ratched.
After the film we had a short discussion about some of the issues of psychological interest that were presented in the film. One notable theme was the nature of (in)sanity and the group came to the conclusion that McMurphy was sane, but Nurse Ratched was insane. We also discussed how treatments of mental illness have changed in recent decades, as well as the power relationship between patient and practitioner.
Dr Katie Thirlaway, Head of Psychology, felt that the film night went very well:
“The film night was a great success and wonderful to raise so much money at one event for Ty Hafan. Although for old timers like me it is a little depressing to realsie the film was made almost 40 years ago. It was useful to reflect how in some areas our understanding and response to mental health has moved on, but also sobering to recognise that it is still a very stigmatised and underfunded area in the NHS”
As well as showing the film we raised money by selling refreshments and hosting a couple of fundraising activites. In total we raised nearly £70 which is a fantastic beginning to our support of Ty Hafan.
This week we have also hosted a social evening to mark the festive season. On Monday evening staff, students and families met in the Atrium to enjoy a glass of mulled wine and mince pies. This was well attended with students from all three levels, including some of our Erasmus students. Some staff also brought their children which gave a lovely family feel to the evening. The children in particular were very impressed with the decorations in the CSM building:
Dr Daniel Heggs, Programme Director for the Psychology BSc Programme, was very pleased with the evening:
“It was lovely to see so many students attend on Monday. It gave staff a wonderful opportunity to get to know them outside of the confines of lecture theatres and our offices”
This is the first time we have hosted a Christmas social event and we will definitely be repeating it!
We will be continuing to host events throughout the academic year which will be advertised by email, poster and on FB, so please sign up to our FB page to keep up to date. If you would like to find out more about Ty Hafan then please visit their website at: http://www.tyhafan.org
Finally we would like to wish all of our students and colleagues a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!