Keynotes Speakers

Keynotes Speakers

Dr Danijela SerbicWinner of the Higher Education Psychology Teacher of the Year Award in 2023 

Title: Breaking Barriers: Empowering Early Career and Teaching-Focused Academics 


In the current dynamic yet uncertain landscape of higher education, early career academics face many challenges in navigating their roles, particularly within teaching-focused positions. This keynote discusses the importance of fostering supportive environments for these educators and outlines practical strategies contributing to their career development, recognition, and inclusivity, developed within a research-oriented department in the UK. Through collaborative initiatives like the pedagogic group THESIS (Teaching in Higher Education: Supporting and Inspiring Students), early career and teaching-focused academics have gained access to structured career support pathways, fostering their growth and success. Projects and strategies like the THESIS Early Career Teachers Symposium and strategic leadership roles within THESIS exemplify the tangible impact of this approach. Moreover, this collaborative framework not only supports early career and teaching-focused academics but also nurtures a holistic approach to education, wherein they actively engage in co-creating educational initiatives with students. By creating inclusive career support systems, we can elevate the professional development and standing of these academics. Ultimately, these efforts enhance the educational experience for all stakeholders involved. 

About the Speaker:

Danijela is a Senior Lecturer (teaching-focused) in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. In 2017, Danijela founded THESIS (Teaching in Higher Education: Supporting and Inspiring Students), a group aimed at enhancing teaching excellence and supporting students and academics, especially those in early career and teaching-focused roles. Danijela is the recipient of several teaching prizes, including the 2023 Higher Education Psychology Teacher of the Year Award from the British Psychological Society. This award recognises her significant contributions to psychology teaching in UK higher education, especially in supporting both students and staff in career development. Beyond her pedagogic work, Danijela’s research is in pain psychology, with a focus on the wellbeing of university students living with chronic pain. 

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