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College highlights the strengths of ‘research embedded’ teaching

Published: December 17, 2018

Cornwall College Newquay

The continuing publication of student-led scientific research has been highlighted as a unique strength of Newquay’s specialist science college.

Cornwall College Newquay offers higher education programmes in Wildlife Education, Animal Behaviour & Management and Zoological, Marine & Ecological Conservation.

Despite having a smaller overall student body when compared to the majority of university providers in the UK offering comparable courses, Cornwall College has managed to retain a disproportionately high number of examples of its students having their research published in both science and trade journals.

Dr Mark Nason, who is the Head of Campus at Cornwall College Newquay, sees the ability to engage higher education students in applied research as a “key strength” of the College and one that is “almost unique within the sector”.

Mark said: “It’s extremely unusual for a college to be able to provide students with this opportunity, particularly since we are not able to access much of the money used by universities to fund their research activities. Our academic staff embed learners in their research activities wherever possible and for a college we have an unrivaled track record of supporting our learners to publish their own original research, often in collaboration with industry.”

“This helps to enrich the experience for our learners and gives them a significant head start when applying for jobs or progressing to postgraduate qualifications. Many traditional universities are envious of our innovative ‘research-embedded’ approach to teaching, which is only possible with our small group sizes. We are justifiably proud that we have managed to maintain this unique activity and that through their research, our students and staff continue to influence local, national and global policy and practice” Mark continued.

Recent examples of submitted and published research work by Cornwall College students have appeared in many leading international, peer-reviewed journals within the disciplines of biological and conservation science. These include journals Bioscience Horizons, Biological Conservation, Wildlife Rehabilitation, Zoo Biology, Anthrozoös, Ocean Science and trade journal Practical Fishkeeping.

Cornwall College Newquay alumni Rhiann Mitchell-Holland is the latest student to gain recognition of her work in published form. Research completed by Rhiann as part of her Honours Project for her degree forms the basis of a paper that has been recently accepted by the journal Bioscience Horizons (The International Journal of Student Research).

Rhiann said: “Publication of my Honours project in a peer-reviewed academic journal sets the seal on the quality of the Cornwall College Newquay experience for me. It was hugely motivating to be doing a project and know that the results would be used by scientists and regulators – and I knew this because they told me so, in emails and in person. When I presented the results in a poster at the South West Invasive Species Forum, it was brilliant to be treated by those taking part as one of the expert delegates.”

Rhiann continued: “It couldn’t have been done without the support and guidance of my lecturers as co-authors; from dealing with the demands of referees to going through the proofs with a fine tooth comb. I know that this staff expertise isn’t usually found outside of research-led universities and few universities have contacts who can apply the results. The combination of the two at Cornwall College Newquay is part of what makes it so special – and why I am so pleased to have attended there.”

For more information on the range of Wildlife Education, Animal Behaviour & Management and Zoological, Marine & Ecological Conservation courses available at Cornwall College Newquay visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.

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