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A Pinch of SALT

A Pinch of SALT

By Swansea Academy of Learning & Teaching @ Swansea University
Swansea University's Academy of Learning & Teaching, SALT, investigates the rapidly changing world of the HE environment. In each episode, we search out food for thought that makes change a lot more palatable. Learning and teaching strategies, learning environments, inclusive pedagogy, educational technology, innovation and most importantly making connections— if it has anything to do with learning and teaching in higher education, let’s make sure everyone knows about it.
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Reflecting on our annual Learning and Teaching Conference
The SALT conference is an opportunity for us to showcase the very best practice in learning and teaching from colleagues across the university. It’s a chance to inspire, to be inspired, and sharpen one another in our craft. In this episode, we have the privilege of sitting with some colleagues without whom the conference simply does not happen, to hear about this year's conference, and to hear their highlights of #SUSALT22.
July 26, 2022
Time of your Life?
With any major transition in our lives, there is the potential for feelings of grief, or deep sadness in response to something we’ve lost. We often associate grief with the loss of a loved one, but grief can also come with other transitions: leaving university, losing a job, divorce, children leaving home, menopause and retirement qualify as major life transitions.  These transitions can cause can great turmoil. There are so many aspects of our lives that can be affected: physical, emotional, behavioural, social, confidence, self-perception, worries about how others perceive you, coping with stress & anxiety, dealing with embarrassing and sensitive symptoms, lack of control, tolerance levels,  coping with the feeling you’re not understood/it’s not acceptable to let things affect your work, I’m sure that we can all identify with this in some way or another. In this episode have the Reverend Mandy Williams and Colette Leleu here to chat to us about some of these changes in life, the impact that can have on the individual and those around them, and to share what help and support there is here in the university. So welcome to a Pinch of SALT once again Mandy & Colette. Bereavement Support Faith@Campuslife TogetherAll Student Services Staff Services 
July 12, 2022
Doing Blended Learning well, with TEL
In 2020, Swansea University adopted a new Digital Learning Platform, moving from Blackboard to Canvas. To ensure the transition was as smooth as it could possibly be, the University assembled a project team of individuals who are passionate about Technology in education. Over the past couple of years, the team has evolved, adapted, and supported staff to launch out into the world of online learning in the face of one of the most challenging events in recent history – the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the former Canvas Project Team have since joined a group of Academic Developers within SALT called the Technology Enhanced Learning team, who bring together a great wealth of practical technological experience with a strong knowledge of pedagogy within Technology Enhanced Learning. We have the privilege of meeting some of them today to talk about their journey, how they support staff across the university, and best practice in blended learning. Swansea staff can access the TEL dev team's provisions or find out more about engaging in ABC learning design. Episode art by cottonbro from Pexels
June 28, 2022
Reminiscing the First Year of the Podcast
We began planning A Pinch of SALT a little over a year ago February 2021 and published our first episode in July 2021. We opened with Swansea's Pro-Vice Chancellor of Learning and Teaching professor Martin Stringer which was the perfect start to the collection. So far, we have managed to capture staff and student voices from a range of perspectives, with many more in the pipeline. In this episode, Mandy Jack shares a few of her favourite episodes, although she admits it was difficult to choose. We would also like to take this opportunity to get you to share your favourites and to suggest topics for future episodes too. Also if you’d like to be a guest or you have a suggestion for a topic please get in touch by emailing the SALT Podcast Team at
June 14, 2022
Juggling Commitments: Gaining a PGCert HE on the job
Studying for a PGCert in teaching in higher education provides an important grounding in teaching techniques, approaches, and theories and supports the continuing development of your teaching practice. Some might argue, that it is a vital developmental qualification for both new members of academic staff who are just embarking on a career in Higher Education, as well as those who may have been teaching for a while but have had no formal guidance in learning and teaching strategies. However, starting a new job, often in a new area and sometimes in a new country is hard enough, but to do that alongside gaining a qualification is a tough ask. So how is it done? In today’s episode, we talk to four newly qualified staff here at Swansea University. We have Dr. Tegwen Malik who lecturers in the School of Management, Dr. Jennifer Thompsona lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Shirin AlexanderSenior Lecturer in Energy Safety Research, and Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Pete Arnold Senior Lecturer, in Health Data Science. Together they share how they juggle the day job whilst becoming a student again.
May 31, 2022
Recognition Uncovered: In Conversation with the team behind HEA Fellowship at Swansea University
In this episode we talk to SALT's own team of Academic Developers, supporting the internal HEA Fellowship programmes. A must for anyone thinking of pursuing a fellowship application, becoming an assessor or simply wishing to find out more about the world of HEA Fellowship here at Swansea!
April 26, 2022
The Garden University: The Contribution of Swansea University's Grounds and Grounds' Team to Learning, Teaching and Wellbeing.
In this episode we talk with Paul Edwards, Swansea University's longest serving Grounds Manager. We gain an insight into the work of the Grounds Team and explore how the university's two diverse campuses continue to support learning, promote wellbeing and help nurture Swansea's distinctive identity.
April 12, 2022
Finding a balance - from staff, for staff
Talk about mental health and wellbeing in society has changed, so is it assumed that we are more proactive about asking for help to ensure our own positive metal health? It is fair to say that conversations emerging around mental health and wellbeing are well established on the HE sector’s agenda and have dominated the media, it has even caught the attention of government. But the level of stress among academics in higher education institutions has significantly increased over the past decade. So, what can we do to help ourselves? What is out there for us to help us recognise that we might need help, or to stop us even getting to that stage? Today we talk to about what is going on around us that can offer help in a proactive and maybe even preventative way. Today we are delighted to be speaking to two members of Staff Wellbeing at Swansea University; the Reverend Mandy Williams and Colette Leleu who are part of a group of dedicated individuals that promote health and wellbeing at work.  Together they are trying to improve our workplace culture with a special emphasis on health and wellbeing. If you are staff at Swansea you can find some resources in the Health and Wellbeing section of HR, here is the list of the centre series events.
April 04, 2022
What International Women's Day 2022 means @Swansea University
For women all over the world, just being a woman can be very hard. Having a special day like International Women's Day means that some of their stories can be told, and those more fortunate can learn and begin to understand how privileged we are. In today's episode, we celebrate being a woman in higher education. We discuss our fortunate position, of living in a country where higher education is not just a male opportunity. We share our varied experiences from a range of perspectives of university life. On the podcast today Rhian Ellis and Mandy Jack talk to Sophie Leslie Student Partnership and Feedback Development Office, Liza Leibowitza former Swansea University student and the welfare officer for Swansea University students union, Saabina Abubaker second year student studying psychology and sociology; Dr Helen Williams lecturer in people and organization, based in the school of management, Professor Yamni Nigam faculty of medicine, health, and life sciences and Joanne Parfitt Head of English Language Training Services. Together we show how far we have come from the London 9 back in 1869, but how much there is still to do.  #BreakTheBias
March 08, 2022
Living Books Event at Swansea University
This is a special episode today where we're promoting our Living Books event, which is taking place on the 23rd of March. So what is a Living Book? We got our inspiration for the event from the Danish organisation The Human Book Library. So essentially in the true sense of the word, it is a library of real people, with real stories to tell. On the 23rd of March, readers can borrow 'books', our human volunteers, and have conversations they would not normally have access to. It is a safe space where difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered. It's the second time we've held an event like this at Swansea University. So, we're fortunate to have some of last year's books here to chat to us about why they offered to be part of the library, and what they got from the experience. We also have, one of this year's books with us, so, we can hear a little bit about what is to come up in March. I feel like I'm in a bit of a magic library at the moment. Talking about their experiences from last year's event are: the event organiser, Philippa Price - Subject Librarian; Mohsen Elbeltagi - Muslim Chaplain Campus Life team member; Theresa Ogbekhiulu - Senior Project Manager for Race Equality and Professor Martin Stringer - Pro-Vice-Chancellor For Education. We also have Dr Gareth Noble Associate Professor and Director for Postgraduate Taught Studies at Swansea University Medical School who gives us a snippet into what his book is about and why he wanted to be a part of this year's event. To join us on 23rd of March 2022 you will need to register and choose a 'book' to read. So listen well and come along in March and become better read! Peruse the blurb of the books confirmed for this year's event. #InclusiveSwanseaUni #BetterRead #LivingBooks2022
February 24, 2022
What's in a name? The Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University
Today we are talking to Archivists at the Richard Burton Archives, here at Swansea University. This enthusiastic and engaging team of archivists have come here today to share their passion for the wonderful resources that are held within the archives and to share ways in which these artifacts, not only of local and regional, but also national significance, can offer a unique opportunity to enhance the student learning experience. So a warm welcome to Katrina, Emily, and Stacy, the Richard Burton Archivists. Please follow the team on Twitter @SwanUniArchives, read the blog, or peruse the LibGuides to find out more!
February 22, 2022
It's more than just Grammar, Grandma. Centre for Academic Success: Supporting Students, Supporting Teachers Supporting Students
In this episode we speak with Pete Hanratty from Swansea University's Centre for Academic Success about the evolution of the unit and learn that their ever expanding offerings support students in far more than just basic essay writing skills
January 25, 2022
Media, innovation and creativity
Today I am talking to Georgios Dimitropoulos.  He is the manager and inspiration behind the Media Suite Innovation Lab at Swansea University.  Georgios an academic, a joint sector entrepreneur, and a documentary filmmaker and producer, he is also the Founder of, which provides a beautiful insight to its amazing Greek Island, he is Co-founder of 4theRegion, the new Centre for Regional Engagement for South West Wales, and Founder of Gŵyr a collection of films and documentaries about the Gower, Swansea Bay and South & West Wales. Lucky for us Georgios has been working at Swansea University since 2016 sharing his talents and passion for creative innovations. Georgios’ research project explores the significant challenges facing Wales from a socio-economic perspective where he brings contributors together from the academic, private, public, and third sector bodies. So many things to talk about today, so let’s find out how it all began. If you want to know more or follow Georgios' work here are some useful links for you: FILMFREEWAY INSTAGRAM Latest Documentary Films Welsh Affairs Documentary Series ( Welsh Affairs Pandemic Impact on Higher Education 25 Minute Version Gwyr Film Series Web Site ( Latest Academic Content Media Suite Innovation Lab at Swansea University
December 28, 2021
HEA Fellowship and Beyond
In this episode we discuss the ongoing influence of achieving HEA Fellowship with Swansea University's Marcela Bezdickova and Charlie Earle. This episode is a must for anyone considering fellowship, in the process of applying or just curious about how HEA fellowship can impact on your professional practice.
November 30, 2021
The Library - Soul Enhanced Search Engine
In this edition, we speak to Lori Havard, Sarah Jones and James Broomhall from the University's library. We discover a little about their background and what led them to life within Libraries and explore some of the opportunities presented to us through the services that our own libraries offer.
October 26, 2021
Supporting all students
Tina Webber is the manager of the Transcription Centre here at Swansea University.  Tina has been working in the university since 2005 helping to provide accessible learning materials for students with visual impairments. She describes herself as an ambassador for Swansea University and enjoys visiting specialist colleges for visually impaired students across the country, educating students about their rights in regards to going to university, and encouraging them to come to Swansea. When she isn’t working hard for us at Swansea, she is most often playing hard having a ball teaching Zumba! Tina says "supporting print disabled students at Swansea University encompasses a wide range of areas and departments. It can be challenging at times to 'win over' content creators (e.g. academics) but having said that some are shining examples of 'best practice'. Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness about accessibility guidelines, educate colleagues, demonstrate best practices, and lead by example to remove barriers." Follow the transcription Centre on Twitter @SUTranscription, Tina also recommends following @textboxdigital.  If you require braille email and Tina also recommends checking out RNIB and their Book Share, and the ever-useful Jisc is packed with a range of help, support, and guidance.
October 12, 2021
So... how do we learn?
Neuroscientist Professor Phil Newton is the Associate Dean for Education in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Swansea University. Phil teaches Neuroscience across a variety of programmes in the School. He also teaches evidence-based education as part of the School's online MSc in Medical Education. Phil has also taught students and staff worldwide about plagiarism and other forms of other academic misconduct. Phil came to Swansea in 2009 from the University of California, having completed a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds and a B.Sc in Biology at Aberystwyth University. He also holds an MSc in Medical Education from Cardiff University (2012). He is famously known for his work around evidence-based education and advocates that he wants to apply scientific methods to the study of issues in education. Phil describes himself as a pragmatic nerd. He says "there are lots of effective, evidence-based ways to teach, to learn, to study. We don't really use them. It would help us all if we did. Equally, there are lots of really ineffective ways to teach and to study. They are remarkably popular. It would help us all a lot if we put them in the bin." There are so many themes we could unpick with Phil, but for today we will concentrate on “how we learn”. Hopefully, he will join us in the future to address some of the other hot topics! Read The Case for Pragmatic Evidence-Based Higher Education: A Useful Way Forward? and follow along on YouTube to make your own mind up! 
September 27, 2021
Student Voice and Welsh Culture
Joining us in this episode of A Pinch of SALT is Tomos Watson. He is a Geography graduate and is currently the Student Voice Coordinator, was also the former Welsh Affairs Officer at Swansea University's Student Union. Over the years he has been heavily involved in a number of high-profile developments here at Swansea, such as the creation of designated Welsh language accommodation and the hosting of the Inter-University Eisteddfod, to name but two. He says "Higher Education is a microcosm of the wider society and it's clear to me through my experiences how much of an effect this is having in our institution, (yet not something that even is peoples radar sometimes unless it's down in Law). I'd like to explore this, and explain the relationship that many Welsh people have with their language and culture and how it can still feel like an ongoing battle for it to exist." So I think it’s fair to say that Tomos is pretty passionate about Welsh culture and language in Higher Education and I am thrilled to say he is with us right now to talk about why it is important to select a university that matches your needs and continues to help you develop as an individual within a university community.
September 14, 2021
It's all about assessment
In today's episode we are very pleased to welcome Dr Jo Berry as our Guest on A Pinch of SALT.  A Roman historian and was the Dean of Assessment at Swansea University.  Jo studied at Reading University, reading Ancient History and Latin, and subsequently completed her MA and a Ph.D., writing a dissertation on "the Roman House at Work". Jo has authored, co-authored and edited a number of books and articles looking at Roman Social and Cultural History and in particular Pompei and its environs. She arrived in Swansea in 2004 and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology, specialising in the material culture of Roman Italy, particularly Pompeii and the other cities in the Bay of Naples.
August 31, 2021
A Year in the Life of an Education Officer
Theresa Ogbekhiulu was the education officer at Swansea University from 2019 -2021. During this time, she has worked with colleagues and students in all aspects of university life. As an international student, originally from Nigeria, Theresa came to the UK and to Swansea to begin her higher education journey.  Achieving a first-class degree in Media and Public Relations, Theresa went on to complete her MA in Communications, Media Practice, and Public Relations, before running as Education officer at Swansea Students' Union. As education officer she is a member of a range of committees and has experience working with people from students to senior management and everyone in between, to make sure that Swansea’s student voice is heard. She has been interviewed many times and has made guest appearances in numerous webinars and initiatives during her years at Swansea, so there are lots of topics we could ask her to talk about and I for one could listen to her all day. In this episode, we are focusing on ‘A Year in the Life of the Education Officer’.
August 10, 2021
Challenging times or just an opportunity?
Professor Martin Stringer was born in Tanzania educated in the North of England and currently the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at Swansea University, South West Wales. Martin has been in higher education for just over 20 years and in his own words, he joined the profession, primarily through the love of teaching. He affirms that, the engagement with students, challenging their assumptions, and watching their growth in critical skills and knowledge, continues to give him a buzz. Leaving the University of Birmingham in 2015, Professor Stringer joined Swansea University as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, where he has the massive responsibility for learning and teaching and student experience. He continues to place, increasing student voice and putting students at the centre of all decisions around learning and teaching, and their welfare, at the heart of what he does. The concept of interdisciplinary work and inclusivity is threaded through all the successful projects Martin has been involved in, from his theological work to his responsibilities in his current role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for education at Swansea
July 27, 2021
A pinch of SALT introduction
Welcome to a pinch of SALT, Swansea University's Learning and Teaching podcast, watch this space for our first episode on 27th July 2021!
July 16, 2021