Director of the King's Learning Institute
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 3329
Room 6.14, James Clerk Maxwell Building,
57 Waterloo Road,
London, SE1 8WA
Professor Paul Blackmore joined King’s College London in November 2007 as Professor of Higher Education and Director of King's Learning Institute. Before this he established and directed a Centre for Academic Practice at the University of Warwick from 1995 for over ten years before becoming Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Coventry University. Paul established a national Standing Conference on Academic Practice (SCAP)in 1996, a group with a shared interest in a holistic view of academic expertise.Paul teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and Masters in Clinical Pedagogy (MA Clin Ped) programmes and is also a PhD supervisor.
I have had a fairly varied teaching experience in secondary, further and higher education. In addition, I have had the opportunity to observe hundreds of colleagues at work in almost every field of teaching, from philosophy to practical leadwork, and to talk with them about what they are doing and why. The most impressive teaching I have seen was certainly not my own. I observed a lecturer in visual arts, working with a non-specialist group, teaching them to understand paintings by showing them examples. He drew out of the group far more than they realised they knew, by gently pointing out ways of looking and by asking good questions.
In the areas in which I now teach, which generally have to do with professional expertise in higher education, especially in relation to leadership, there is a need to bring theory and practice together. Good teaching usually starts from where people are, partly because we all learn better if we can see a reason for doing so. However, the pooling of experience may not always produce deeper insight. For me, this means participants need to be offered ways into a field of study, through frameworks and models and through consideration of key ideas. I am personally strongly interested in powerful ideas that seem to have some explanatory power. However, these will probably have little meaning unless they can be used to illuminate participants’ own experience.
It is also about critiquing those ideas – nothing should be taken for granted. Inevitably, this process complicates matters. A paradox of learning is that one may become less certain as one learns more. This can be an uncomfortable feeling, and part of the job of teaching is to help manage that aspect, to help participants move to the point where they can articulate a reasoned position, whilst being aware of he limits and the contestability of that position.
Increasingly, my teaching is in areas in which I research. This is helpful to me because a very valuable way of checking one’s ideas is to see whether they can be made meaningful to others. Participants also come with a vast range of experiences in different contexts, all of which helps to enrich my own understanding of the complex relationships between an idea and “reality”.
The book I have recommended most often over many years is Gareth Morgan’s “Images of Organization”, which I have always liked for its multi-perspective view of organizations.
Research - King's Research Profile
Paul’s research expertise is in the conceptualisation and exploration of professional expertise, including its social dimensions, particularly leadership roles in academic settings. He has published widely in the field. In 2003 he co-edited “Towards Strategic Staff Development”, exploring ways in which development in all its forms could be effective at a strategic level. He has in the last several years completed a Leadership Foundation-funded research project that maps approaches to development in institutions in the UK and a Higher Education Academy-funded study of the professional learning of course and module leaders in Higher Education. More recently, Paul has led two Leadership Foundation-funded projects on interdisciplinary leadership and on academic motivation, exploring the idea of prestige economies.
Paul has recently led a major HEFCE-funded study of strategic curriculum change. A book on curriculum change, co-authored with Camille Kandiko, is in preparation for publication early in 2012.
Publications - Full publications (pdf, 90KB)
Blackmore, P. & Kandiko, C.B. (2011b) Motivation in academic life: A prestige economy, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 16 (4), 399-411.
Blackmore, P. & Kandiko, C.B. (2011a) Interdisciplinarity within an academic career, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 16 (1), 123-134.
Blackmore, P. & Kandiko, C. B. (2010) Interdisciplinary leadership and learning. in M. Davies, M. Devlin and M. Tight (Eds), Interdisciplinary Higher Education, International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 5. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Amsterdam; New York: JAI Elsevier Press.
Blackmore, P. (2009) Conceptions of development in higher education institutions, Studies in Higher Education 34(6).
Presentations - Full presentations (pdf, 75KB)
Blackmore, P. (2011) Keynote Speaker, 21st century curricula in research-intensive universities, North-East Universities Learning and Teaching Conference, 14 April, University of Northumbria, UK
Blackmore, P. (2010) Invited Speaker, A curriculum for the 21st century, 20 October, Durham University, UK
Blackmore, P. (2010) Invited Speaker, Academic Leadership, 23 November, Ministry of Education, Tokyo, Japan
Blackmore, P. (2010) Invited Speaker, Academic Leadership, 27 November, Ehime University, Japan