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Dental Institute

Professor Patricia Reynolds

Patricia Reynolds

Job title

Emeritus Professor of Dental Education

Department/Division

King’s Academy

Dates at King’s

1994 – 2014


Challenges and achievements

When and what was responsible for you becoming interested in your academic discipline?

In 1994, when I was career Maxillofacial Surgeon and responsible for teaching Oral Surgery, I moved from the NHS to Academia. This was mainly to reduce my hours from 120 per week. I  completed a PhD on lasers and was responsible for teaching a major part of the undergraduate dental curriculum. At a postgraduate level I took over the Directorship of Distance Learning. Technology Enhanced Learning was just emerging as a main stream activity and following an online Masters at the Open University, I changed course into innovation in education to be awarded a chair in Dental Education in 2007.

What are your research interests, and what drew you to this area? 

Technology Enhanced Learning is my main research interest. My teaching was clearly enriched by the use of TEL and the students thrived on the affordances of multimedia. The opportunity to innovate and bring in a creative element to an essentially apprentice-like course, was stimulating for staff and students alike. Understanding to role of TEL led to a series of College Teaching awards on topics ranging from serious games to social media. The value of interdisiplinary research was evident, and this extended to international collaborations and research projects. We have held 12 International Innovations in Education Colloquia, now involving 15 countries.

Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding. 

Two large research projects:

  1. IVIDENT (International Virtual Dental School) 2007-2010

    This £2.3 million HEFCE and Department of Health funded project created an open source flexible learning platform that integrates TEL tools, virtual learning environments (VLE) egMoodle and quality assured e-content. With a unique security element IVIDENT created the next generation VLE.  In 2008, IVIDENT won a Medical Futures award.

  2. HapTEL (Haptics in TEL) 2008 – 2012

    The sense of touch is important in dentistry. This ESRC and EPSRC £1.5 million project investigated the technical, educational and curricular influences through robotics for training clinical dental skills.  In 2011 HapTEL won the Medical Futures award.

Do you have professional role models? Who are they and what do you find inspiring about them and their accomplishments?

Dame Margaret Seward – She succeeded against all odds in a male dominated world in Dentistry. However, she still took the time to encourage and inspire students, especially women to triumph in challenging circumstances. She came to my inaugural and gave me a signed book.

Sir Ian Gainsford – As the first Dental Dean to become Dean of the Medical and Dental Schools and then Vice Principal of King’s. His infinite wisdom especially in the political and academic arenas made sure that hurdles were stepped round and not knocked down. As a mentor his wise counsel is still second to none.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of your job at King’s? 

I like sharing the diversity of disciplines, cultures and characters. Having an international profile has been particularly rewarding, both by having overseas students and visiting scholars but also by holding visiting professorships in Perth and Sydney in Australia. The vibrance of the younger generation never ceases to inspire and revive you.

How do you balance the various demands of a career in academia: research, teaching/learning, administration?
  • Dedication and almost military administrative efficiency with attention to detail but never losing the bigger picture. 
  • Knowing when to delegate by good team work and hopefully inspiring leadership.
  • Having solid family support and a strong constitution
  • Never giving up even when all the odds are against you. 
  • Showing courage and fortitude when you believe in your ideas and directions. 
  • I applied to become an Emeritus to focus my areas of activity
How do you balance an academic career with life outside the workplace?
  • By good time management 
  • Having a wonderful global network of colleagues and friends. 
  • Having an active academic role means that you also have many interesting extra-curricular activities
  • Travelling can mix work and play
What have you learnt from your experiences that you would like to share with others?

Believe in yourself, be inspired by others, always behave with dignity, and never give up even against great adversity.

 

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