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Dr Claire Saunders


Dr Claire Saunders

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Claire Saunders (BEd Hons, Cantab; MA, The Open University; EdD, The Open University) is a Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean, Students and Teaching in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS). 

Claire has worked in Higher Education for 15 years, supporting new and practising teachers in both FE and HE, including leadership of the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Solent University. From 2020-2023 Claire was the Director of Praxis (Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in WELS) and is active in national and international Scholarship of Teaching and Learning networks. She is co-lead of the ISSOTL International Collaborative Writing Group, 'Reflecting and Reinvigorating: The Past Present and Future of ISSOTL'.


Research interests

Claire's doctoral thesis was entitled, 'Building a community of learners in a university: An ethnographic study' and investigated the role of a writing group in developing the academic writing practices of lecturers in a teaching-led university. Her ongoing research interests relate to the ways in which universities can build sustainable writing cultures. Claire also regularly leads writing workshops and retreats for colleagues, helping them to explore the writing process and to develop practices that support their writing and research.

Claire's research interests also include using appreciative inquiry approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, with a current research project entitled, 'Putting scholarship to work: Taking an appreciative approach to developing practice'.

Conference contributions

Saunders, C. and Powis, B. ‘Breaking the code: an academic literaciesapproach to building student’s reading and writing capability’, Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Spring Conference, Belfast (2019).

Jessop, T. and Saunders, C. ‘Curriculum as counter-narrative: co-constructing a framework for personal knowing’, Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Autumn Conference, Birmingham (2018).

Jessop, T. and Saunders, C. ‘Old and new hands at academic development: Bringing the student heartbeat closer to the action’, International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Bergen, Norway (2018).

Saunders, C. and Jessop, T. ‘The writer’s banquet: Creating space for teaching-focused academics to write’, International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Bergen, Norway (2018).

Jessop, T. and Saunders, C. ‘The unexamined curriculum is not worth knowing (apologies to Socrates)’, International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Bergen, Norway (2018)

Invited lectures

Saunders, C. ‘Changing the conversation: Putting learning at the heart of curriculum design’, Quality Enhancement Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University (2019).

Teaching interests

Claire was part of the module team on Exploring Perspectives on Young Children's Lives and Learning, including active invovlement in the module remake during 2022/23. She has previously taught on two Childhood modules and contributed a chapter and related online teaching activities on 'Culture' to Making a Difference: Working with Children and Young People.

Claire is a co-author on the free OU courses An Appreciative Approach to Inquiry and Building Confidence in Using Online Forums


One writing group’s story: using an ethnographic case study to investigate the writing practices of academics (2023)
Saunders, Claire
Studies in Higher Education ([Early Access])

The challenges of academic development as a first graduate job: 'am I doing it right?' (2019)
Jessop, Tansy; Saunders, Claire and Pontin, Christel
International Journal for Academic Development, 24(4) (pp. 317-329)

The teacher educator experience: "Guardians of the pedagogy"? (2018-09-27)
Groll, Anne; Bates, Sandi; Saunders, Claire and Smith, Rob
In: Bennett, Pete and Smith, Rob eds. Identity and Resistance in Further Education
ISBN : 9780367376796 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Building a community of writers in a university: An ethnographic study (2020-07-27)
Saunders, Claire
edd thesis The Open University

Who are our Education Studies (Primary) concurrent students? (2021-11)
Gallastegi, Lore; Cooke, Carolyn; Saunders, Claire; Addison-Pettit, Paula; Tope, Clare; McPhilemy, Roisin; Henry, Fiona; Moore, Lorraine; Reddin, Mandy and Delsoldato, Jill
PRAXIS, Open University

Building a community of writers in a university (2020)
Saunders, Claire
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University