Personal profile

Research overview

Paula is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience. She has extensive experience lecturing and coordinating courses in New Zealand, Canada, and Scotland. Paula is currently leading the University's QAA's Enhancement Topic - a Scotland-wide initiative to improve the learning experience of students in higher education. Paula sits on the University's Student Experience Strategic Management Group and was a member of the University’s Mental Health Task Force and the Mental Health Advisory Board. 

 

If you would like to meet with Paula to chat about learning, teaching (or New Zealand) please email her at pjm11@st-andrews.ac.uk.

 

Paula's broad area of research is educational psychology. Her current work focusses on factors that influence the student experience at university. This includes: 1) assessing the effectiveness of different teaching styles; 2) investigating student wellbeing, particularly across transitional stages (secondary school to university, undergraduate to postgraduate); 3) academic integrity (good academic practice and academic misconduct) as understood by students and staff; and 4) investigating students' learning and social experiences during the pandemic. Paula's recent work has extended to also investigate university staff wellbeing and some work based in the schooling system (e.g., identity and confidence of physics high school teachers and educating primary school pupils with interdisciplinary approaches such as combining astronomy and music).

 

Paula currently supervises one PhD student, who is investigating the following topic:

  • Teaching and Learning at the University of St Andrews: What do we believe about the nature of teaching and learning in higher education, and are those beliefs reflected in our practices? (J. Taylorson)

Paula's previous PhD students have investigated the following topics:

  • Physics social identity, the gender gap and approaches to learning (E. Bottomley)
  • As easy as ABC? A novel psychological approach to modelling teacher agency: the influence of affective, behavioural and (meta) cognitive factors (K. Porter)

Projects from former institutions

Paula has a research background in educational and developmental Psychology.  Examples of previous research areas include: reducing disruptive and aggressive behaviours in children and adolescents; drug education; bullying in schools; coeducational versus single-sex schooling; and spelling strategies used by children. Paula was also the lab manager for a cognitive/clinical neuroscience unit where studies were carried out using electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) techniques.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

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