Dr DAVID SMITH

Dr DAVID SMITH
FRSA

Head of School
Senior Lecturer (Scholarship)

Overview
Dr DAVID SMITH
Dr DAVID SMITH

Contact Details

Telephone
work +44 (0)1224 274589
Email
Address
The University of Aberdeen Room 432 | School of Education | MacRobert Building | King's College | Aberdeen | AB24 5UA | UK
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PA | Lorna Thomson | +44 (0)1224 274611 | lorna.thomson@abdn.ac.uk 
Web Links

Pure Academic Profile | Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE)Twitter | Linkedin


Online Access Courses | English and Maths | On Demand | University of Aberdeen

READY Project | Religious Education and Diversity | Transnational Erasmus Plus Project

Tales of Iona | School of Education | University of Aberdeen

Biography

David is an Educator with a specialism in Religion.  A graduate of the University of Glasgow, UK (BD Hons, First Class); Princeton Theological Seminary, USA (ThM, Peter Marshall Scholar); University of Durham, UK (PhD, AHRC Competition B Award holder); and the University of Edinburgh, UK (PGDE, Distinction), he joined the School of Education in January 2013.

Dr Smith is Head of School of Education where he leads a vibrant multi-departmental School (Faculty) with research and teaching activities which range from: Counselling; Early Years Education; Initial Teacher Education; and Masters-level Professional Learning, such as Mindfulness; through to Doctoral degrees.  He has been Programme Director, and previously Depute Programme Director, of the Initial Teacher Education Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) responsible for PGDE Primary and Secondary | Full-time and Distance Learning Initital Teacher Education (DLITE).  David has pursued a passion for international work, serving as the School's Director of Innovation and Internationalisation - forging and supporting strategic intitatives in China, the Middle East, as well as in the UK.

Dr Smith's research concerns the study of Education and Religion.  David has been involved in a transnational European Erasmus Plus funded exploration of Religious Education and Diversity (READY) - a project which has included school and faith community visits in Austria, England, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, along with discussion concerning the various Education systems.

As Principal Investigator/Team Leader for the Third Sector funded technology-enhanced game-based learning innovation Tales of Iona, Dr Smith and his colleagues, Katrina Foy and Aloyise Mulligan, sought to engage learners across upper-Primary and lower-Secondary school with the religious history of the island of Iona - creating a pedagogical resource for teachers.  This educational game was a finalist at the 2016 International Educational Games Competition | European Conference on Games Based Learning

David joined the University of Aberdeen from Education Scotland (Scottish Government), where he worked as a National Development Officer in the Assessment Team, supporting assessment pedagogy, moderation, and profiling in the new (then) Scottish curriculum - with lead responsibility for Moray, Highland, Orkney, and Shetland Islands.  In Aberdeen City, Dr Smith worked across the city's Primary and Secondary schools for local government as a Curriculum Development Officer for Assessment, Moderation, and Reporting (3-18); prior to which he was Aberdeen City’s Subject Network Leader for Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies (RMPS).

Dr Smith has Full Registration with the General Teaching Council (GTCS) for Scotland in the Secondary Sector, for whom he was a Public Appointee as an Adjudicator on their Fitness to Teach and Registration Panels (2012-2016). 

Daivd taught RMPS at Aberdeen Grammar School (Aberdeen, UK) and at Montrose Academy (Montrose, UK). Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked in the Third Sector, where over several years he led a team to turnaround a struggling charitable company.

Research

Research Interests

Religion and Education

Diversity and identities are two threads which characterise Dr Smith's research interest: a searching for the heterogeneous amidst the seemingly homogenous.  Specifically, his research focus is contextualised within the historical study of religion (in particular, Christianities and Judaisms) through which he has concentrated on heterogeneous early Judaeo-Christian religious phenomena and identities: circumcision as a sine qua non of Jewish identity; constructions of 'sexuality' and boundaries within early Christianities; and early Christian 'magic' and cursing to death, as community identity is in contention within certain early Christian understandings. David's study of early Christianities, and in particular of ancient cursing and magic, is guided by a Religionsgeschichtliche Schule approach.  

Hermeneutical and pedagogical issues arise in the present when contemporary constructions of religion, such as Christianity, are considered in light of their historical origins: fundamental questions emerge concerning Religious Education curricula and pedagogy, and the education of Religious Education student teachers: How can (should?) religious phenomena be interpreted and understood in the past and the present? What might we select/curate to teach, and learn from (?), and how might children and young people be engaged in these experiences?  Dr Smith's current research reflects these interests, as he explores: essentialist presentations of religion by teaching practitioners of Religious Education.

What we teach about, and learn from, religion was the focus of Tales of Iona a game-based learning experience through which David (as PI) and his colleagues Katrina Foy and Aloyise Mulligan sought to engage learners across upper-Primary and lower-Secondary school with the religious history of the island of Iona - creating a pedagogical resource for teachers particularly teachers of Religious Education.  This third sector funded innovation was a finalist at the 2016 International Educational Games Competition | European Conference on Games Based Learning

Current Research

1. Who is teaching RE in England and Scotland? An Empirical Study of English and Scottish Religious Education Teachers in collaboration with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Jo Pearce (UCL Institute of Education): In preparation

2. Essentialist Understandings of Religion and Religious Education |  Lead Researcher | Bad Religion as False Religion in collaboration with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Jo Pearce (UCL Institute of Education). This paper, which was presented at the British Educational Research Association's annual conference (September 2017 | University of Brighton) and the Association of Lecturers of Religious Education annual conference (May 2018 | University of London), explores essentialist understandings of religion in relation to teachers of Religious Education across the UK.  The first of three papers arising from the dataset has now been published by Religions"Bad Religion as False Religion: An Empirical Study of UK Religious Education Teachers' Essentialist Religious Discourse"

Collaborations

Current | International

1. Project Leader, Curriculum Writer, and Visiting International Expert | International Professional Learning Initiative | University of Aberdeen School of Education and Beijing Institute of Education | Chaoyang District, Beijing, China | c. £84K net income-generation | February 2015 - present

Current |  National | UK

1. Who is teaching RE in England and Scotland?  An Empirical Study of English and Scottish Religious Education Teachers | in collaboration with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Jo Pearce (UCL Institute of Education): In preparation

Completed | International

1. Religious Education and Diversity (READY) | CI with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and others across Europe (Austria, England, Germany, Sweden) on this transnational Erasmus Plus European Religious Education and Diversity project | Share of €275,506 - £45,430 | September 2015 - August 2018

2. Project Board Member | University of Aberdeen Middle East Internationalisation Initiative | May 2014 - October 2016

Completed | National | UK

1. Mathematics SCQF 7 Online Access innovation | Partnership development in collaboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals | £10K University of Aberdeen | November 2018 - August 2019

2. University of Aberdeen and Northern Alliance Learning Hub | May 2018 - August 2019 | £91,666

3. Project Leader | Mathematics SCQF 5 Online Access innovation | Partnership development in collaboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals | £29,040K Scottish Government | October 2017 - July 2018

4. Project Leader | English SCQF 6 Online Access innovation | Partnership development in collaboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals | £10K University of Aberdeen | November 2016 - September 2017

5. Project Leader | Mathematics SCQF 6 Online Access innovation | Partnership development in collaboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals | £10K University of Aberdeen | November 2016 - September 2017

4. Principal Investigator | Iona Cathedral Trust Learning and Technology Innovation in collaboration with Katrina Foy (University of Aberdeen) | Aloyise Mulligan (University of Aberdeen) | and Hyper Luminal Games LTD.  www.talesofiona.com | £32.5K Iona Cathedral Trust | October 2014 - September 2016

5. Joint Principal Investigator (with Dr Mhairi Beaton [Education: University of Aberdeen]) | Education Scotland (Scottish Government) national Profiling development in conjunction with Mackie Academy, Aberdeenshire | Profiling in the Senior Phase | £800 Scottish Government | January 2014 - December 2014

Research Grants

International

1. International Professional Learning Initiative | Curriculum Writer and Professional Learning Leader | University of Aberdeen School of Education and Beijing Institute of Education | Chaoyang District, Beijing, China | c. £84K Net income-generation | February 2015 - present

2. Religious Education and Diversity (READY) | CI with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and others across Europe (Austria, England, Germany, Sweden) on this transnational Erasmus Plus European Religious Education and Diversity project | Share of €275,506 - £45,430 | September 2015 - August 2018

National | UK

1. University of Abrerdeen | Mathematics SCQF 7 Online Access innovation | £10K University of Aberdeen | January 2019

2. Northern Alliance Teacher Centre | May 2018 - present | £91,666

3. Scottish Government | SCQF 5 Mathematics Online Access innovation | £29,040 | April 2017

4. University of Aberdeen | SCQF 6 Mathematics Online Access innovation | £10K | November 2016

5. University of Aberdeen | SCQF 6 English Online Access innovation | £10K | November 2016

6. Iona Cathedral Trust | Third Sector Grant | £32.5K | October 2014 - September 2016

7. Farmington Tutor | Farmington Institute | Harris Manchester College, Oxford | Supervision | £1K

8. Education Scotland (Scottish Government) | Scottish Government | £800 | January 2014 - December 2014

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

Session 2019/20

  • MA1 | Global Perspectives on Education (Primary)
  • MA2 | Belief Matters (Primary)
  • MA3 | Professional Focus Elective | Belief in Scotland (Primary)
  • MA4/PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Primary)
  • PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Secondary)
  • Beijing Professional Learning for Teachers Initiative (Primary/Middle/Secondary) | Thinking Skills for Teachers

Session 2018/19

  • MA3 | Professional Focus Elective | Belief in Scotland (Primary)
  • MA4/PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Primary)
  • Beijing Professional Learning for Teachers Initiative (Primary/Middle/Secondary) | Thinking Skills for Teachers

Session 2017/18

  • MA3 | Professional Focus Elective | Belief in Scotland (Primary)
  • PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Secondary)
  • Beijing Professional Learning for Teachers Initiative (Primary/Middle/Secondary) | Thinking Skills for Teachers

Session 2016/17

  • MA3 | Professional Focus Elective: Belief in Scotland (Primary)
  • MA4/PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosohpical Studies (Primary)
  • MA4/PGDE | LGBTIQ Lectures (Primary/Secondary)
  • PGDE | Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Secondary)
  • PGDE | Cross-Cutting Collaboration | Thinking Skills (Secondary)
  • MA4 | School Experience Tutor (Primary)
  • MA4 | School Experience Tutor (Secondary RMPS)
  • Beijing Professional Learning for Teachers Initiative (Primary/Middle/Secondary) | Thinking Skills for Teachers
Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • External Examiner | Secondary Religious Education | University College London, Institute of Education | January 2019 - present
  • External Examiner | Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP) | University College London, Institute of Education and The Institute of Ismaili Studies | December 2017 - present
  • Member | Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) | January 2017 - present
  • External Examiner | PGDE | University of Strathclyde | October 2016 - September 2018
  • Executive Member of Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA) | December 2014 - November 2015
  • Associate Assessor | Higher Education Aspect Reviewer | Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) | Education Scotland | Aspect Review of Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Feb. 2015
  • Public Appointee | General Teaching Council for Scotland | Adjudicating Panel serving on Fitness to Teach and Registration Panels | April 2012 - March 2016

Admin Responsibilities

  • Member | MacRobert (Capital) Programme Board | April 2019 - present
  • Chair | Sustainable Worksteam Steering Group (2040 University Strategy): Academic Size and Shape and Finance | March 2019 - present
  • Member | Sustainable Workstream Steering Group (2040 University Strategy): March 2019 - present
  • Member | University Management Group (UMG) | September 2017 - present
  • Member | University of Aberdeen Senate (Elected and Subsequently Ex Officio) | August 2016 - present
  • University of Aberdeen Mentor | 1 Academic and 1 Administrative colleague | August 2016 - December 2017
  • Acadamic Line Manager (1 Professor; 1 Reader; 1 Senior Lecturer; 4 Lecturers) | October 2015 - present (From August 2017, Line Manager in role as Head of School)
  • Founding Member and Policy Representative | University of Aberdeen LGBT Staff Network | January 2015 - July 2017

Supervision

  1. PhD Supervision: Mindfulness: Nov. 2018-present (Susan Brimmer).
  2. PhD Supervision: Mindfulness: Oct. 2018-present (Gill Crossland-Thackray).
  3. PhD Supervision: Mindfulness: Self-Compassion for Adolescents: The Role of Education in Scotland, Sept. 2017-present (Heather Grace Bond).

Supervision (Completed)

  1. PhD Supervision: Education and Looked-After Children (Jacinta Birchley).
  2. MSc Work-based Project Supervision: Education, Poverty, and Parental Involvement, Oct. 2018 (Katrina Cuthbertson).
  3. MSc Work-based Project: Mindfulness: Oracle or Guide: What Qualities do Leaders believe support them to engage their employees during a time of significant organisational change? May 2017 (Susan Brimmer).
  4. MSc Work-based Project: Mindfulness: Oct. 2016 (Gill Crossland-Thackray).
  5. MSc Work-based Project Supervision: Pupil responses to the Certification of core RMPS: Jun. 2016 (Stephen Reid).
  6. MSc Work-based Project: Mindfulness: Jun. 2016 (Alison Fielding).

Leadership Responsibilities

  • Project Lead  Aberdeenshire Secondary Incentive Scheme for Teaching (ASIST) | Jan. 2019-July 2019
  • Project Lead | Online Access Advanced Learning SCQF 7 | February 2018 - present
  • Project Lead | University of Aberdeen and Northen Alliance Learning Hub | May 2018-August 2019
  • Head of School of Education | September 2017 - present (Sept. 2017 - Dec. 2017: Acting)
  • Project Lead | Online Access Mathematics SCQF 5 | October 2017 - July 2018
  • Deputising Head of School | November 2016 | December 2016 | April 2017 | May 2017
  • Project Lead | Online Access Mathematics SCQF 6 | November 2016 - Sept. 2017
  • Project Lead | Online Access English SCQF 6 | November 2016 - Sept. 2017
  • School of Education Executive Committee Member | September 2015 - July 2017
  • Director of Innovation and Internationalisation (School of Education) | August 2015 - September 2017
  • Project Leader, Curriculum Writer, and Visiting Expert | International Professional Learning Initiative | University of Aberdeen School of Education and Beijing Institute of Education | Chaoyang District, Beijing, China | February 2015 - present
  • Programme Director | Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE: Primary and Secondary; Full-time and Distance [DLITE]) | March 2014 - July 2016
  • School of Education Coordinating Committee Member (Precursor to School Executive) | November 2013 - July 2015
  • Deputy Programme Director of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE: Primary and Secondary) and Master of Arts (MA), Learning, Teaching, Assessment | June 2013 - February 2014
  • Co-leader Assessment: MA/PGDE Programmes | February 2013 - July 2013

International Academic and Professional Activity

  • 24-26 Jul. 2019: International Invited Expert: Developing Critical Thinking through Classroom Practice: Baijaizhuang Primary School, Huijinyuan Campus, Beijing, China. 94.35% positive feedback across 10 feedback criteria with 32 participants.
  • 21-23 Jul. 2019: International Invited Expert: Developing Critical Thinking through Classroom Practice: Baijaizhuang Primary School, Sanlitun Campus, Beijing, China.  99.95% positive feedback across 10 feedback criteria with 40 participants.
  • 18-20 Jul 2019: International Invited Expert: Developing Critical Thinking through Classroom Practice: Baijaizhuang Primary School, Sanlitun Campus, Beijing, China.  99.95% positive feedback across 10 feedback criteria with 42 participants
  • 15-17 Jul. 2019: International Invited Expert: Developing Critical Thinking through Classroom Practice: Baijaizhuang Primary School, Wangjing Campus, Beijing, China.  100% positive feedback across 10 feedback criteria with 38 participants.
  • 23-27 Jul. 2018: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: Bai Jai Zhuang Primary School, Wangjing, Beijing, China.  100% positive feedback across 10 feedback criteria with 35 participants
  • 26-30 Mar. 2018: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: Dream Box, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 27-31 Aug. 2017: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: No.1 Middle School Affiliated to CCNU Chaoyang School, Yaojiayuan Road No. 95, Fanhai International Community, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 21-25 Aug. 2017: International Invited Expert with Dr Graeme Nixon (Aberdeen): Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: No.1 Middle School Affiliated to CCNU Chaoyang School, Yaojiayuan Road No. 95, Fanhai International Community, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 19-23 Jul. 2017: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: Beijaizhuang Elementary School Er Branch School, Wangjing West Park, Science Park 1 Unit Building No. 117, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 13-17 Jul. 2017: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: Beijaizhuang Elementary School, Sanlitun South Road No.40, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 16-20 Jun. 2017: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: High School Attached to Beijing University of Technology, Yingpangou Road No. 8, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
  • 09-13 Jun. 2017: International Invited Expert with Dr Graeme Nixon (Aberdeen): Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking for Teachers: Chenjinglun Middle School, Chaoyang Outer Street No. 8, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 28 May-03 Jun 2017: Erasmus Plus Grant Funded Religious Education and Diversity Transnational Meeting: Staatliches Seminar für Didaktik und Lehrerbildung Gymnasien Tübingen, Germany
  • 23-24 May 2017: eTwinning Evaluation: Teacher Training Workshop: Brussels, Belgium
  • 23-29 Apr. 2017: Erasmus Plus Grant Funded Religious Education and Diversity Transnational Meeting: University of Karlstad, Sweden
  • 31 Oct.-04 Nov. 2016: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills for Teachers: Beijing Institute of Education: Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 24-28 Oct. 2016: International Invited Expert with Dr Kirsten Darling-McQuistan: Thinking Skills for Teachers: Beijing Institute of Education: Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 18 Oct.-20 Oct. 2016: Erasmus Plus Grant Funded Religious Education and Diversity Transnational Meeting: The University College of Teacher Education Vienna/Krems (KPH), Vienna, Austria
  • 28 Mar.-01 Apr. 2016: International Invited Expert: Beijing Institute of Education, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 21 Mar.-25 Mar. 2016: International Invited Expert with Prof. Do Coyle: Beijing Institute of Education, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 16 Dec.-19 Dec. 2015: Erasmus Plus Grant Funded Religious Education and Diversity Transnational Meeting: Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
  • 25 Oct.-30 Oct. 2015: International Invited Expert: Thinking Skills for Teachers: Beijing Institute of Education: Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 18-23 Oct. 2015: International Invited Expert with Prof. Do Coyle: Thinking Skills for Teachers: Beijing Institute of Education: Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 02 Sept.-04 Sept. 2015: Erasmus Plus Funded Religious Education and Diversity Transnational Meeting: Comenius-Institut, Muenster, Germany
  • 10-13 Aug. 2014: Exploratory iPGDES Discussions with Profs Margaret Ross, Do Coyle, and Bahraini investors: Manama, Bahrain
  • 02-06 Jul. 2014 Erasmus Plus Grant-bid European Planning Meeting: Zürich, Switzerland

Professional Memberships

  • Member | British Education Research Association (BERA)
  • Member | Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA)
  • Member | American Academy of Religion (AAR)
  • Elected Member | Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland's | April 2013 - September 2018 (Now Emeritus)
  • Fellow | Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (The RSA) February 2007 - present

Professional Learning

  • The Future of Teacher Recruitment, Training and Retention Conference 2019 | Government Events | 27 February 2019
  • Leadership and Management | Level 7 Diploma by Executive Coaching | Institute of Leadership and Management | October 2018 - present
  • 2 hour Coaching Session: International Leadership Development Programme: Elementa Leadership | May 2018
  • International Leadership Development Programme | Student Experience and Transnational Education | Curtin University, WA, Australia | January 2018
  • Legal Aspects of Management; Unconscious Bias as Work: Head of School Development Programme: Pinsent Masons | November 2017 
  • Managing Performance Effectively: Head of School Development Programme: Pinsent Masons | November 2017
  • Managing Ill-Health, Absence, and Disability: Head of School Development Programme: Pinsent Masons | November 2017
  • Family-Friendly Rights: Head of School Development Programme: Pinsent Masons | November 2017
  • Managing Changes to Terms and Conditions; Redundancy: Head of School Development Programme: Pinsent Masons | November 2017
  • Adopting a Different Approach to Equality and Diversity in Higher Education: Diversity by Design | November 2017
  • 2 hour Coaching Session (360 discussion): International Leadership Development Programme: Elementa Leadership | October 2017
  • The Strategic and Organisational Context: International Leadership Development Programme: Elementa Leadership | September 2017
  • Finance Session: International Leadership Development Programme: Elementa Leadership | September 2017
  • International Leadership Development Programme: Elementa Leadership and University of Aberdeen | August 2017 - present
  • Academic Line Management: Organisational Responsibilities: University of Aberdeen | January 2017
  • Unconscious Bias Training: Challenge Consultancy Ltd. | September 2016
  • Coaching Skills for Managers: University of Aberdeen | May 2016
  • Level 5 Award in LEAN for Higher Education: Institute of Leadership and Management: University of Aberdeen | April 2016
  • Finance and Budgets: University of Aberdeen | December 2015
  • Essential HR for Line Managers: University of Aberdeen | November 2015
  • Academic Line Management Organisational Responsibility: University of Aberdeen | November 2015
  • Associate Assessor Training, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education: Education Scotland | November 2015
  • Line Management Expectation Setting: University of Aberdeen | October 2015
  • Adjudicating Panel Training: General Teaching Council for Scotland | September 2015
  • Education for All: Stonewall Scotland, Edinburgh | May 2015
  • Associate Assessor Training, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education: Education Scotland | January 2015
  • Adjudicating Panel Training: General Teaching Council for Scotland | May 2013
  • Protecting Information: Levels 1 and 2: National School of Government | Feburary 2012
  • Level 5 Award in Leadership: Institute of Leadership and Management | March 2011
Publications

Publications 

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