Dr Claire Saunders (BEd Hons, Cantab; MA, The Open University; EdD, The Open University) is a Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor (Education) at The Open University. She is based in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport. Claire is also Director of PRAXIS, the Scholarship and Innovation Centre in the OU's Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, leading on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning across the Faculty.
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. Prior to working in HE, she was a primary school teacher, with a specialism in Primary Literacy, an interest which continues through her current involvement in the OU's Reading for Pleasure (RfP) coalition in the Centre for Literacy and Social Justice.
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.
Conference proposal reviewer for ‘Distance Education: a brave new world?’ (French National Centre for Distance Education and Open University conference, 2022); reviewer for Teaching and Learning Inquiry.
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)
Saunders, C. ‘Changing the conversation: Putting learning at the heart of curriculum design’, Quality Enhancement Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University (2019).
Saunders, C., Groll, A., Bates, S. and Smith, R. (2018). ‘The teacher educator experience: Guardians of the pedagogy’ in Identity and Resistance in Further Education. Bennett, P. and Smith, R. (eds). London: Routledge.
Jessop, T., Saunders C. and Pontin, C. (2018). ‘The challenges of academic development as a first job: Am I doing it right?’ International Journal for Academic Development.
Claire is currently part of the module team on Exploring Perspectives on Young Children's Lives and Learning. She has previously taught on Introduction to Child Psychology and Childhood Studies; Childhood and Supporting Learning in Primary Schools. Claire also contributed a chapter and related online teaching activities on 'Culture' to Making a Difference: Working with Children and Young People.
Claire is one of the co-authors on the free OU course Building Confidence in Using Online Forums as well as a forthcoming OpenLearn course, Appreciative Inquiry for Professional Learning.
One writing group’s story: using an ethnographic case study to investigate the writing practices of academics (2023-09-21)
Studies in Higher Education ([Early Access])
Building a community of writers in a university: An ethnographic study (2020-07-27)
edd thesis The Open University
Building a community of writers in a university (2020)
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University