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PhD, CPsychol, FHEA, AFBPS
Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
+44 (0)1865 482584
Marston Road Site
I returned to Oxford Brookes University as a Senior Lecturer in the summer of 2016, having received my doctorate here in 2007.
Broadly speaking, my research focuses on understanding the factors that support or hinder our development and ability to thrive.
In 2018 I was awarded a Brookes Teaching Excellence Fellowship for my work on supporting learners from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and for engaging students as researchers in vocational disciplines
In 2018 I became a Brookes Teaching Excellence Fellow for my work on supporting learners from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and for engaging students as researchers in vocational disciplines
Human Growth and Development 1 and 2 (U48800 and U48801), module leader.
Applied research methods (P40306), module leader
Research methods and analysis (U43744)
Vulnerable children (P45004), module leader
Evidence informed interventions in child welfare and well being (P45001), module leader.
Academic advisor and dissertation/research project supervisor for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Other teaching-related activities
Winner 'Best Academic Advisor' 2018 in the Student Union led teaching awards
Team member of two Projects for Enhancing the Student Experience (PESE projects): 'Learning Analytics' and 'Diversifying the curriculum'
Contributor to the PESE project: Get Published!
External Examiner for Staffordshire University (2016- )
I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students who would like to work broadly within of my areas of interest in Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social Work, Children and Families, and Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Specific topics may include resilience in social workers, well being of looked-after children, development of fantasy and creativity, and the student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Please see 'Research' for more information.
My current research falls broadly within the areas of Educational and Developmental Psychology.
Current projects are as follows:
Impact of engaging in fantasy on creative performance in children and adults (collaboration with Dr Jacqueline Woolley, University of Texas at Austin, and Dr Elizabeth Boerger, Slippery Rock University, and The Science Museum, London).
Building resilience in health and social care students and professionals (collaboration with Jill Childs, Dr Adam Lonsdale and Dr Naomi King).
The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its impacts on students' atttitudes and behaviours towards studying.
Understanding barriers to engagement and academic success among black and minority ethnic students (collaboration with Dr Naomi King, Sinitta Saran, and Nabeela Talib)
Assessing the subjective wellbeing of looked-after children (collaboration with Oxford County Council and Oxford University REES Centre for Fostering and Education research).
Understanding the electric vehicle driver's experience - a users perspective (collaboration with Prof. Margaret Harris, Dr Mark Burgess, and Dr Naomi King).
Museum visitors' perspectives of museum objects (collaboration with Oxford University Museum of Natural History)
Children's understanding of the fantasy-reality distinction (collaboration with Prof. Margaret Harris, Prof. Paul Harris, Harvard)
Children and Families
Academic Enhancements and Standards
2018: Action for Children: Evidence review of mental health and the early years in the UK, with Prof. Jane Appleton and Sarah Howcutt (£8,000)
2017: Oxford Brookes University Teaching and Learning Project Scheme, Supporting engagement and academic success in BME students (£3,000)
2016: Oxford Brookes University, Building academic success and resilience in social work students using a self-determination theory approach (with Jill Childs and Adam Lonsdale) (£5,000)
2016: British Psychological Society, Undergraduate Research Assistantship. The impact of engaging in fantasy on cognition in children and adults (£1,600)
2015: The University of Winchester Learning and Teaching Award: Staff perceptions of the student-as-consumer approach in Higher Education and implications for pedagogy (£2,000)
2014: Developmental Section of the British Psychological Society, International Collaboration Scheme (£1,500)
2013: Cognitive Development Society, Conference Travel Award ($100)
2011: British Academy, Overseas Conference Travel Grant (£500)
2011: Society for Research in Child Development, Early Career Travel Award ($500)
2010: British Academy, Small Research Grant with Prof. Westermann. Young children's understanding of the fantasy/reality distinction: Perceptual or conceptual processing? (£7150)
2009: British Academy, Overseas Conference Travel Grant (£500)
My research in the media
Background. The marketisation of higher education (HE), which positions students as consumers and academics as service providers, may adversely affect students’ motivation for learning and academics’ motivation for teaching. According to self-determination theory (SDT), high-quality forms of motivation are achieved when individuals experience fulfilment of three psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Aims. This study applied SDT to examine academics’ perceptions of whether the marketized HE context in England, UK, supported or undermined these three psychological needs for their students and for themselves. It also examined their perceptions of the impact that this context had on their teaching. Sample. Participants were 10 academics teaching at five post-1992 higher education institutions in England, UK. Method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and subsequently analyzed using thematic analysis. Results. Academics observed that students identifying as consumers seemed to display lower levels of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. This contributed to an HE environment that diminished the academics’ own psychological needs. Although some felt able to improve student motivation through their teaching, others felt demotivated and disempowered by top-down pressure from managers and bottom-up pressure from students. Conclusions. The marketized HE context may undermine high-quality motivation for students’ learning and academics’ teaching. Academics should be supported to teach in ways that facilitate competence, autonomy, and relatedness in their students and themselves.
The marketization of higher education and focus on graduate employability and earnings data has raised questions about how students perceive their roles and responsibilities while studying for their degree. Of particular concern is the extent to which students identify themselves as consumers of their higher education, for example, whether they view their degree as a purchasable commodity to improve future earnings. This is because research has found that a stronger consumer identity is related to lower academic performance. This study examined whether this relation could be explained by the impact of a consumer identity on the extent to which students adopt deep, surface or strategic approaches to learning. The hypotheses were that the relation between consumer identity and academic performance would be mediated by approaches to learning, whereby a consumer identity would be related to adopting a more surface approach, a less deep approach and less strategic approach. Undergraduates completed an online questionnaire that assessed the extent to which they identified as a consumer, their approaches to learning and academic performance. The analysis partly supported the hypotheses: a stronger consumer identity was related to a more surface approach to learning. However, a surface approach to learning did not mediate the relation between consumer identity and academic performance. Conversely, a deep approach to learning mediated the relation between consumer identity and academic performance, whereby a stronger consumer identity was related to lower academic performance through its negative impact on a deep approach to learning. There was no relation between consumer identity and strategic approach to learning. Implications of students identifying themselves as consumers of their higher education are discussed.
Social workers in the UK experience higher levels of burnout compared with other healthcare professionals, making it important to understand how they can develop resilience to protect themselves from psychological distress. The current study aimed to deepen our understanding of the psychological predictors of resilience, which include emotional intelligence, reflective ability, social competence, and empathy, using self-determination theory. This theory suggests that fulfilment of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness will support resilience and protect against distress. We expected these needs to explain additional variance in resilience and distress beyond other emotional and social competencies. Analysis of questionnaire data from 211 social work students in the UK provided partial support for these hypotheses. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness were significantly positively correlated with resilience, and hierarchical regression analysis revealed that they explained somewhat more variance in resilience than previous factors alone (p=.06). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness explained significantly more variance than previous factors alone in psychological distress, although only autonomy and competence correlated with less psychological distress. Unexpectedly, relatedness correlated with more psychological distress. Furthermore, resilience played a mediating role between key variables and psychological distress. Implications for supporting the development of resilience in social work students are discussed.
The UK government has made substantial investments in electric transport as a potential means of reducing CO2 emissions (DoECC, 2012). This paper investigates responses to recharging plug-in battery electric vehicles from the perspective of electric vehicle (EV) drivers. Drivers in the UK Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle trial (n = 135, 29% female, M = 47 years) completed questionnaires and were interviewed to assess their attitudes and experiences before they obtained their EV and after driving the EV for 3 months. The results demonstrated that drivers were positive about recharging – preferring it to ‘refuelling’ – and they became more relaxed over time about the frequency of recharging. Drivers managed without using a public charging infrastructure although such an infrastructure may be desirable to promote EV use. Finally, there was an interesting difference in drivers’ awareness of the environmental impact of driving and recharging an EV before and after the trial in relation to CO2 emissions and the energy cycle. The results are discussed in relation to the implications for developing the future EV market.
Bunce discusses the impact of students being defined as ‘consumers’ of their higher education. The chapter first considers when and why students came to be defined as consumers in England and Wales, UK, and then reflects upon the advantages and disadvantages associated with treating students as consumers of their education. This discussion includes the perspectives of both students and academic staff, and reviews empirical evidence about the effects of students themselves identifying as consumers on their approaches to learning and academic performance. The chapter concludes with a summary of the challenges for universities when listening to the student as consumer voice and emphasises the importance of striking a balance between making students feel heard, while resisting the notion that ‘the customer is always right’.
Bunce, L., Lockley, S., Palmer, S., & Woolley, J. D., (under review) Engaging in pretend worlds and creative thinking in childhood: A closer look
Bunce, L., & King, N., (under review) Degrees of motivation: Academics' perceptions of approaches to learning in undergraduate student 'consumers'.
Bunce, L. (under review). Still life? Children’s understanding of the reality status of museum taxidermy
Bunce, L., & Bennett, M., (under review) A degree of studying? Approaches to learning among undergraduate student ‘consumers’
Bunce, L., Bennett, M., & Jones, S. (under review) Social identity processes in undergraduates’ course (dis)satisfaction, approaches to learning, and academic performance
Joseph-Green, H. & Bunce, L. (Spring, 2017) To imagination and beyond…my experience as a BPS research assistant. Developmental Psychology Forum, British Psychological Society, 85, 16-17.
Bunce, L. (2016) Appreciation of authenticity promotes curiosity: implications for object-based learning in museums. Journal of Museum Education, 43(1), 230-239.
Bunce, L., Baird, A,. & Jones, S. (2016) The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Studies in Higher Education (open access)
Baird, A. & Bunce, L. (2016) To what extent do undergraduates perceive themselves as learners or consumers? ALFRED, 5, 8-15
Stansfield, J. & Bunce, L. (2014) The relationship between empathy and reading fiction: separate roles for cognitive and affective components. Journal of European Psychology Students 5(3), 9-18.
Bunce, L. & Harris, P. L. (2014) Authenticity and ontological status in children’s judgments of reality.Cognitive Development, 32, 110-119 (doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2014.10.001)(open access)
Bunce, L., Burgess, M. & Harris, M. (2014) Charge up then charge out? Drivers’ perceptions and experiences of electric vehicles in the UK. Transportation Research, Part A, 59, 278-287.
Bunce, L. & Harris, M. (2013) “He’s not real because he hasn’t got the real tool kit” Young children’s reasoning about real/not-real status. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1494-1504. (doi: 10.1037/a0030608)
Bunce, L. & Harris, M. (2008) “I saw the real Father Christmas!” Children’s everyday uses of the words real, really, and pretend. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, 445-455
Recent Conference Presentations
Bunce, L. and King, N. (2018) Academics’ perception of attitudes towards learning inundergraduate student 'consumers': a self-determination theory approach. Talk at the British Psychological Society Education Section Annual Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L., King, N., Saran, S., & Talib, S. (2018) Understanding the psychologicalneeds of black and minority ethnic students at university. Talk at the British Psychological Society Education Section Annual Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L. & Bennett, M. (2018) A degree of studying? Approaches to learning and academicperformance among undergraduate student ‘consumers’. Talk at the British Psychological Society Education Section Annual Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L., King, N., Saran, S., & Talib, S. (2018) Inclusive learning and teaching practices toenhance academic achievement for black and minority ethnic students in social work. Talk at Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference, Canterbury.
Bunce, L. (2018) Research-informed practice? How to co-produce research with social workstudents in the classroom. Talk at Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference, Canterbury.
Bunce, L., Lonsdale, A., King, N., Childs, J. & Bennie, R. (2018) Emotional intelligence and self-determined behaviour reduce psychological distress: Interactions with resilience in social work students in the UK. Talk at Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference, Canterbury.
Bunce, L., King, N., Saran, S., Sheriff, M., & Talib, S. (2018) Understanding the psychologicalneeds of black and minority ethnic students at university. Talk at the British Psychological Society Division of Academics, Researchers, and Teachers in Psychology Inaugural Annual Conference, Birmingham.
Bunce, L. & King, N. (2018) How do academics respond to student ‘consumers’? An explorationusing self-determination theory. Talk at the British Psychological Society Division of Academics, Researchers, and Teachers in Psychology Inaugural Annual Conference, Birmingham.
Bunce, L., King, N., Saran, S., Sheriff, M., Talib, S., & Bell, J. (2018) Learning and teaching toenhance academic achievement among black and minority ethnic students. Talk at Oxford Brookes University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L. (2018) Perception of value for money and educational engagement in undergraduatestudents. Talk at Oxford Brookes University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L., King, N., Saran, S., Childs, J., Sheriff, M. (2018) Understanding the psychologicalneeds of black and minority ethnic social work students at university. Poster presentation, International Social Work Conference, Rwanda.
Bunce, L., Lonsdale, A., King, N., Childs, J. & Bennie, R. (2018) Resilience and psychologicalwellbeing in social work students: supporting social work education in challenging times. Talk at the International Social Work Conference, Rwanda.
Bunce, L. (2017) Learner and consumer identities in undergraduate students: Are there developmental changes in predictive factors that are affected by year of study? Talk at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Developmental Conference, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Bunce, L., Childs, J., Lonsdale, A., King, N. (2017) Enhancing academic success and resilience in Social Work students: An application of self-determination theory.Talk at the 28th International Networking for Healthcare Education Conference, Cambridge.
Bunce, L., & Bennett, M. (2017) “I’m paying £9,000”: Student ‘consumers’, approaches to learning, and academic performance. Talk at Oxford Brookes University, Annual Leaning and Teaching Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L., Saran, S., King, N., Childs, J., & Sesay, K. (2017) “You’ve got to be twice as good” Understanding barriers to academic success among black and minority ethnic students. Poster at Oxford Brookes University, Annual Leaning and Teaching Conference, Oxford.
Bunce, L., Childs, J., Lonsdale, A., et al., (2017) Building academic success and resilience in social work students: An application of self-determination theory. Talk at the 19th International Conference on Social Work, Paris.
Bunce, L. & Bennett, M. (2017). “I’m paying £9,000”: Student ‘consumers’, approaches to learning, and academic performance. Talk at the Higher Education Academy, Surveys for Enhancement Annual Conference, Manchester.
Bunce, L., Joseph-Green, H., Boerger, E., & Woolley, J. (2017). Reading unrealistic storybooks and their impact on children’s creative problem solving abilities. Poster at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Brighton.
Bunce, L. & Bennett, M. (2017) Give me what I need to pass: Approaches to learning and academic performance among undergraduate student ‘consumers’. Talk at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Brighton.
Jackson, M., Woolley, J., & Bunce, L. (2017) The effect of medium on children’s ability to learn and judge the reality status of a novel animal. Poster at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX.
Bunce, L., Palmer, S., Lockley, S., Boerger, E., & Woolley, J. D., (2017) Imagining the impossible and the development of creative abilities. Poster at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX.
Bunce, L., Palmer, S., Lockley, S., Boerger, E., Woolley, J. (2016) Engaging in fantasy worlds in childhood benefits some types of creative thinking. Talk at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Developmental Conference, Belfast.
Bunce, L., Bennett, M., Jones, S. (2016) The student-as-consumer approach in HE and its effects on academic performance. Higher Education Conference, Amsterdam.
Bunce, L. (2016) Authentic objects promote curiosity: Implications for object-based museum learning Visitor Studies Group Annual Conference, London.
Bunce, L. (2015) Exploring the implications of student identities for teaching and learning. Invited keynote speaker, Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Winchester, Winchester.
Bunce, L. and Baird, A. (2015) Learners or consumers? Undergraduate student identities. Symposium presentation at the Annual Research and Knowledge Exchange Conference, University of Winchester.
Baird, A. & Bunce, L. (2015) To what extent do students perceive themselves as learners or consumers of higher education? Poster presentation at the British Conference for Undergraduate Research, Hampshire.
Bunce, L. (2015) Reality status and museum worthy judgments in museums of natural history. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA.
Bunce, L. (2014) “I saw the real Father Christmas!” How do we develop an understanding of what is real? Presentation at the 5th Workshop of the Experimental Philosophy Group, UK, University of Oxford.
Bunce, L. & Harris, P. (2014) Is it real? The development of judgments about ontological status and authenticity. Poster presentation at the Developmental Section Conference of the British Psychological Society, Amsterdam.
Bunce, L. (2014) Children’s understanding of museum taxidermy. Presentation at the Developmental Section Conference of the British Psychological Society, Amsterdam.
Bunce, L. (2014) Perceptions of authenticity in museums of natural history. Invited speaker at an ESRC funded seminar series entitled Keep it real, keep it relevant, Natural History Museum, London.
Bunce, L. (2014) ‘Is it real?’ Children’s perception of taxidermy and implications for learning in natural history museums. Poster presentation at Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference, Kings College, London.
Bunce, L. (2014) Is it real? Learning to navigate reality. Invited speaker at a workshop entitled Animated Objects in Make-Believe, Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature Research Project, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds.
Shaw, S., Bunce, L. & Kotttasz, R. (2014) Recommendations to inform the setting up of regional e-mobility information centres. E- Mobility NSR, Workload Package 6.8
Shaw, S. & Bunce, L. (2014) Mapping public and private gaps in the electric vehicle market. E-Mobility NSR, Workload Package 6.6 Visit the E-Mobility website
Carroll, S., Walsh, C., Burgess, M., Harris, M., Bunce, L. et al., (2013) Assessing the viability of electric vehicles in daily life. A report to the Technology Strategy Board by Cenex and Oxford Brookes University. Doc. number TSB ULCVD-12-036 v1.0
Bunce, L. (2014, Jan) “The Butler” A poignant history lesson. The Psychologist
Bunce, L. & Westermann, G. (Spring 2010) Babylabs: What can they tell us about development? Developmental Psychology Forum, British Psychological Society.
Bunce, L. & Harris, M. (2008) "I saw the real Father Christmas!" Children's everyday uses of the words real, really, and pretend. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, 445-455. PDF version" />
Bunce, L. (2007) Children's understanding of distinctions between real and not-real. PhD Thesis. Oxford Brookes University.
Woolley, J., Bunce, L., Boerger, E. (forthcoming) Relations between imagination and creativity. To appear in Mind wandering and Creativity. D. Preiss, J. Kaufmann, & D. Cosmelli (Eds.). Academic Press
Bunce, L. (forthcoming) The student-as-consumer voice in higher education. To appear in Voices and Actions in the Student Experience, N.E. Winstone, S. Lygo-Baker, S. Warburton & I.M. Kinchin (eds.) Bloomsbury
Shaw, S. & Bunce, L. (2015) Electrifying London: Connecting with mainstream markets. In W. Leal & R. Kotter (Eds) E- Mobility in Europe: Trends and Good Practice. Springer
Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol)
Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
In the past I have conducted consultancy for OASIS Art (a children's art company), Disneyland Paris, and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
I am available for consultancy in areas broadly related to my teaching and research.
I am a mentor in Oxford Brookes' Research Staff Mentoring Scheme
You can book me to give a talk about my areas of interest https://www.speakezee.org/speaker/profile/307/louise-bunce
Collaboration with myself and a writer, Deborah Fielding, who wrote a short story inspired by research entitled 'Is it real?' /poetry-centre/projects/science-writes-to-life/louise-bunce-and-deborah-fielding/
Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/l_bunce or connect with me on linked in https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lbunce, researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Louise_Bunce and academia https://oxfordbrookes.academia.edu/LouiseBunce
Google scholar profile https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=ihpyOoMAAAAJ&hl=en&authuser=2
The British Psychological Society - the regulatory body for Psychologists in the UK.
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