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BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCE, FRGS, NTF, PFHEA
Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483185
Helen Walkington is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Social Sciences. She teaches Geography and carries out research into higher education pedagogy. Helen established the university-wide student experience project called Get Published! She has been a National Teaching Fellow since 2009 and one of the first people in the UK to be made a Principal Fellow of The Higher Education Academy in 2012. Helen is an experienced presenter of educational workshops and seminars and has given numerous international conference keynote speeches on linking teaching and research and a ‘students as researchers’ pedagogy. Helen has published widely on pedagogy. She has worked as an advisor to universities, examination boards, The Higher Education Academy and Quality Assurance Agency on aspects of teaching and learning. Helen has established numerous undergraduate research conferences and journals and has been a steering group member of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) since its inception in 2010. She is co-chair of the Society for Research in Higher Education’s Academic Practice Network, co-chair of the International Network for Learning and Teaching (INLT), co-editor of the International desk for the American journal Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research (SPUR), an editor for Higher Education Pedagogies, editor-in-chief of the journal GEOverse and an active editorial board member of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education.
I have a variety of research interests which include-
Key to the understanding of Pleistocene human dispersals and settlement dynamics is knowledge about the distribution of human habitats in space and time. To add information about the characteristics of inhabited environments along the South Arabian dispersal route, this paper presents paleo-environmental data from deposits excavated at Jebel Faya (FAY-NE1) in the Emirate of Sharjah, UAE. The sedimentary sequence at FAY-NE1 spans a period of about 125,000 years, including the last interglacial and the Holocene. Particle size and phytolith content of samples from two sediment columns were analyzed, including both archaeology bearing layers and archaeologically sterile layers. The results demonstrate that human occupation of the site is related to pluvial periods. Assemblage C, dated to about 127–123 ka, was deposited during a wet phase with an environment characterized by an increased proportion of C3 grasses. Grassland with sedges but lacking tree cover characterize ecological conditions during the youngest of the Paleolithic occupation periods, Assemblage A, dated to about 45–40 ka. Environmental conditions during periods lacking archaeological remains are characterized by the absence of vegetation cover during phases of desiccation. There is no evidence for human presence at the site between 38 and 11 ka.
Despite the present hyper-aridity, archaeological investigations in South-east Arabia have demonstrated that the region supported extensive human communities throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age. These early populations utilised the region’s natural environment in a variety of ways, ranging from the exploitation of coastal resources to practicing pastoral and agrarian lifestyles in the interior. Palaeoclimate data suggests the corresponding period was characterised by considerable climatic variability yet, to date, few studies have attempted to investigate the relationship between climate, the environment and early human populations in the region. This paper combines new high-resolution palaeoclimate data from Awafi palaeolake, United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the region’s archaeological record from the Neolithic through to the onset of the Bronze Age. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that the environment of South-east Arabia offered different constraints and opportunities for early human occupation and subsistence. In particular, abrupt phases of aridity are demonstrated to have had a profound impact. Most notable is the change which occurred following the onset of climatic aridity at 5900calyr BP, when the region’s semi-nomadic, herder-gatherer populations abandoned much of the landscape and concentrated in selected environmental refugia, such as along the northern Omani coast. Human repopulation during the Bronze Age coincided with a return to more pluvial conditions under which a network of oasis agricultural settlements appeared along the piedmont zone of the northern Hajar Mountains.
This article considers the rationale for embedding research and enquiry skills early in the undergraduate geography curriculum and for making these skills explicit to students. A survey of 52 international geography faculty identified critical thinking, framing research questions, reflectivity and creativity as the most challenging research skills to teach early in the undergraduate curriculum. This article provides a range of practical examples illustrating research skill teaching from geography courses internationally. The case studies demonstrate that by embedding research skill development early, scaffolding provided throughout a degree programme can support geography students as they become producers of knowledge.
In Danish - https://www.eva.dk/videregaaende-uddannelse/faa-ekspertens-5-raad-engagere-studerende-forskning
Opening Keynote (2016) ‘Knowledge creation - a dialogic approach: the power of networks and networking, mentors and mentoring.’ Society for Research in Higher Education Newer Researchers Conference 2017, Celtic Manor, Wales. https://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2016/newer-researchers-conference.asp
Reviewer for Quaternary International, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Quaternary Science, Higher Education Research and Development, Teaching and Learning Inquiry, Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Studies in Higher Education, Higher Education Pedagogies.