Tom Burns started at the University in 1994 as an associate lecturer and is now a University Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Professional and Educational Development. Tom leads the Facilitating Student Learning core module in the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education PGCert and MA, and co-teaches on Curriculum Evaluation and Development alongside supervising Negotiated Study Modules, Projects and Dissertations.
Tom is research-active in the areas of widening participation, collaboration, and creative and liberatory curriculum design – he also mentors London Met staff new to research. He is a co-author of Teaching, Learning and Study Skills: a guide for tutors; Essential Study Skills: the complete guide to success at university (now in its fourth edition); and most recently of Supporting Student Writing – And Other Modes of Learning and Assessment – A Staff Guide – and works to support education for social justice, decolonising curriculum and practice with learning, teaching and assessment innovations with a special focus on creative and engaging praxes that ignite student curiosity and develops power and voice.
Tom collegially developed the student-facing Study Hub designed to help students orientate themselves to study and which was brought alive by one-minute thumbnail videos by staff and the even more popular student videos. It still retains useful study resources including its downloadable Packs covering the essay, report and presentation. Tom now focuses on the staff-facing Take5 website and blog, CPED’s Professional Development blog – and he mentors those staff new to blogging when they want to disseminate their good practice.
Tom is one of the co-founders of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, was a leading participant in its LearnHigher CETL and is an active member of its Mentoring Group. Currently he curates London Met’s Learning Support and Development Practitioner Forum for practitioners that support student learning and development.
More about Tom Burns
Tom Burns has always been interested in theatre and the arts and their role in building identity and community – and the power they can have in teaching and learning. When at school and first working in the building trade, he formed and led the Hainault Action Group setting up adventure playgrounds and devising Community events and festivals for his local east London community.
Whilst an undergraduate student at Essex University, Tom set up and ran the first International Dario Fo Festival. This prestigious event was applauded by Fo himself – and consisted of a formal academic symposium, keynote speaker Stuart Hood, and theatre workshops for students and local people from surrounding Colchester. There were full dramatic performances by the Fo-Rame theatre troupe of The Tiger’s Tale and The Boss’s Funeral.
Together with Sandra Sinfield, Tom has taken a production of John Godber’s Bouncers on a tour of Crete music venues, written and made a feature film (Eight Days from Yesterday) and produced teaching and learning courses and materials in a range of settings. His Take Control video won the IVCA gold award for education.
Tom Burns engages in collaborative teaching, research and writing with a special focus on liberatory praxes that help to make Higher Education a creative space of voice and power for those typically excluded from or who are made to feel unwelcome there. Currently he is co-editing a special edition of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice with a focus on collaborative practices in and across HE.
Most recently Tom Burns and Sandra Sinfield have delivered keynotes across the UK on the power of creativity as emancipatory practice.
Recent publications – excluding conference presentations
Green M and Burns T (2006) ‘Programme Aid Partners in Mozambique: a textual analysis’ Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, pp.62-68, 2006
Sinfield, Burns and Holley (2009) ‘A journey into silence: students, stakeholders and the impact of a strategic governmental policy document in the UK’ in Social Responsibility Journal Vol 5 No. 4 pp566-574 ISSN 1747-1117
Burns, Sinfield, Holley and Hoskins (2010) ‘Very urgent, very difficult and quite possible: changing students’ attitudes to notemaking by encouraging user generated content’ in Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education Vol 2, 2010
Sinfield S, Holley D, Burns T and Glass R (2011) ‘ When worlds collide: the paradox of Learning Development, E-learning, and the 21st Century University’ in Sinfield S, Hilsdon J ,Keenan C and Hartley P (Eds) (2011) Learning Development in Higher Education London; Palgrave
Sinfield S, Burns T, Holley D, O’Neill P, Harrington K and Hoskins K (2011) ‘Raising the student voice: learning development as socio-political practice’ in Sinfield S, Hilsdon J ,Keenan C and Hartley P (Eds) (2011) Learning Development in Higher Education London; Palgrave
Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2012, 3rd Edn) Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university London; Sage
Sinfield, Burns and Holley (2012) ‘The Shipwrecked Shore – and other metaphors: what we can learn from occupation of – and representations in – virtual worlds’ in Investigations in University Teaching and Learning Volume 8 Summer 2012 pp 119-126
Burns, T, Sinfield S and Abegglen, S (2014) ‘Disrupting learning landscapes: Mentoring, engaging, becoming’ in Investigations in University Teaching and Learning Vol 9, Spring 2014 pp15-21
Burns, T, Sinfield S and Abegglen S (2015) ‘Voices from the margins: Narratives of learning development in a digital age’ in Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, Vol 1, No 1, 2015
Piccione, V, Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2015) ‘Didactical and psycho-pedagogy university module: Student Group Management’, Project Universitaria (Romania)
Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2016 4th Edn) Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university London; Sage
Diana-Eugenia IONCICA, Tom BURNS, Antonia ENACHE, Marina MILITARU, Sandra SINFIELD (2016) ‘ A Study on the Level of Satisfaction of Students in The Bucharest University of Economic Studies’
Sinfield, Burns and Abegglen (2016) “Hacking Assignment Practice: Finding Creativity and Power in the Fissures and Cracks of Learning and Teaching” in Journal of Learning Development for HE (JLDHE) #10 summer 2016
Abegglen, Sandra; Burns, Tom; and Sinfield, Sandra, (2016) ‘The Power of Freedom: Setting up a Multimodal Exhibition With Undergraduate Students to Foster Their Learning and Help Them to Achieve’, In Journal of Peer Learning, 9, 2016, 1-9
Abegglen, Sandra; Burns, Tom; and Sinfield, Sandra, (2016) ‘Critical Pedagogy: Utilizing Critical Writing Exercises to Foster Critical Thinking Skills in First-year Undergraduate Students and Prepare Them for Life Outside University’ In Double Helix: a journal of critical thinking and writing Vol 4 (2016)
Harrington, Sinfield and Burns (2016) ‘Student Engagement’ in Pokorny, H and Warren, D (Eds) (2016) Teaching and Learning in HE, London; Sage
Mag, Alina, Sinfield, Sandra, Burns, Tom (2017) ‘The benefits of inclusive education: new challenges for university teachers’ MSE Conference presentation, Sibiu, Romania 2017 and in MSE 2017 Proceedings, volume published online by MATEC Web of Conferences.
Sandra Abegglen, Tom Burns, Sandra Sinfield (2017) ‘Take them Serious’: Fostering Students' Academic Writing Skills: ‘Free Writing Exercises’ In Investigations in university learning and teaching – Vol11 July 2017
Sandra Abegglen, Sandra Sinfield, Tom Burns (2017) ‘Really Free!’: Strategic interventions to foster students' academic writing skills in Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change Vol 3, No1 (2017)
Tom Burns, Orion Griffiths, Maja Myhre and Sandra Sinfield (2017) ‘Picture this: engaging students – improving outcomes’ in Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change Vol 3, No1 (2017)
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield (2018) ‘Drawing as a way of knowing: Visual practices as the route to becoming academic In Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie Volume 28, 2018
Burns, T, Sinfield, S. and Abegglen, S. (2018) Regenring academic writing. Case study 1: Collages. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 11(2), 181-190, September 2018. Regenring academic writing. Case Study 1: Collages
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield (2019) ‘Academic Reading: small acts of academic enquiry’ published in ALDinHE Newsletter, April 2019
Sandra Sinfield, Tom Burns, Sandra Abegglen (2019) ‘Becoming playful: the power of a ludic module’ in Alison James, Chrissi Nerantzi (Eds) The power of play in higher education: creativity in tertiary learning (The Power of Play in Higher Education - Creativity in Tertiary Learning | Alison James)
Abegglen, S, Burns, T, and Sinfield S. (2019). Strategii creative pentru succesul studenților în învățare [Creative strategies that promote student study success]. In D.M. Cretu (Ed.), Predarea și învățarea în învățământul superior: aspecte teoretice și practice [Teaching and learning in higher education: theoretical and practical aspects] (pp.69-94). Bucuresti: Editura Universitara.
Abegglen, A, Burns, T, Middlebrook, D and Sinfield, S (2019) ‘Unrolling the Text to Facilitate Learning: the scroll as curriculum disruption’ – Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education No. 14 (2019)
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield (2019) Creative HE Manifesto, April issue of Creative Academic Magazine (CAM#13) during World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21, 2019).
Abegglen, Burns and Blundell (2019): https://www.childinthecity.org/2019/02/11/adventure-play-in-70s-east-london-p1/ and https://www.childinthecity.org/2019/02/14/adventure-play-in-70s-east-london-p2/ and https://www.childinthecity.org/2019/02/19/adventure-play-in-70s-east-london-p3/
Sandra Abegglen, Tom Burns, Dave Middlebrook, Sandra Sinfield - with Angharad Lewis (2019) ‘Approaching academic reading, differently’ in Investigations in university teaching and learning Volume 12, Spring 2019 pp10-15
Abegglen, S, Burns, T, Middlebrook, D. and Sinfield, S. (2019). ‘Disrupting academic reading: Unrolling the scroll for academic staff’ in Quinn, L (Ed) (2019) Reimagining curriculum: Spaces for disruption Africa Sun Modia
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield (2019) ‘It’s learning development, Jim - but not as we know it: Academic literacies in third-space’: for JLDHE Special Edition, Academic Literacies
Burns, T, Sinfield, S, and Abegglen, S. (2019). Third space partnerships with students: Becoming educational together. International Journal for Students As Partners, 3(1), 60-68. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v3i1.3742
Abegglen, S, Burns, T. Maier, S. and Sinfield, S. (2020). ‘Supercomplexity: Acknowledging students’ lives in the 21st century university’ for Innovative Practice in Higher Education Vol4 No1 pp22-38
Abegglen, Sandra; Burns, Tom; Middlebrook, David; and Sinfield, Sandra, ‘Outsiders looking in? Challenging reading through creative practice’, Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 17(2), 2020
Abegglen, S, Burns, T, Maier, S. and Sinfield, S, 2020. Global university, local issues: Taking a creative and humane approach to learning and teaching. In Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education. Emerald Publishing Limited.
Abegglen, S, Burns, T. and Sinfield, S, 2020. Montage, DaDa and the Dalek: The Game of Meaning in Higher Education. International Journal of Management and Applied Research, 7(3), pp.224-239.
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield (2020) – ‘Covid Reflections’ in Jandrić, P, Hayes, D, Truelove, I, Levinson, P, Mayo, P, Ryberg, T, Monzó, L.D, Allen, Q, Stewart, P.A, Carr, P.R. and Jackson, L, 2020. Teaching in the Age of Covid-19. Postdigital Science and Education, pp.1-162.
Abegglen, Burns and Sinfield – with Piras (2021) Supporting Student Writing – And Other Modes of Learning and Assessment - A Staff Guide. Glasgow; Inspired By Learning
Webb, J, Arthur, R, McFarlane-Edmond, P, Burns, T. and Warren, D, 2021. An evaluation of the experiences of the hidden curriculum of Black and minority ethnic undergraduate health and social care students at a London university. Journal of Further and Higher Education, pp.1-15.
Harrington, Sinfield and Burns (2021) ‘Student Engagement’ chapter for Pokorny, H and Warren, D (Eds, 2nd Edn) (2021) Teaching and Learning in HE, London; Sage
University Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Professional and Educational Development