Monica Porciani is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Education, with responsibility for co-ordinating health & wellbeing courses for undergraduate and postgraduate student teachers. She is nationally recognised as a specialist in school health promotion and pupil wellbeing, and is regularly invited to publish and present her work. Monica is the academic selector for the bachelor degree programme in primary education, and is the co-ordinator for the Erasmus and International Exchange Programme in the School of Education.
Health and Wellbeing
Prior to Strathclyde University, Monica worked in public health for 20 years, having held senior roles in community health projects and education programmes. She trained as a Public Health Practitioner and has developed an expertise in child health improvement and child protection.
Monica is responsible for leading and designing Health & Wellbeing courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and masters level for the School of Education. She designed a professional specialism module for PGDE secondary student teachers which offers a collaborative enquiry-led approach to identify pupils’ health needs and priorities. The module was awarded funding from the Scottish attainment challenge.
Monica has also developed interdisciplinary modules for the Faculty which focus on discrete areas of health improvement and policy implementation, including child protection and Learning for Sustainability.
A new Interdisciplinary module on Learning for Sustainability was praised by the National Research Hub for Outdoor Learning as ‘innovative’ in providing an outstanding student experience. The module provides a focus for collaboration with third sector partners such as the John Muir Trust and Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Given Strathclyde’s positioning as ‘A place for useful learning’ , students have undertaken fieldwork throughout Scotland, developed skills in outdoor learning, completed the John Muir Award and developed learning resources for several organisations. As a result of Monica’s work in this area, the School of Education has been certified as a provider of the John Muir award, which is a first for a School of Education
Monica has a passionate interest in the importance of child protection, and has worked to ensure that student teachers develop competence and confidence in this key area. In response to demand and feedback from nearly 100% of the student year group, an optional module called ‘Protecting Scotland’s Children’, which she developed in 2014, will now be a core area of study within the new degree programme. Monica trained as an Ambassador with the Child Exploitation and online Protection Agency (CEOP), and has included online safety as an integral part of this programme.
Monica has developed a new and innovative master’s level pathway for postgraduate study in Health and Wellbeing. This new programme was launched in the 2018-19 and provides a coherent pathway for student teachers to progress to master’s level study with a specialism in children and young people’s wellbeing. The programme is flexible and has been designed to attract applicants outside of education working in this field. It also aims to provide a holistic approach to addressing public health priorities and pedagogical knowledge in line with the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Professional Standards.
In 2018 Monica was a key member of the BA Primary Education review team with a responsibility for designing a programme for health and wellbeing in the new degree programme. This was praised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the review panel as ‘sector leading’ in its holistic approach and focus on child mental health.
Monica was appointed as academic selector for the BA in Primary Education degree programme in 2015, and has been responsible for improving the ‘widening access’ profile of the School of Education. She has a strategic role for developing pathways and partnerships that have improved access and support for under-represented groups, addressed the gender imbalance and increased the number of SIMD 0-20 applicants. Monica is the School of Education lead for Glasgow City Council’s Access to a Career in Teaching Programme and for the Scottish Widening Access Programmes (SWAP).
Monica is committed to enhancing the student experience at the University of Strathclyde. She sits on the primary education management committee and has a key role as first year convener, responsible for ensuring a positive transition into Strathclyde University. She contributes to the strategic plan to become a socially progressive University and sits on the HaSS Faculty’s widening access committee. Monica has developed initiatives to offer greater support to students from non-traditional routes, which has increased the student retention rates in the undergraduate degree programme.
She has considerable interest in international work and since 2017, has been the Erasmus and International co-ordinator for the School of Education, leading and developing an enhanced programme of student experiences for single semester exchanges. She has established exchange agreements with diverse institutions in a range of countries including Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Spain. Monica has integrated an international exchange into the BA programme and encourages all students to participate in this valuable area of university study.
Since 2015 Monica has led and developed student study visits to Malawi, developing links with education and university partners in Malawi that enriches the student experience. The programme provides a focus for students to engage with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and enables students to ‘make a difference’ by undertaking practicum in developing countries, and as a result, has featured positively in the National Student Survey results. More widely she has contributed to the Scottish Malawi Partnership, hosting a workshop at the Youth Congress and presented her work at the annual Strathclyde Alumni Donor event.
In 2011 Monica was nominated onto the University of Strathclyde's staff wellbeing committee, which was awarded a team medal in 2015 for achievement in the Health at Work award scheme. As a trained health promotion specialist, she has continued to use her skills to promote and support student wellbeing and is a core member of the recently established School of Education student wellbeing team. Monica is also an active member of the Faculty Academic Committee, Faculty Widening Access Committee, Erasmus Committee and a member of the School’s Interview Panel regarding staff recruitment.
· Board member and Trustee with the national charity Fast Forward, which promotes education on positive lifestyles and health promotion for young people.
· Member of the PSHE Association
· Full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland
Peer education approaches and participatory methodologies to engage pupil voice in health & wellbeing
Relationships and Sexual Health Eduction
Mental Health Promotion