Portrait of  Jo Thomas Jo Thomas

s.j.thomas@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472413



Biography

Position: International Learning Development Manager
Qualifications: MA, ELT & MD, BA (Hons), FHEA

 

Jo has a background in English Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes, and following 18 years as the owner/director of language schools in Greece joined the University of Huddersfield’s International Study Centre in 2011. She moved to the university’s Business school in 2013 as Academic Skills Lecturer and in the same year took up the post of International Learning Development Manager, responsible for developing, establishing and embedding the International Learning Development programme within the Business School.

 

Jo holds an MA in ELT and Materials Development and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She is currently pursuing her PhD on improving the international undergraduate and postgraduate taught students’ achievement levels and overseas experience. Her research focus is on effecting international students’ learning transfer from contextualised academic skills sessions to course assignments.

Research and Scholarship

Jo's research focuses on effecting international students’ learning transfer from contextualised academic skills sessions to course assignments. Her main research revolves around the following:

  • Intercultural sensitivity and competence
  • Motivation, self-efficacy and anxiety
  • The development of growth mind-sets
  • Self-directed learning strategies
  • Critical reflection of learning

2016

Harvey, H. and Thomas, J. (2016) ‘Partnership Support for international Students’. In: Learning, Teaching & Student Experience 2016 5th annual conference, 26-27 April 2016, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Publications and Other Research Outputs

2017

Thomas, J., Mirza, M., Haloub, R. and Jabbar, A. (2017) ‘International Learning Development and the International Student Experience’. In: Learning, Teaching & Student Experience Annual Conference 2017, 25-26 April 2017, Bristol, UK

2016

Thomas, J., Rygiel, K. and Horsfall, S. (2016) ‘Inspiring international student engagement: establishing and embedding customised support structures’. In: RAISE 2016 – ‘Excellence’ in Student Engagement, 8th-9th September 2016, Loughborough University, UK

Harvey, H. and Thomas, J. (2016) ‘Partnership Support for international Students’. In: Learning, Teaching & Student Experience 2016 5th annual conference, 26-27 April 2016, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

2015

Harvey, H., Rygiel, K. and Thomas, J. (2015) ‘Inspiring the International Student Experience: establishing and embedding specific support structures.’. In: NAEP National Annual Conference 2015, 16-17th June 2015, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

Administrative Responsibilities

The International Student Development (ISD) programme comprises of two teams, International Student Support (ISS) and International Learning Development (ILD), which Jo is responsible for managing. ISD is a comprehensive multi-function source of support for the Business School’s international student body. The key objective of the programme is the development of undergraduate and postgraduate taught students’ academic skills with the overall aim of continuous improvement in terms of achievement and the international student experience.

The programme was established in response to the Business School’s increasing number of international students. Many of these students demonstrated a distinct need for support in terms of: i) understanding the conventions of UK HE; ii) adapting to the UK HE environment; iii) development of UK HE academic skills; iv) improvement in English language skills.

The ILD tutors provide Business School students with timetabled sessions, which are delivered in same-course groups and use students’ course assignments as the basis for session content, therefore contextualising the teaching. The core sessions are scaffolded, whereby, through collaboration and shared practice between tutor and peers, students’ develop their understanding of the process and demands of their subject assignments. In addition students attend weekly academic Business English sessions, which are tiered to students’ ability from foundation to advanced level.

In addition to responsibility for managing the programme Jo sits on the following committees:

  • University International Committee
  • School International Committee
  • School Teaching and Learning Committee
  • International Student Experience Group

Teaching and Professional Activities

Jo has over 25 years teaching experience in English as a Foreign Language, English as a Second Language, English for Academic Purposes and Academic Skills for UK HE. She has written a wide range of teaching materials for English language teaching and academic skills for pre-university, undergraduate and post-graduate students. In addition she has designed courses and syllabi. Jo’s current interest is in producing and developing contextualised materials and frameworks for delivery to international students studying in UK HE, and the development and delivery of training programmes to support university staff in developing their intercultural sensitivity and competence.