Professor Stephen Rutherford
Director of Undergraduate Education
I am the Director of Undergraduate Education for the School of Biosciences and I am a National Teaching Fellow.
I have biological, educational, and historical research interests. I am a plant molecular cell biologist, specialising in the regulation of gene expression and protein trafficking in higher plants, as well as organelle development, division and evolutionary origins. My major educational research interests revolve around how students learn outside of the classroom, and how collaboration supports active learning. My teaching approaches aim to encourage student engagement and active learning, as well as the development of digital literacy skills. I also have a research interest in the history of surgery, an in particular the biological and biomedical validity of early modern surgical and medical techniques.
- The genetic control of chloroplast division
- Artificial activators of transgene expression in plants
- Regulation of membrane trafficking in plants by Rab GTPases
- Genetic control of testicular descent in dogs.
- Biomedical validity of early modern surgical techniques.
Educational research and scholarship
- The development of Student-Mediated Learning during the transition to higher education
- Collaborative Learning and Student-Mediated Learning outside of the classroom
- Student peer-assessment
- The use of Web 2.0 collaborative technologies in learning and teaching
- Student engagement with digital literacies
- ‘Flipped learning’ and active learning approaches in higher education
- Student attainment in higher education.
- Director of Undergraduate Education
- Chair of Undergraduate Board of Studies
- Academic Team Leader
- Module Lead: BI1004, The Dynamic Cell
- Module Lead: BI2231, Cell Biology
- Exam Board Chair – Year 1 and Year 2 Exam Boards
- University Senior Academic for consideration of appeals
- Convenor of the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences Educational Seminar Series
- Co-chair of University Programme and Partner Approval Panel.
I graduated with a BSc (hons) Biology at the University of York (1989-1992), with specialisms in genetics and plant science. My BSc was followed by a Ph.D. on the genetic control of chloroplast division (1992-1996) in the lab of Professor Rachel Leech in the Department of Biology at the University of York. I then worked as a post-doctoral research associate on the role of FtsZ proteins in the control of plastid division at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA. Following this project I worked as a temporary member of the teaching faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno and California State University, Sacramento, California.
Following my period in the USA, I worked as a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford (1999-2005) in the lab of Dr Ian Moore, on a series of projects related to plant cell biology, the regulation of transgenes in plants, and the regulation of membrane trafficking in plant cells.
I joined the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University in 2005. My main teaching areas are in genetics, molecular cell biology, plant biology, photosynthesis and the origins of life. From 2005-2007 I was Deputy Biomolecular Schemes Admissions Tutor. I was the Year 1 co-ordinator from 2007-2009. Since 2009 I have been the Deputy Head of Teaching/Deputy Director of Undergraduate Education.
- Masters in Education (MA(Ed))
- Post-graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (PCUTL)
- Currently studying for a Doctorate in Education (EdD) with Reading University
- Certificate of Practical Leadership in University Management.
Honours and awards
National Teaching Fellow (2016)
University Celebrating Excellence Award (2015) winner for 'Excellence in Teaching'.
- Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Academic Associate of the Higher Education Academy
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
- Member of the Society for Research in Higher Education, British Educational Research Association; International Society for Learning Sciences; Genetics Society.
Rutherford, S.M., Limorenko, G. and Shore, A.M. (October, 2016) Correlations between learning styles and perceptions of Collaborative Learning in Higher Education. Ireland International Conference on Education. Oral presentation.
Limorenko, G., Shore, A.M. and Rutherford, S.M. (September, 2016) Perceptions of Collaborative Learning outside of class – is there a link to deep, surface or strategic learning styles? BERA Annual Conference; Oral presentation.
Smith, P., Yhnell, E., Rutherford, S.M. and Shore, A.M. (September, 2016) The 'Sophomore Slump' - do learners recover and can year-on-year grade begin to provide answers to difficult questions? BERA Annual Conference; Oral presentation.
Rutherford, S.M. (February, 2016) Why do students not engage in Collaborative Learning outside of class? Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Virginia Tech University, VA, USA; Oral & Poster Presentation.
Rutherford, S.M. (December, 2015) ‘Supporting student skills development via technology’. College of Biomedical and Life Sciences Seminar Series, Cardiff University.
Rutherford, S.M. (September, 2015) Ground-breaking pioneers or dangerous amateurs? Did early-modern surgery have any basis in medical science? Annual Helion Conference of the Civil War; Shrewsbury.
Rutherford, S.M. (August, 2015) ‘Of wounds, of gunshot wounds, of fractures and luxations’: Civil War wounds and how to treat them. Conference on Mortality, Care and Military Welfare during the British Civil Wars. National Civil War Centre, Newark.
Rutherford, S.M. (June, 2015) ‘Shadow Modules: Addressing the heterogeneity of technologies for collaborative learning outside of the classroom’: 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Gothenburg, Sweden; Oral presentation. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1411/
Rutherford, S.M. (May, 2015) ‘Collaborative Activity in Informal Learning': “Better Off Together: Collaborative Learning in Higher Education” – All day workshop, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University. Oral Presentation.
Rutherford, S.M. (April, 2015) ‘Shadow Modules: Enhancing informal learning in Higher Education through Web 2.0-based collaborative activities’: Ireland International Conference on Education, Dublin, Ireland; Oral presentation
Rutherford, S., Prytherch, Z and BeruBe, K. (April, 2014) Assessment ‘for’ Learning Students supporting each others’ learning by developing learning resources. HEA STEM Annual Conference, Edinburgh (30/4/14-1/5/14). Oral Presentation.
Rutherford, S.M. and Woodgate, L.J. (July, 2014) Supporting student skills development through a common first year: Turning challenges into opportunities Cardiff University Educational Conference, Cardiff (July 2014).
Jones, H, Scott, J, Green, J, Rutherford, S. and Langton, P. (April, 2014) Developing a deeper-learning teaching approach through greater understanding of the transition to University HEA STEM Annual Conference, Edinburgh (30/4/14-1/5/14). Workshop.
Rutherford, S., Prytherch, Z. and BeruBe, K. (April, 2014) Assessment ‘for’ Learning Students supporting each others’ learning by developing learning resources. HEA STEM Annual Conference, Edinburgh (30/4/14-1/5/14). Poster Presentation.
Rutherford, S., Shore, A.M. and Dargan, S.L. (July, 2013) Peer-support of learning through assessment. HEA Annual Conference, University of Warwick (July 2013).
Rutherford, S. M. (July, 2013) Supporting the development of Digital Literacies through peer-support of learning. Cardiff University Educational Conference, Cardiff (July 2013).
Rutherford, S. M. (January, 2013) How technology can be used to encourage peer-support of learning? HEA Workshop on Technology-enhanced education, Bristol University (30/4/14-1/5/14).
Scott, J.L., Moxham, B.J. and Rutherford, S.M. (2011) Encouraging student partnership in curriculum delivery and design by using freeware technology to facilitate collaborative learning. RAISE Conference 2011 - Engaging Students in Challenging Times. Nott Trent Univ, 15th-16th September, 2011. Poster Presentation.
Continuing Professional Development in Learning and Teaching workshops
‘Active Learning and Technology Enhanced Education’; Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (Cardiff University; 2013 – current)
‘Pedagogic Research – experiences for the field’; Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (Cardiff University; 2014 – current)
‘Lecture Capture and the Flipped Classroom‘. (May, 2016) Invited Speaker and Chair; Centre for Education Innovation, “The use of Video in Higher Education: an Introduction” Learning Technology Community of Practice
‘The Flipped Classroom’. Invited speaker; School of Chemistry; Cardiff University. (May, 2016)
‘Supporting student engagement: Peer learning and ‘shadow modules’ ’. Invited speaker; Cardiff University Staff Development ‘Academic Practice’ course. (April, 2016)
‘Technology-Enhanced Education’. Invited speaker; School of Pharmacy; Cardiff Univ. (February, 2016)
‘The Flipped Classroom’. Invited speaker; School of Modern Languages; Cardiff University. (June, 2015)
‘Engaging large lecture classes’. Invited speaker: “Teaching Large Classes” – All day workshop with envoys from University of Namibia, School of Mathematics, Cardiff University. (April, 2015).
‘The Flipped Classroom’. Invited speaker; School of Pharmacy; Cardiff University. (February, 2015).
‘Lecture-Flipping in the Biosciences’. Invited speaker: “The Flipped Lecture” – All day workshop, School of Mathematics, Cardiff University. (July, 2014).
‘Improving Lectures’. Invited Speaker, Away-Day, Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University. (Jan, 2014)
‘Capturing (improving?) Lectures’. Lecture Capture conference. Cardiff Univ. (March, 2012)
‘Improving the effectiveness of Face-to-Face Teaching’. Dept of Psychiatry, Away Day. Cardiff University. (September, 2011).
‘Developing Digital Literacies – The challenges’. Cardiff University Learning and Teaching Conference. (May, 2011).
‘Feedback – Insights from a working group’. HEA C-SAP Subject Centre Strategy Meeting (Invited Speaker; Cardiff, June 2009).
‘Innovative uses of Blackboard’. School of Social Sciences Away Day, Cardiff University. (June, 2007).
- Plant Biology
- Molecular Cell Biology
- Molecular Genetics
- Membrane Trafficking
- Origins of Life
- History of Biology
- History of Surgery.
Continuing Professional Development
- Innovative teaching approaches
- Flipped and active learning
- Technology enhanced education.
My main area of research background is in plant molecular cell biology.
The genetic control of chloroplast division: My PhD and early post-doctoral work was focused around identifying the genetic mechanisms of chloroplast division.
Regulation of expression in transgenes: This area of work focused around the optimisation of artificial activators of gene expression in transgenes, as a means to improve the activity of transgenic constructs in plants.
Control of vesicle transport in plant cells: This area of work focused on the functional analysis and genomic characterisation of the Rab GTPase gene family which regulates vesicle targeting in eukaryotic cells. The particular focus of this work was characterising the 60 genes of the Rab GTPase gene family in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and identifying the function of sub-families of Rabs.
Genetic control of testicular descent in dogs: This area of work is focused on identifying the genetic factors contributing to cryptorchidism (failure of testicular descent) in canines.
Scholarship of learning and teaching, and pedagogic research
My education research interests are focused around
Collaborative learning: collaborative learning, where learners develop a shared understanding by discussing ideas and challenging each other’s perceptions is a powerful learning tool. Most attention to collaborative learning is based on studies within the formal classroom setting; my interests are focused around how students interact with each other, and the value of collaborative learning in student-mediated learning outside of the classroom. This work has been funded by two grants from the Higher Education Academy, including a national Teaching Development Grant.
Digital literacy and web 2.0 technology in learning: The potential of collaborative (Web 2.0) technologies to support learning is considerable. My research in this area focuses on students’ engagement with Web 2.0 technologies and how to integrate them to support collaborative learning and students supporting each other’s learning.
Active learning and the Flipped Classroom: flipped classroom approaches, where information delivery occurs before the face-to-face teaching session has a proven benefit to learning. My research in this area focuses on student engagement with flipped learning, active learning and authentic assessments, and which media are most effective for these approaches.
Approaches to study: This area of research focuses around the extent to which knowledge is retained between A-Level and University; student attainment during University study; the role of learning strategies (deep, surface and strategic) in student approaches to learning; and the development of study skills during the transition from school to University study.
Other research interests: Professional identity in managers of learning and teaching; the development of excellence in learning and teaching; the development of self-critical skills and self-analysis; student emotive responses to feedback.
Funded pedagogic research initiatives
Principal Investigator –Cardiff University Teaching Innovation Grant – “Optimising engagement through digital media in Flipped Classroom pedagogies”. (6/16 – Current)
Principal Investigator – Higher Education Academy Teaching Development Grant – “Optimising methodologies of collaborative learning through shadow modules”. (1/1/14 – 31/7/15).
Partner in working group with OCR A-Level Exam Board: “Students’ Knowledge Retention – impact on syllabus design” (6/12 – current). Project Leader Dr Harriet Jones, University of East Anglia.
Principal Investigator – Learning & Teaching Enhancement Fund Grant (HEA Wales) “Encouraging student partnership in curriculum delivery and design by using freeware technology to facilitate collaborative learning”. (1/2/11 – 30/5/11)
Partner in HEA-funded initiative: “Students’ initial reaction to the feedback they receive on coursework” (1/9/09 – 1/9/10). Project Leader Dr Harriet Jones, University of East Anglia.
Collaborator in HEA-funded initiative: “Increasing the quality of feedback on assignments” (1/9/06 – 1/9/07). Project Leader Dr Harriet Jones, University of East Anglia.
Other research interests and public engagement
The history of military surgery: Throughout history, war and conflict have driven innovation in many areas, especially medicine and surgical practice. This research interest assesses the extent to which historical surgical and medical approaches have a sound basis in science and cell biology, with a particular focus on the pioneering breakthroughs in surgical practice that occurred in the 17th Century (many of which are still used today). In 2015-16 I was part of the academic team which developed the “Battle Scarred” exhibition of 17th Century medicine and welfare at the National civil War Centre, Newark.