Reflecting on my 5th ViCE…. 4th ViCEPHEC

imageI’m not the only person who will be blogging about the recent #ViCEPHEC16 meeting over the next few days I’m sure.

(For the uninitiated ViCEPHEC stands for Variety in Chemistry Education/Physics Higher Education Conference a conference for primarily teaching focused academics in HE but more in that later).

As eluded to in other blogs, the chemists among us were all discussing an article that had (with superb timing) been widely circulated on social media that day, one discussing if chem ed conferences had communities or cliques. (See ) I have now been to 5 ViCE meetings, 4 of which were ViCEPHEC, York 2011, Edinburgh 2012, Liverpool 2013, Durham 2014 and Southampton 2016 and here are my reflections on a few years of the same faces…

Except it isn’t the same faces, there were lots of new faces (and some ‘old’ faces missing, hopefully temporarily). What struck me this year more than in previous years was the diversity of delegates. Teaching focused academics (teaching fellows, university teachers, teaching track only lecturers, call them what you will), research focused academics, outreach specialists, PhD and masters students in chem ed, post-docs, actual real secondary school teachers (not just me as a strange hybrid) and also representatives from our professional bodies. This can only be a good thing, new ideas and different ideas. The boundaries that separate the different people interested in ed research in our subjects have been blurred and I like that.



I’m gutted I missed the poster session as it was the first trial of that at ViCEPHEC this year. From what I see from Twitter it was a real success, adding a new dimension to a tried and tested format.

Other small observations….

  • I wasn’t the only person attending the conference with a child in tow. My own circumstances mean that my daughter has now attended 4 of these conferences but there were at least 2 others. I feel I have banged my drum quite a lot about inclusion at conferences and it makes me happy to see other mums/dads bringing small people along whether that’s because it’s the only way they could make it or because it’s a nice excuse for a mini break.
  • Despite the heat and humidity it was fab to see the expectant mothers there too and I really hope to see them again in future years, perhaps with small people in tow!
  • Good to see so many northerners despite the very southerly location. There’s always a worry that the location will dictate the mix of delegates but it seems that the meeting  is thriving and attracting delegates from a wide range of institutions.
  • Twitter remains an important part of this conference for many of us. I know some aren’t part of that ‘clique’ but it adds another dimension for reflection for many.

So here’s to #ViCEPHEC17 !




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