Stirling social scientists honoured by Academy

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Two University of Stirling staff members have been announced as Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Fiona Copland, Professor of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Lesley Palmer, Chief Architect in the University’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), have been recognised for their excellence, impact and wider contributions to the field for public benefit.

They are two of 47 newly elected Fellows announced today (1 March), all of whom have been selected through an independent peer review.

Professor Derek McGhee (FAcSS), Dean of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “This is a tremendous accolade and recognition of both Professor Copland and Ms Palmer’s ongoing contributions to the social sciences.

“I am delighted to see them conferred to the Academy and named amongst some of the country’s most distinguished social scientists.”

Will Hutton FAcSS, President of the Academy of Social Sciences, said: "The Academy of Social Sciences is delighted to welcome the Spring 2022 group of new Fellows to join our ranks - representing an excellent range of highly distinguished social scientists. We look forward to engaging with them in our work.”

The Academy’s Fellowship comprises distinguished social scientists from academia and the public, private and third sectors. They are drawn from across the full spectrum of the social sciences. Through leadership, scholarship, applied research, policymaking, and practice, they have helped to deepen understanding of and address some of the toughest challenges facing our society and the world.

Professor Fiona Copland

Professor Fiona Copland

Professor Copland started her TESOL career in Nigeria, where she worked in a secondary school as a volunteer with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). After completing a PGCE at the University of Manchester, she spent two years working in Hong Kong before moving to Japan to work for the British Council. Returning to the UK, she took an MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham and spent several years as a director of CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) programmes in the city. She received her PhD in 2008 and directed various MA and MSc programmes in TESOL and teacher training for the Universities of Birmingham, Birmingham City and Aston.

With a deep interest in teaching English to young learners, she edited the Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners (2018) with Dr Sue Garton and is published widely on teacher feedback conferences in pre-service teacher education.

Professor Copland has also published two books which focus on linguistic ethnographic methodologies as well as materials for native speakerism, classroom languages, and the experiences of international students.

Lesley Palmer

Lesley Palmer

Ms Palmer is Chief Architect for the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), University of Stirling and Director of Iridis Digital Ltd, a joint venture organisation within the University, established for the purposes of improving quality of life for longer through technology, research and the design of the built environment.

An experienced architect, she has extensive international experience of designing and advising on dementia-friendly design principles; a non-pharmacological approach to supporting people living with dementia.

In addition to her roles at the University, Lesley is the Co-chair of the Scottish Government’s Dementia and Housing sub-group, a Steering Group Member for the British Standards Institute PAS 6463: Design for the Mind, a member of the Dementia Ageing Research Group, University of Stirling, and External Steering Committee Member of the PRIDEM research project, Newcastle University. She is also involved in several research projects with a focus on ageing, dementia and the built environment.