Damyan Kachulski is the programme director of the exchange projects between the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Nanjing University and Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication in China. He has also served as lecturer and teaching assistant and for the past five years has been teaching undergraduate journalism courses and supervising undergraduate dissertations. Damyan has previously been involved in research projects with the Glasgow 2014 cultural programme and helped Professor Richard Haynes with archival research for his exhibition ‘Hosts & Champions’. Damyan has held various positions within the University's professional services before making the transition to academia.
For the past two years Damyan Kachulski has been responsible for managing the international exchange programme in media and journalism at the University of Stirling for the undergraduate and postgraduate visiting students from Nanjing University and the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication (BIGC). After assessing the students’ home curriculum and competences, he devised a programme focusing on expanding students’ skills, employing innovative approaches and multi-media technologies (3D design, 3D printing, academic success strategies, employability).
Damyan’s belief that practical application of knowledge is at the core of learning and student engagement prompted him to collaborate with Stirling’s Employability and Information Services as well as with BBC Scotland to better prepare students for their future careers. He worked towards increasing the cultural exchange between partner institutions and the University through a series of events he organised with his students in October 2019 as part of his initiative ‘Week of Chinese Culture’.
His work with his international partners was so rewarding that Damyan continued providing teaching support to his past students during the Covid-19 closure of their institutions in February 2020. His initiative was widely covered in provincial media (Xinhua Daily, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, Nanjing University, Jiangsu Province Government) and subsequently resulted in a large donation of surgical masks to the University in May 2020 from BIGC and Nanjing University students.
Apart from delivering the international exchange programme, Damyan teaches on Stirling’s BA in Journalism Studies programme. He values innovation in his teaching and incorporates approaches and educational technologies to increase student engagement, promote self-reflection and improve the student experience. Before lecturing, he uses polling webware to gain insight into his audience’s understanding of the lecture material and uses this to emphasise areas where there are gaps of knowledge. At the end, he revisits the questions to demonstrate to students how their knowledge evolves over the course of the lecture.
Damyan uses mobile devices to collaborate with his students while teaching and captures content for future use. Damyan always tries to bridge the gap between teacher and learners and uses 3D modelling and printing to help students produce visual materials for classes. This makes students part of the teaching process and transforms them from students to colleagues.
In 2018, Damyan implemented an online office hour whereby students use his virtual MS Teams classroom to ask questions and reflect on the learning process. Damyan combines students from different subjects to simulate press conference or job interview environments designed to test and improve student performance through informative feedback and self-reflection.
Through his creative approaches, commitment to improving his own professional practice and passion for student engagement, he has demonstrated measurable impact through feedback from his students. He has been awarded four teaching recognition awards for his work through the RATE (Recognising and Advancing Teaching Excellence) Awards scheme of the Stirling Students’ Union. Damyan is the laureate of the 2020 RATE Awards for ‘Best Tutor’ and ‘Outstanding Support’. In 2019, he was awarded the RATE Awards for ‘Best Tutor’ and ‘Outstanding Guidance and Mentoring’. In 2020 Damyan was nominated for the Times Higher Education Awards 2020 in the category for 'Most Innovative Teacher of the Year'.
Currently, Damyan is a PhD candidate based in the University of Stirling and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.