What does DUCIE do?

The DUCIE network aims to:

  • provide support, and help meet the needs for continuing professional development, of involvement workers employed in HEIs
  • share and disseminate good practice and examples of existing posts and initiatives
  • provide opportunities for debate and the teasing out of complex areas of practice
  • develop good practice guidelines on the involvement of users and carers in learning and teaching in higher education (building on work begun with the Learning from Experience guide),  the establishment of involvement worker posts, and development of a context in which they can flourish.
  • act as a central point of contact for national initiatives, such as the Mental Health in Higher Education project, seeking to engage with users and carers involved in learning and teaching in Higher Education
  • act as a campaigning and pressure group

Activities:

  • DUCIE guidelines for the employment of service user and carer involvement workers in higher education.
  • Ian Light Award for work in pairs
  • DUCIE jiscmail discussion list (with 60+ members)

See here for

Background to the network:

See also this longer extract from a recent book

In the summer of 2005, a small band of user and carer involvement development workers, based in Higher Education Institutions, met over two days in Nottingham.   They had in common that they were fairly newly appointed to posts with the aim of facilitating user and carer involvement in education for health and social care.   Lively discussion was accompanied by a shared sense of optimism and enjoyment in the possibilities of these new roles.  They were seen to pose significant challenges too.

Some of the issues related to the cross-cutting nature of the work.  Workers made reference to the need to ‘juggle too many balls' or ‘spin too many plates at once'.  They spoke of ‘wearing lots of different hats' and the complexity of ‘working with different voices'.  There was a real sense of people being pulled in a number of different and sometimes opposing directions; a set of challenges which will be familiar to anyone who might be considered a ‘boundary spanner' (Williams 2002). 

Other key issues were around hidden agendas, lack of clarity in what is expected of the role and tokenism; with one worker describing ‘being parachuted in to rubber stamp things'.   For some the role felt unstable, reflecting temporary or part-time contracts and ‘inadequate resources'.  One worker felt they were precariously ‘standing on tip-toes'; another in a state where they felt they were ‘about to be rained on'. Most could identify with the ambient fear of getting things wrong.

Two statements from the meeting stand out for me. When asked to describe a picture they had drawn of themselves in role, one person said "I'm trying to push the main door open when it seems that service users and carers are only allowed in through a little door that is open at the side!'. Whatever progress may already have been made in involving service users and carers in education and engaging with communities, ‘pushing the main door open' can be a major task. The second image relates to tensions involved in work that breaks new ground. "It's a challenge" one worker said "not being a this or a that"; with colleagues always seeming able to assert much clearer, established and accepted role identities.

   

Supported by the Mental Health in Higher Education (mhhe) project, but with a remit that goes beyond mental health, the DUCIE network meets two to three times a year and has proved a means for the sharing of expertise and experience between those employed in development worker roles. 

 

Blog Posts

Medical Education - Mythology Special Issue

Posted by Jill Anderson on December 12, 2017 at 16:41 0 Comments

Myths and legends exist in every culture. Typically, they are so commonly believed that they are not noticed or questioned by most people within the culture. Even in this day and age of “evidence-based education” many myths survive through assumption, authority, or poorly grounded claims that the evidence says ‘such and such’.

In an effort to shed light on broadly held views that deserve closer scrutiny, if not outright abandonment, Medical Education is planning a…
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Academic Ableism: Disability and higher education - new book

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 24, 2017 at 20:00 0 Comments

Academic Ableism brings together disability studies and institutional critique to recognize the ways that disability is composed in and by higher education, and rewrites the spaces, times, and economies of disability in higher education to place disability front and center.  For too long, argues Jay Timothy Dolmage, disability has been constructed as the antithesis of higher education, often positioned as a distraction, a drain, a problem to be solved. The ethic of…
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Drayton Park women's crisis house - interview with Shirley McNicholas

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 24, 2017 at 16:21 0 Comments

Drayton Park women’s crisis house in North London offers an alternative to hospital admission for women experiencing mental health crises. It was Shirley McNicholas’ vision that brought it into existence and she has been leading the service since it opened.  As it approaches its twentieth anniversary in December, she talks to Anne Cooke.…

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Qualitative conversations - Alec Grant

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 23, 2017 at 17:20 0 Comments

In this episode Alec talks about collaborative autoethnography, hyphen identities and the importance of telling stories that challenge the dominant narrative about mental illness. He shares some ideas about why different writing strategies are important, how to become a better storyteller and the need to write from different perspectives.

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Oppressed majority - film

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 23, 2017 at 9:57 0 Comments

This film may be useful for triggering discussion about how sexism affects mental wellbeing. 

On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women... (10 minutes)

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Enhancing student wellbeing: a handbook for academic educators

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 22, 2017 at 19:51 0 Comments

This handbook offers research-based guidance for academic teachers and leaders – as the drivers of innovation in university teaching and learning – to understand how and why particular curriculum choices or pedagogical approaches might support or undermine the psychological needs and academic outcomes of university students. By providing easily adaptable and transferable ideas for designing curriculum and assessment, and by fostering teaching and learning practices that support student…

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Croatia: out of institutions, into the world

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 19, 2017 at 20:00 0 Comments

More than 8,200 people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in Croatia remain in segregated institutions and psychiatric hospitals with little control over decisions that affect their lives, Human Rights Watch said. While the Croatian government has made some progress in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, the process of moving people out of institutions and into community-based living arrangements has been limited and slow. In a video released by Human Rights Watch,…

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1000 conversations: speaking out on mental health

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 12:34 0 Comments

Stories of people with lived experience of mental health difficulties - shared on the Centre for Mental Health website. 

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Quality in Undergraduate Education: How Powerful Knowledge Disrupts Inequality

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 12:00 0 Comments

Globally, the appetite for higher education is great, but what do students and societies gain? Quality in Undergraduate Education foregrounds the importance of knowledge acquisition at university. Many argue that university education is no longer a public good due to the costs incurred by students who are then motivated by the promise of lucrative employment rather than by studying a discipline for its own sake. McLean, Abbas and Ashwin, however, reveal a…

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International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 11:55 0 Comments

'The International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (IIPDW) was created to respond to a glaring need in mental health: to develop ways for helping people withdraw from psychiatric drugs.

Mental health has failed to provide support to people who want to reduce or withdraw from their psychiatric drugs. Often, people are simply told it is a bad idea, and thus are left to try to reduce or withdraw without the support they need.

Indeed, psychiatric drugs have been…

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