Dr Alfredo Gaitán

Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology

Dr Alfredo Gaitan

I trained in the old school of experimental social psychology (late 70s), but also came across critical social psychology towards the end of my professional degree in Colombia.

During my PhD (University of Southampton 1985-89), I was strongly influenced by ethogenics (e.g. Harré & Secord, 1972; Clarke, 1983), social constructionism (Gergen, 1985) and discourse analysis (Potter & Wetherell, 1987).

In 1990 I returned to Colombia and worked for six years as a lecturer and supervised research in the MSc in Community Psychology. During that time, I took part in a nation-wide project on adolescence named 'ATLANTIDA' over a period of two years using an ethnographic approach. I joined the University of Bedfordshire in 1996. I taught on and was course manager of the MSc in Psychology & Culture until 2004.

For the last 26 years I have taught mainstream Social Psychology as well as Critical Social Psychology and (Qualitative) Research Methods. I have a strong interest in Teaching and Learning and have been involved in promoting Personal Development Planning and supporting the use of ePortfolios. More recently, I have done some work on the notions of Teaching Excellence and Learning Gain. I am a strong believer in the potential of educational experiences to transform learners.

Alfredo Gaitan on ResearchGate

  • Professional Psychologist. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia), 1978-1982. Merit for my research dissertation on the impact of socioeconomic conditions on crime rates
  • PhD in Psychology. University of Southampton (UK). 1985-1989. Dissertation on 'Aggressive interaction understood through discourse: episodes, accounts and narratives'

  • Unit Co-ordinator of Skill Development in Psychology (FYA004-0) and Critical Social Psychology (PSY004-3)
  • Teaching on topics related to social psychology, cultural psychology and qualitative research methods in the following units: Psychological Understanding of Individuals in Society (FYA005-0), Psychological Perspectives on Contemporary Issues (FYA006-0), Cultural and Individual Differences (PSY019-3), Methods of Research in Psychology (PSY016-2), Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative (PSY056-6) and Social Psychology (PSY064-6)
  • Undergraduate dissertation supervision on the topics listed below under 'research interests'

  • Transitions and processes of personal change (e.g. going into higher education, living in-between cultures); (auto)biographical and narrative approaches.
  • Personal Development Planning, realistic learning and learner development in Higher Education (subject knowledge and epistemological beliefs).
  • Construction of subject knowledge and shifts in epistemological beliefs.
  • Construction of social identities (ethnic, cultural, religious), intergroup perceptions, prejudice and discrimination.
  • Explanations of violent events (in personal accounts as well as in the media).
  • Fear of crime, fear of terrorism.

  • From 2005 to 2008 I was a Fellow at Centre of Excellence in Teaching & Learning (Bridges-CETL). This allowed me to take part in debates and research in Teaching and Learning which helped shape the new curriculum at Bedfordshire (also known as 'Cre8'). More specifically, I developed the notions of 'realistic learning' and 'learner development'.
  • From September of 2009 to September of 2012, I was the Academic Director for the undergraduate degrees in Psychology. This was a great opportunity to work in a more administrative role with colleagues and students. In December of 2011, I succeeded in gaining professional recognition from the HEA as a Fellow.
  • I was a Bedfordshire Teaching Fellow (2012-2016). Alongside my teaching, I conducted research into ways on supporting small scale transformations in subject knowledge and epistemological shifts in the students' thinking. I am currently conducting research on Learning Gain captured through ePorfolios and also on students’ perceptions of the impact of a Foundation Year on their Learning Gain
  • I have co-ordinated Education Liaison and chaired the Research Centre for Applied Research Ethics Committee. I was also a member of the Teaching and Learning Action Group.

  • Exploring Learning Gain in the Foundation Year (in conjunction with the Graduate Advancement Programme - GAP). Project with Dr Will Brown (ongoing).
  • An exploratory study of background, academic ability and early engagement as predictors of university students' academic success. Project with Dr William Brown (finished August 2021).
  • Exploring construction of knowledge and epistemological shifts using reflective assessments. Project with Dr Maja Jankowska, Dr Chris Hand, Dr Joseph Adonu and Dr Graham Scott. Internally funded by Faculty of HSS, CEL, Psychology Department (finished 31st July 2013).
  • Cultural Handling of ICT: Enabling Value-Enhancing Responses (ACHIEVER). Project with Dr Nik Bessis and Dr Mitul Chukla from the Department of Computing. Funded by Art Council England (finished December 2008).

  • Minett-Smith, C., Pritchard, D., & Gaitan, A. (2018, July). What learning gain means for teaching and support in the 'connected university'. University of Bedfordshire Annual Staff Conference.
  • Gaitán, A. & Pritchard, D. (2018, May). Do ePortfolios measure up as a strategy to assess Learning Gain?: a pilot study. CRA-AAEEBL International Seminar. Dublin.
  • Barkans, K. & Gaitán, A. (2018, May). Critical analysis of how the media aim to shape people’s emotional experience of acts of terrorism. Poster presented at the BPS Annual Conference. Nottingham.
  • Moreira, A. & Gaitán, A. (2018, May). Understanding Brexit: An analysis of arguments in the Brexit debates. Poster presented at the BPS Annual Conference. Nottingham.
  • Gaitán, A., Ertubey, C, & Adonu, J. (2017 July). Assessing the impact of a final year unit on culture in a psychology course on students' knowledge, attitudes, and national views (webinar). University of Bedfordshire Annual Staff Conference.
  • Gaitán, A. & Brown, W. (2017, July). Using early indicators of engagement in the first year of university to predict students’ academic success and performance (webinar). University of Bedfordshire Annual Staff Conference.

Cook, E. J., Elliott, E., Donald, L., Gaitan, A., Randhawa, G., Cartwright, S., Waqar, M., Egbutah, C., Nduka, I., Guppy, A., & Ali, N. (2023). Knowledge, perceived risk, and attitudes towards COVID-19 protective measures amongst ethnic minorities in the UK: A cross-sectional study. Frontiers in Public Health, 10, 1060694. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3389/fpubh.2022.1060694

Cook, E.J.; Elliott, E.; Gaitan, A.; Nduka, I.; Cartwright, S.; Egbutah, C.; Randhawa, G.; Waqar, M. & Ali, N. (2022). Vaccination against COVID-19: Factors that influence vaccine hesitancy among an ethnically diverse community in the UK. Vaccines, 10, 106. Access online

Gaitán, A. (2017). The peculiar experience of being a complete novice: A reflection on supervising systemic practitioner researchers on a doctoral programme. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, 1(1). Access online

Gaitán, A. & Pritchard, D. (2017). The potential role of ePortfolios in the Teaching Excellence Framework. RAPPORT: The International Journal of Recording Achievement, Planning and ePortfolios, 2(1), 6-17. Access online

Office: A212a

University Square

T: +44 (0)1582 743007
E: alfredo.gaitan@beds.ac.uk


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