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Mrs. Jessica Sequera

Assistant Professor (Teaching)


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Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD)  


Personal Profile

I am the Academic Development for Students (ADS) Programme Leader. Our team develops and enhances students’ academic skills both in their departments and through our Academic Skills programme. Our sessions draw on current Applied Linguistics research, including genre theory, discipline specific understanding of academic practice values and approaches, discourse analysis of academic texts/exemplar student samples, and skills based approaches to listening and speaking. I also lead the team in providing one-to-one academic writing consultations for individual students from all disciplines. Through these consultations, we support students in different stages of the reading and writing process, from thinking and planning a piece of work through to drafting and revising.

On the summer pre-sessional, I co-lead the transitions week, which includes collaborating with departments to provide discipline specific support for students. I am also the current External Examiner for the University of Manchester’s Erasmus and Exchange modules through the University Language Centre, and I am a Critical Friend for their Academic Success In-sessional programme.

In addition to my leadership roles, I tutor students in one-to one writing consultations, and I teach and at times design materials for many programmes, including for the Academic Skills Programme, In- departmental provision, and the Pre-sessional. For the MA in Teaching English as a Second/Other Language and Applied Linguistics, I am a dissertation supervisor and an academic advisor. I also co-convene the Dissertation support module which helps students through all stages of their writing process, from the proposal to the writing of the different dissertation chapters.

One of my previous roles was as the online materials developer for the FOCUS project with fellow DCAD colleagues Professors Megan Bruce and Simon Rees. Megan and Simon developed a bespoke Durham University student academic writing corpus (FOCUS), and my role was to design online materials using the corpus for 3 departments: Chemistry, Sport and the PGCE programme in Education. For the PGCE project, we published an article as can be seen below.

Prior to this, I had a diverse teaching career beginning as a high school Spanish language teacher (Pilot Point, Texas) where I pioneered the Total Physical Response Storytelling method in my school for 2 years. After moving to the UK in 2005 to pursue a Masters in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, I continued training teachers in this method on the Japanese English Language Teacher Programme at the University of Birmingham.

I began my English for Academic Purposes (EAP) career through teaching on the Pre-sessional at the University of Birmingham, where I worked for 3 years with mostly postgraduate International students from a range of disciplines, including Economics, Engineering, Social Sciences and Computer Sciences. In addition to this role, I taught various undergraduate linguistics modules as a Visiting Lecturer in the School of English at Birmingham City University. My other roles have included being an English teacher both in secondary schools and in further education and a dissertation supervisor for MA Linguistics students at the University of Birmingham.

Conference presentations

  • A Tale of Two Insessionals: Challenges and Opportunities as Explored through a Critical Friend Relationship. Durham University Professional Issues Meeting National Conference. June 2021. (Presented with colleague Rob Marks, Head of the Academic Success Programme, University of Manchester) 
  • Increasing student engagement with asynchronous within- department in-sessional materials for ‘Home’ and ‘International’ Postgraduate and Undergraduate students as part of the Symposium entitled 'EAP in the time of Covid-19: Opportunities and Challenges in Supporting Access, Engagement and Transitions'. BALEAP Biennial conference, April 2021. (Presented with colleague Clare Carr)
  • Use of Kaltura media capture in providing formative feedback on process essays. Durham University Teaching and Learning conference, September 2019
  • FOCUS project: Using a corpus to develop online student activities. BAAL conference, September 2018 (Presented with colleague Megan Bruce)
  • Development of online activities to support PGCE students’ academic writing. Durham University Teaching and Learning conference, September 2018. (Presented with colleagues Megan Bruce and Rachel Simpson)
  • Write on the Edge: Using Xerte Online Toolkit corpus-based teaching activities to support Sport and Education students in writing assessments in unfamiliar genres. Durham University Teaching and Learning conference, September 2017 (Presented with colleague Megan Bruce)
  • FOCUS project, Using a corpus to develop online student activities. Three Rivers Conference, Teeside University, March 2017
  • FOCUS project, Using a corpus to develop online student activities. BAAL Corpus SIG Symposium, March 2017 Durham University (Presented with colleague Megan Bruce)
  • FOCUS project, Using Xerte and Blackboard to develop online student activities. Blackboard Users Conference, Durham University, January 2017 (Presented with colleague Megan Bruce)
  • Developing materials for developing listening: helping International students make the most of lectures. Durham University Inaugural Teaching and Learning Conference, September 2016 (Presented with colleagues Michelle Joubert, Gillian Powell and Lesley Kendall)
  • FOCUS project: Using a corpus to develop online student activities. Durham Teaching Technologies Workshop, Durham University, June 2016 (Presented with colleague Simon Rees)
  • Developing Materials for Listening and Speaking in English for Academic Purposes: Process and Product.Three Rivers Conference, Northumbria University, March 2016 (Presented with colleague Michelle Joubert)
  • Process, planning and routine in a shifting EAP context: challenges, strategies and solutions. BALEAP PIM, Sheffield University, November 2015 (Presented with colleagues Michelle Joubert and Helen Costello)