The Teaching Awards publicity

Students celebrate academics in new teaching awards ceremony

The brilliance of lecturers and support staff at the University of Exeter was recognised at an inaugural Teaching Awards ceremony on 5th May.

The Teaching Awards, developed by Students’ Guild Education Officer Llywelyn Morris, are the first time students at the University of Exeter have been able to formally recognise outstanding teaching and support.

The competition which drew nearly 2000 nominations which were received for five awards categories: Feedback-er of the Year; Innovative Teacher of the Year; Lecturer of the Year; Support Staff Member of the Year; and Tutor of the Year.  Llywelyn Morris said, ‘The Teaching Awards recognise, celebrate and promote excellent teaching. They are about giving students a chance to acknowledge best practice, and saying ‘thank you’ to staff who go above and beyond what is expected of them.’

Students were asked to explain their nominations and these were put forward to student academic representatives who submitted their subject’s leading lights to a panel who came up with shortlists of ten for each category.

The winners were:

  • Feedback-er of the Year: Dr Alex Thompson, Business School
  • Innovative Teacher of the Year: Dr Karen McAuliffe, Law – Cornwall
  • Lecturer of the Year: Dr Richard Winsley, Health and Sports Science
  • Support Staff of the Year: Jay Pengelly (Humanities and Social Sciences – Cornwall)
  • Tutor of the Year: Dr Avril Mewse, Psychology
  • Subject with the Best Employability Record: Business School
  • Subject of the Year: Drama

Comments made by students about staff members during the nomination process were overwhelmingly positive. One student nominating Dr Richard Winsley from the School of Health and Sport Science said of him: “As a student, you want to learn from the best and his combination of incredible knowledge, positive attitude and caring nature bring all the greatest attributes of an educator to one embodiment of teaching greatness.” Meanwhile, Psychology’s Dr Chris Longmore was described as: “A great inspiration! He’s engaging, funny, friendly and approachable. He clearly loves his subject and loves teaching it.”

Winning academics were genuinely touched by comments made about them as part of the nomination process.  Dr Alex Thompson from the Business School, who won Feedback-er of the Year, said ‘I am very honoured to have won such an award, especially at a University that has such a great reputation for teaching excellence.’ 

Dr David Roesner, Head of Drama said, ‘Drama is delighted to have won "Subject of the Year". Winning this award perhaps most aptly reflects the spirit of collegiality and teamwork. We are particularly happy to read the students' praise for our joint efforts to create an exciting and challenging course. On behalf of all Drama staff including our technical and support staff, whose dedication is as essential as our teaching: thank you!’

Innovative Teacher of the Year winner Dr Karen McAuliffe was also flattered by such recognition, she said ‘One of the most interesting aspects about being a lecturer is engaging with students and discovering ways of addressing their many different learning styles.  I try to move away from the traditional 'lecture/seminar' format and use my own research as a basis for what I teach.  So it is particularly nice to receive such positive feedback in this way and very satisfying to find out that students are actually benefiting from the efforts we put into our teaching.”

Date: 10 May 2010