Provost's Perspective: Teaching Awards 2015
12 June 2015
On 8 June, I presented awards to the winners of the 2015 Provost's Teaching Awards and UCL Union Student Choice Teaching Awards.
Provost's Teaching Awards
The Provost's Teaching Awards are in their ninth year. They showcase some of the fantastic work our academic and support staff are doing with UCL students, and highlight in particular ways in which nominees have successfully incorporated innovations, such as e-learning, into their teaching.
The awards also recognise the work of Postgraduate Teaching Assistants and the achievements that go above and beyond what might be expected from some at the earliest stages of their teaching career. Our support staff are also congratulated since their role can make such a difference to your experience of being taught at UCL.
A new award - Leadership in Education - was created this year to acknowledge the academic and support staff who have a long-term and far-reaching impact on education by 'thinking bigger' than their role officially demands.
Student Choice Teaching Awards
The annual Student Teaching Choice Awards allow you to let us know who has inspired you and helped you to shape your learning during your time at UCL. The awards are completely led by students: you determine the categories, set the criteria, make the nominations and decide who wins the awards. It's an excellent way to say thank you.
I was particularly pleased at the level of student engagement this year. We had the highest number of nominations ever: 366 for 222 members of staff. In fact, the judging panel, which is made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the university, were so impressed with the calibre of the nominees that they found it impossible to pick just one winner for each of the four categories, decided instead that the top three to four candidates should share the awards.
Judy Medrington (UCL Institute of Archaeology) deserves special mention. She has won the Outstanding Personal Support award for a third consecutive year. This is a phenomenal achievement and reflects the dedication and enthusiasm with which Judy works with students. The work carried out by teaching and administrative staff such as Judy is vital to the success of UCL. I know that you really value high quality teaching, so please help us celebrate those individuals in the university who are having the greatest impact on your learning.
Our commitment to teaching excellence
Many students and staff particularly appreciate the role that research plays in contribution to the distinctiveness of a UCL education. We want to bring you closer to the real-world research happening at UCL and beyond, and this is reflected in our 20-year plan for the university (UCL 2034). Indeed, it has provided the inspiration for our Connected Curriculum initiative. Connected Curriculum champions a research-based education; that is, you become partners in your own teaching and learning through engagement with research and practical opportunities. You will notice how many of this year's award-winners have taken that pledge seriously and are actively closing the divide between research and teaching.
In the future, we will continue to work towards our goal of becoming a world leader in the integration of research and education. We want you to leave UCL not only with a body of knowledge but also with the professional and personal skills necessary for life after graduation. This year we have made progress in many areas that will help make this a reality.
It was fantastic to see a wide range of innovative educational practices showcased at the Teaching and Learning Conference in April, when staff from across the institution gave more than 100 presentations in total. You have given positive feedback about the event and we will continue to listen to what you think works.
Colleagues from the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) work within all our departments to support staff and students with all aspects of teaching and learning. I encourage you to work with them to share your ideas and experience of a UCL education through UCL ChangeMakers.
The next five years of teaching and learning
We are also now thinking about a plan for the next five years of teaching and learning at UCL. The merger with the Institute of Education has brought us unrivalled opportunities to learn from a world-leader in research into education about how UCL can best become as innovative, excellent, reliable and prestigious for teaching as we are for research.
Your views will also be central to our planning. What have you experienced that works really well? What can we improve? The Education Strategy 2015-20 consultation is now live and I would strongly encourage you to share your opinions. Another cornerstone of our efforts is the work being carried out to improve the estate, to ensure students and teachers alike can make the best of the unique opportunities that UCL offers as a teaching environment. Again, let us know what you think.
Professor Michael Arthur
UCL President & Provost