Great teachers and support staff celebrated at UCL Education Awards
6 June 2018
Academic Rep of the Year and Student Choice Awards winners were announced at the lively ceremony on 4 June 2018.
Students and staff celebrated teaching and learning at a ceremony on Wilkin's Terrace co-organised by UCL and Students' Union UCL.
The event, new to UCL's calendar, recognised the achievements of staff and students and their contributions to our learning community.
The event was hosted by Sarah Al-Aride, Education Officer, Students' Union UCL and Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs). UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur presented the Student Choice Awards.
Academic Rep of the Year Award
Introducing the Academic Rep of the Year award, Sarah Al-Aride said:
"I believe a university is best where students and staff work together in partnership to achieve change. Students are pleased when they are actively involved and listened to, when they have opportunity to discuss how issues are responded to and implemented, when they are proactively involved with designing and implementing changes, and they see actions being taken in a timely manner. Students have been involved in various roles this year, as Academic Reps, Student Quality Reviewers, ChangeMakers, and in nominating staff for the Student Choice Awards."
For the first time, Academic Rep of the Year was recognised in each Faculty as well as an overall Academic Rep of the Year award. 233 nominations for this award came from both staff and students.
The Student Academic Representatives scheme is managed by Students' Union UCL and 1600 Academic Reps worked across UCL in 2017-18, sitting on committees at programme (Staff Student Consultative Committees), faculty and university level, where they act as the voice of students.
Overall Academic Rep
Birgit Pimpel, of Population Health Sciences, was named overall Academic Rep of the Year. She was recognised for playing an active role in organising her departmental 3 Minute Thesis heat, and research 'golden hours'. Birgit's peers describe her as 'integral to the student representation at ICH' and 'truly an inspiration!'
Faculty Academic Reps of the Year
- Arts and Humanities: Andrew Mok Yuan Min, who has shown outstanding leadership this year in improving BASc students' access to careers services and campaigning for a focus group to make significant changes to a specific module based on student feedback.
- Social and Historical Sciences: Iida Kayhko for her outstanding ability to work intelligently and constructively with staff to effect change, including improvements in module selection and ensuring that students were not penalised for unwillingness to cross picket lines during the UCU strikes.
- Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment: Joanna McLean, for her hard work and enthusiasm in supporting the new Bartlett Architecture Student Forum and influencing change in personal tutoring systems and portfolio recommendations and guides.
- Engineering: Evelina Vrabie, who successfully resolved her cohort's concerns about grading and marking criteria and established an alumni podcast to inspire current students about career options.
- Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Teja Vaddavalli, who has made a real impact in building the student community in his department through organising popular weekly events that have become a staple of departmental life and been tremendously successful in bringing students together.
- Life Sciences: Martha Watson, who put tremendous energy into gathering student feedback in a variety of ways and managed to solve long-standing student issues within a single year.
- Brain Sciences: Verlina Huang, for her efforts in alleviating the effects on students of the industrial action taken earlier this year, including negotiating deadline extensions, and the removal of missed content from exams.
- Medical Sciences: Aayushi Gupta, who set up a departmental 'Question Time', put together a student FAQ document based on student input, improved materials on hospital placements, and affected real and important change helping to make one module safer and more patient-focused.
- Population Health Sciences: Birgit Pimpel, for her huge positive impact on the social and academic life of her cohort, taking an active role in the postgraduate society, organising social events and representing students.
- Institute of Education: Melissa Navarro Angeles, for her tailored approach to gathering feedback, getting to know students' opinions in person, and making sure that no one was left out of the dialogue.
Student Choice Awards
Student Choice awards recognise excellence in practice, as experienced by students. There were 1086 nominations from students for 622 members of staff who teach or support teaching at UCL.
Sarah Al-Aride said:
"The Student Choice Awards are wholly decided by students, from nomination through to judging the winners, a true example of students leading the way. These awards give students the opportunity to thank the staff who do a great job, and lets staff know that their hard work makes a real difference. These members of staff are what makes a good education at UCL great!"
Three nominees were shortlisted for each of eight awards:
Amazing support staff
- Andrew King, UCL European Social and Political Studies, for his enthusiastic problem-solving and 'speed of light' email responses.
- Lisa Daniels from the Institute of Archaeology, for her ability to keep her department well-informed and her outstanding support of students during stressful periods.
- Adnan Ali, Eastman Dental Institute, for his extraordinary impact on the EDI research student community, helping to set up academic and social events, workshops and networks, and ensuring that students are well-prepared for their careers.
Andrew King. Students in the department have built up their own 'fandom' around Andrew, his amazing responsiveness and enthusiasm for helping students to solve all kinds of practical problems on a complicated programme. In their words, the department "wouldn't be the same without him".
Active student partnership
- Christine Reh, UCL Political Science, for her attitude during the UCU strikes, "helping students to mitigate the negative impact as much as possible without compromising the strike action" and even managing to help students understand the action through linking it to their coursework.
- Evi Katsapi, Institute of Education, for her work with students on Changemakers initiatives and organising careers skills sessions.
- Folashade Akinmolayan, UCL Integrated Engineering Programme, for her outstanding responsiveness to student feedback and commitment to improving academic experience and wellbeing.
Evi Katsapi. Students highlighted how Evi encourages and listens to their opinions, and cares about working with them to improve the department in a student-led fashion. In the words of one student, Evi has established "a collaborative and warm environment within our programme in which students are encouraged to share their thoughts and are treated as partners".
Diverse and inclusive education
- David Roberts, Bartlett School of Architecture, for his highly inclusive and diverse curriculum design and discursive and respectful style of teaching.
- Helga Luthersdottir, UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society, for her progressive and socially conscious module on superhero films.
- Luisa Campos, UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, who has championed inclusive education within her department and has been recognised by the students for the difference she has made to BME, LGBT+, disabled and women students.
Helga Luthersdottir. Helga's teaching foregrounds discussions "concerning gender, sexual orientation, disability, and race and how they are represented in the genre". She has made sure to develop a diverse watch-list, and her students have appreciated her encouragement of critical thinking and questioning towards "whitewashing" and "colonialist and problematic elements in the portrayal of the rest of the world in these films" throughout her module.
Brilliant research-based education
- Brenda Parker, UCL Biochemical Engineering, for consistently linking her module content to new companies, processes and research.
- Lucy O'Brien, UCL Philosophy, for her "refreshing" use of her own research in teaching and encouraging students to pursue their own interests through original research-focused assignments.
- Yasutada Sudo, UCL Psychology and Language Sciences, for his work setting up and involving research students in the London Semantics Network.
Brenda Parker. Students have been particularly enthusiastic about the different ways in which Brenda draws on cutting edge research in academia and in industry through her teaching, including exciting collaborations with relevant guest speakers. One student cited Brenda's encouragement for her group to conduct original research, which she then organised to be presented to a panel of industry experts.
- Alison Hicks, UCL Information Studies, for her constructive and encouraging feedback on assignments and applications.
- Chris Yates, Institute of Education, for detailed and personalised assignment feedback and structured reading suggestions.
- Helen Fielding from the Department of Chemistry, for her quick, clear and considerate feedback, which inspires students to think creatively and critically.
Alison Hicks. Alison's feedback is described as "timely, detailed, specific and clear", as well as highly tailored and containing the right amount of humour. Students have welcomed her feedback as extremely constructive and encouraging of reflection, including ample suggestions for further reading that have expanded their horizons.
Excellent personal tutoring
- Anne Welsh, UCL Information Studies, for providing her students with invaluable emotional support during times of difficulty and helping to find practical solutions.
- Gabriel Moshenska, Institute of Archaeology, for his outstanding advice and support on both personal and academic matters.
- Phyllis Illari, UCL Science and Technology Studies, for her immensely caring and available pastoral support.
Gabriel Moshenska. Gabriel's students describe him not just as caring and available, but as someone who "makes sure that we are doing what we are doing because we love it". He was commended for providing excellent advice, on both personal and academic matters. One student noted the incredible level of support provided by Gabriel in a particularly difficult period, noting simply that "Gabe saved my life".
Inspiring teaching delivery
- Karen Dwyer from the Department of English Language and Literature, for her extremely personal and tailored approach to teaching, getting to know her entire class and adapting her teaching style around students' interests.
- Yiannis Petridis from the Department of Mathematics, for his clear passion for his subject, engaging teaching and dedication to each individual student.
- Yordanka Velkova from SSEES, for her immense passion in reinvigorating Bulgarian language in her department.
Yordanka Velkova. Yordanka has cultivated a great deal of enthusiasm for Bulgarian amongst her students through her passionate teaching, creative ideas for teaching activities, and the way in which she constantly steeps her class in "real world" Bulgarian culture.
Outstanding research supervision
- David Scanlon, UCL Chemistry, for his dedication to establishing collaborative partnerships and building his students' careers.
- Marcos Martinón-Torres, Institute of Archaeology, for his emphasis on his students' development and critical thinking and his enthusiasm and welcoming attitude to the lab.
- Tammaryn Lashley, Institute of Neurology, for excellence in supporting research students who are going through challenging times, and for her belief in students when their own self-confidence is lacking.
David Scanlon. David is extremely popular in his (and other) research groups, and has been commended for the detailed personal attention he pays to each individual student, his enthusiasm in encouraging his groups to work with cutting-edge technologies, and his dedication to helping his students find and make the most of academic opportunities.