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Achievements in UCL teaching and learning recognised at Education Awards

Academic Rep of the Year, Student Choice Awards and UCL Education Awards announced at lively ceremony.

Winners collect their awards at the Education Awards 2018 at UCL

6 June 2018

The Education Awards brought staff and students to Wilkins Terrace to celebrate teaching and learning at UCL.

The event, new to UCL’s calendar, recognised the achievements of staff and students and their contributions to our learning community through:

The event was hosted by Sarah Al-Aride, Education Officer, Students' Union and Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs). UCL Provost Professor Michael Arthur presented the Student Choice and UCL Education Awards.

Academic Rep of the Year Award

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 1,600 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. 

Introducing the 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."  

Faculty Academic Rep 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Birgit Pimpel was named Overall Academic Rep of the Year, 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 UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) ” and “truly an inspiration!”

UCL Arena Fellowships

A total of 173 UCL Arena Fellowships (accredited by the Higher Education Academy) were awarded this year:

  • 74 Associate Fellows
  • 71 Fellows
  • 24 Senior Fellows
  • 4 Principal Fellows 

This brings the total number of Fellowships awarded at UCL to 860 (440 Associate Fellows; 352 Fellows; 96 Senior Fellows; 10 Principal Fellows).  

The audience heard from three colleagues who received Fellowships this year:

  • Judith Yargawa, a PhD student in the Institute for Global Health
  • Asma Buanz, a Research Fellow in the School of Pharmacy; and
  • Lucy Handscomb, a Clinical Scientist in the Ear Institute.  

Student Choice awards

There were 1,086 nominations from students for 622 members of staff across UCL. 

Three nominees were shortlisted for each of eight awards:

Amazing support staff 

Shortlist

  • 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 (EDI), 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.

Winner

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 

Shortlist

  • 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 (IEP), for her outstanding responsiveness to student feedback and commitment to improving academic experience and wellbeing.

Winner

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 

Shortlist

  • 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.

Winner

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

Shortlist

  • 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.

Winner

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.

Exceptional feedback

Shortlist

  • 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.

Winner

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

Shortlist

  • 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.

Winner

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

Shortlist

  • 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 the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), for her immense passion in reinvigorating Bulgarian language in her department.

Winner

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

Shortlist

  • 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.

Winner

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.

UCL Education Awards

While the Student Choice Awards focus on rewarding excellence in practice, as experienced by students, the UCL Education Awards recognise the work of colleagues that is less visible to students, work that has enabled excellent practice or facilitated innovation in teaching and learning.

As well as recognising the work of postgraduate students who teach, individual colleagues and teams can be nominated.  Any member of staff can nominate an individual staff member or team for these awards.

Nominations were considered at the Faculty level and then put forward to the awards panel. All 39 individual nominations and 12 team nominations received a UCL Education Award, the full list can be found here. The awards panel then identified exceptional individuals and teams to receive a Provost’s Education Award, which carries a financial reward. 

The following 12 individuals and 3 teams received Provost’s Education Awards at this event.  

Individual awards

Mark Lake, Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute of Archaeology 

Mark has an exceptional track-record of teaching innovation and excellence, but his award centres around his leadership in curriculum development. Mark is widely cited as an exemplar of the Connected Curriculum, and his development of the module 'Archaeology in the World' has been used across UCL as a case study in research-based education and digital learning.

Within the Institute of Archaeology , colleagues note that Mark has contributed more to the sustained development of teaching than anyone else.   

Geraldine Brodie, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Translation Studies (CenTraS),  Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII),  School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS)

Geraldine has pioneered crucially important behind-the-scenes work relating to student support and the advancement of best teaching practice.  She has a track record of transforming the teaching and learning environment for her students and colleagues. Of many of her achievements, Geraldine worked to convert the SELCS Writing Lab from a temporarily funded occasional individual tutorial support system for SELCS undergraduate students to a faculty-wide entity, offering a range of targeted writing workshops in addition to tutorials, and available to undergraduate and postgraduate students throughout the academic year.   

Gonzalo Paz Pardo, Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, UCL Economics 

Gonzalo is the only Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) awarded in the UCL Education Awards.  Economics note that the educational strategy of the department is dependent on the work of exceptionally dedicated PGTA’s, such as Gonzalo. Gonzalo’s level of carefulness, empathy and deep regard for the teaching activity in someone that is also a researcher in training, and a very good one at that, makes him a model for all PGTAs at UCL and well beyond.

Gonzalo is described as an outstanding teaching, a dependable and supportive guide for junior staff and an invaluable contributor.  

Christian Schuster, Lecturer, Political Science 

Christian is being awarded for his outstanding efforts to link teaching to the world of practice. As part of his course teaching and in his role as Head of Teaching, Christian has pushed the frontier on connecting the department’s public policy teaching with the policy workplace. He has established links with clients such as Lambeth Council, as well as numerous guest speakers from the policy world, which directly link to a week’s classroom teaching to place UCL ahead of competitors.  

David Walker, Senior Lecturer, Medical Sciences 

David has been awarded for his enormous contribution to education at UCL and beyond. David set up a pioneering distance learning MSc programme within the division of Medical Sciences that brings together a Faculty of more than 60 leading International experts and a group of UCL Education colleagues. Together they have grown the portfolio of Perioperative Medicine learning to 129 countries across the world and more than 8,000 students. 

David excels in many areas and has also recently achieved Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Rachel Rees, Principal Teaching Fellow, Department of Language and Cognition, Psychology & Language Sciences

Rachel has been awarded for her consistent display of leadership and innovation.  Described as an “inspirational leader of students and staff, innovator of educational practice, with a real passion for quality in education.” 

Rachel has an exemplary track record of outstanding educational leadership of both staff and students, together with innovations in education that show impacted not only at course level, but across UCL and, increasingly, nationally.  

Lynsie Chew, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Management 

Lynsie is being awarded for her passion and abilities in education and scholarship, where she consistently enriches both face to face and online learning experiences. Amongst other achievements, Lynsie created and managed a UK national award winning business simulation, Icarus which receives extensive national IT and learning related press and social media coverage.    

Elisabete Cidre, Principal Teaching Fellow, Bartlett School of Planning 

Elisabete has been instrumental in driving the undergraduate offer of the Bartlett School of Planning forward, completely reshaping and improving all aspects of content and delivery.  She is continually improving and seeks out opportunities for innovation, introducing new ways of teaching and helping the students get the most from their time at UCL.

Elisabete is described by her colleagues as “inspired by a student-led ethos that listens to their needs and aspirations to foster an enhanced student experience."

Priti Parikh, Senior Lecturer, Department of Civil, Environmetal & Geomatic Engineering 

Priti has made a ground breaking contribution to engineering and development teaching in her department and as such a contribution to the student experience in the Engineering.  Priti facilitated over 100 students to engage with international organisations through volunteer placements at UCL and has forged a partnership with Royal Academy of Engineers which will now see students working closely with entrepreneurs in Africa on funded placements.  

Her passion for education is noted by both colleagues and students and she was recently selected to be part of the exhibition profiles 24 women from across UCL who inspire those around them.  She is described as "changing the world using engineering".  

Jane Rendell, Professor, The Bartlett School of Architecture 

Jane has been awarded for her long-term work on ethics in built environment teaching, research and professional practice and her department believes she is a real star!  Jane’s pioneering ethical inquiry inspires reflexive, supportive, creative education of the future built environment practitioners and it is precisely this sort of unsung, but vital work that merits recognition with a UCL Education Award.  

Tim Beasley-Murray, Senior Lecturer, Office Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs) and School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Tim is being awarded for his outstanding work and leadership on the Global Citizenship Programme. From 2013 to 2017, the programme has grown from a pilot involving 100 students to seeing 800 students each year, a true highlight of the UCL academic year.  Tim is now leading a second key project relating to UCL’s Education Strategy, the Introductory Programme. Tim’s enthusiasm and intellectual rigour have contributed hugely to the success of these innovative programmes.

Lizzie Vinton, Assessment Regulations and Governance Manager, Academic Services 

Since Joining UCL in 2015, Lizzie has led a project to reform UCL’s disparate academic regulations into a single, clear set of regulations which are easy to navigate and fair for students. Thanks to Lizzie, UCL now has in place a regulatory regime that is unified and an easily accessible Academic Manual with everything in one place, clear and precise regulatory language. UCL’s now vastly improved Extenuating Circumstances (EC) policy is worth singling out as a highlight. Lizzie’s work is recognised nationally and it is clear that she has bought about a transformation to the student experience.  

Team awards

UCL Public International Law Pro Bono Project

Kimberley Trapp, Alex Mills, Luis Viveros, Chris O'Meara, Ed Robinson and Niko Pavlopoulos, Academics, students and research participants, Laws. 

Established to provide LLM and PhD students the opportunity to work, individually and collaboratively and to make a positive contribution to the world, the UCL Public International Law Pro Bono Project is being awarded for its engagement in cutting edge legal research.  

The project, which offers advice to assist leading international organisations in addressing some of the world’s most pressing and difficult challenges has proven exceedingly successful in a short period of time. The impact and value to the students and staff involved, and also to external stakeholders, has exceeded expectations and truly embodies UCL’s ethos of London’s global university.    

Centre for Teaching and Learning in Economics

Awarded for their efforts to encourage cultural change, the Centre for Learning and Teaching in Economics was set up in 2015 to foster a greater teaching ethos and to encourage greater interaction with research-based education. The team developed a holistic approach and included Faculty, students and the professional services team, where they developed a series of initiatives and innovations to embed active research across all modules.  This will be rolled out from fully from 2018/19. The Centre is truly revolutionising the way economist’s education and are educated.  

BSc in Biomedical Sciences

Professor Leslie Dale, Dr Tom Hawkins, Dr Pam Houston, Dr Margaret Mayston, Dr Julie Pitcher, Mrs Nidhi Rathod, Dr Richard Tunwell, Professor Talvinder Sihra, Division of Biosciences 

The team has been commended for providing a “stellar example” of teamwork required to create an exceptional interdisciplinary degree with fantastic student experience on the BSc in Biomedical Sciences. However, getting to this point wasn’t easy.  The team has done outstanding work in collaborating to create a series processes to ensure a world-class programme.  This degree programme is now the flagship degree programme and has been recognised externally. The team has demonstrated excellence in a wide range of ways, including their thoughtful approach to organisation, academic integrity and responsiveness to student experience.