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Achievements in UCL teaching and learning recognised at Education Awards

31 May 2019

Academic Rep of the Year, Student Choice Awards and UCL Provost Education Awards announced at grand celebration.

UCL President and Provost with 2019 Education Award winners

The annual Education Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of staff and students and their contributions to our learning community, through:

The event was hosted by Rothna Akhtar, Welfare and International Officer, Students' Union UCL and Professor Deborah Gill, Pro-Vice-Provost for Student Experience and Director of UCL Medical School. UCL Provost Professor Michael Arthur presented the Student Choice and Provost’s Education Awards.

Academic Rep of the Year Award

Academic Rep of the Year was recognised in each Faculty as well as an overall Academic Rep of the Year award.  

There were 233 nominations for this award, 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 2018-19, sitting on committees at programme (Staff Student Consultative Committees), faculty and university level, where they act as the voice of students. 

Introducing the award, Rothna Akhtar said:

It gives me great pleasure to be on this stage this year, to reflect on what students and staff on the ground have achieved in making UCL a better place, working together to make it better day in day out. This year has been great!  Students – you have been more engaged, better supported and equipped, more active in your departments and beyond. Through this, you have developed an incredible experience which will serve you well for the rest of your lives. 

Students are pleased when they are actively involved and listened to, when they are proactively involved with designing and implementing solutions, and they see actions being taken in a timely manner.

 

Faculty Academic Rep of the Year

  • Arts & Humanities, Christos Georgoudakis, who as Course Rep has shown outstanding dedication to the students in MA Film Studies, proactively communicating with course leaders, the students and fellow reps to ensure that student issues were resolved in the department.
  • Social & Historical Sciences, Lena Fricker and Ananya Samuel who as joint Lead Department Reps have shown remarkable professionalism in communicating with both students and staff. They also have made a positive impact in building the student community in their department through organised social events.

  • Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, Nanda Vershoor, for her hard work and enthusiasm as Course Rep, working hard to reflect student views and prompting the department to make assessment requirements clearer to students.
  • Engineering, Fania Christodoulides, who as a Course Rep has made a real impact in building the student community by organising inclusive socials and by leading an initiative to set up humanitarian training for students within her department. 
  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences, Alexa Marroquin, who as Course Rep has collected vast amounts of student feedback and has endeavoured to talk to staff about particular issues that affect the students in her department.

  • Brain Sciences, William Lamb, for his efforts as Course Rep in bringing about change for the better, ensuring that research students in his department have more support and a better student experience.
  • Life Sciences, Martha Watson, who as Lead Department Rep put tremendous energy into gathering student feedback in a variety of ways and has been working with staff to improve student support.
  • Medical Sciences, George Choa, who as Course Rep is always looking for new ways to engage with students, from introducing new module reps within the medical school to championing 24-hour library opening times in July for clinical students.
  • Population Health Sciences, Martin Islam, for his huge positive impact as Course Rep on the social and academic life of his cohort, taking an active role in developing a journal club, organising guest speaker events and representing students. 

  • Laws, Choi Ching Jack, who as Course Rep put tremendous energy into ensuring that the students in his department get the best out of their student experience, from getting a vending machine installed to being proactive in raising student issues. 
     
  • George Choa, Medical Sciences, was named Overall Academic Rep of the Year, It was incredibly difficult for the panel to decide on an overall winner, with every Faculty winner having done an incredible job. George has been actively advocating for student for seven years and has implemented changes whilst working with staff.   

UCL Arena Fellowships 

A total of 295 UCL Arena Fellowships (accredited by the Higher Education Academy) were awarded this year:

  • 114 Associate Fellows
  • 131 Fellows
  • 46 Senior Fellows
  • 5 Principal Fellows 

This brings the total number of Fellowships awarded at UCL to 1,280 (554 Associate Fellows; 540 Fellows; 171 Senior Fellows; 15 Principal Fellows).  

The audience celebrated five colleagues who received Principal Fellowship this year:

  • Christopher O'Callaghan, UCL Institute of Child Health
  • Parama Chaudhury, UCL Economics
  • Sue Taylor, UCL Institute of Education
  • Emanuela Tilley, UCL Engineering 
  • Norbert Pachler, UCL Office of the Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs) and UCL Institute of Education

UCL Education Awards

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 the event.

Individual Awards

  • Eva Renon, Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Institute of the Americas and Arts and Sciences

Eva has stood out as an exemplary teacher with a drive to ensure that all of her students are included and take part in her seminars. She has become a personal tutor for BASc first years, gaining a reputation for giving sound guidance and support. She has engaged with students beyond her immediate academic role, helping set up transition mentoring within the Institute of the Americas.

  • Thomas Kador, Senior Teaching Fellow, Arts and Sciences

Thomas has been awarded for “embodying interdisciplinary, research-based education.” He is an integral part of the BASc programme and as well as leading three of the programme’s core modules has also developed a fourth module that launched this year. Thomas’ own research into object-based learning feeds into his modules and is continuously introducing innovative changes to the curriculum.

  • Juliana Martins, Senior Teaching Fellow, Bartlett School of Planning

Juliana is being awarded for her part in raising the quality of teaching and skills development within the Bartlett School of Planning. She actively supports connections between Alumni and their involvement with teaching and learning activities, taking a leading role in helping her students transition to their future careers. She delivers an excellent teaching experience, using her substantial practice knowledge and experiences to further help her students. 

  • Martyn Towner, Lab Technician, UCL Department of Chemistry

Martyn is a “very proactive and innovative” member of the Chemistry department. He has played an essential part in enhancing the student experience and is a source of outstanding support. He has gone above and beyond his role to ensure that feedback is used to help the department shift towards an innovative research-based laboratory experience.     

  • Sarah Rowe, Senior Fellow, Division of Psychiatry

Sarah has been instrumental in recent changes to assessment and feedback, academic support, and innovation and the use of new technologies within the MSc Mental Health Sciences programme. She encourages student engagement and offers opportunities for skills development within a journal club that she initiated. She has “a highly engaging personality and great enthusiasm both for her subject and for postgraduate education”. 

  • Isidoros Strouthos, Teaching Fellow, UCL Department of Mathematics

Isidoros is a “fantastically charismatic lecturer”, who delivers excellent teaching with ease across his three large modules within the Mathematics department. He personally ensures that all booked rooms are suitable for mathematical teaching, his colleagues appreciate all of his hard work and have even said that Isidoros is “without a doubt one of the best lecturers this department has ever had”.

  • Vanessa Puetz, Senior Teaching Fellow, UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology

Vanessa is being awarded for her extraordinary commitment to students within the MRes Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology programme, who rate her among the best lecturers of the faculty. She has enhanced and transformed the student learning experience by designing new and inclusive learning activities, using a strong research-based education approach and supporting students in their academic and personal development.

  • Jayne Kavanagh, Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow, UCL Medical School

Jayne has been awarded for establishing the flagship widening participation project Target Medicine, the reproductive rights action group for medical students Viva la Vulva and for chairing the Medical School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has significantly enhanced the educational experience for students, introducing innovative teaching on reproductive health and inequality issues, showcasing her belief in empowering and facilitating student and staff. 

  • Jane Simmonds, Departmental Graduate Tutor, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Jane is being awarded for commitment to education. She continually strives to improve the experience of her students.

Jane is always quick to offer support where needed to both those who work and study with her. She always commits 100% to developing new ways of teaching and has been proactive in leading changes in the student experience to better accommodate student needs.

  • Michela Tincani, Lecturer, UCL Economics

Michela is awarded for being a dedicated lecturer who brings a wealth of diversity into the classroom. Her teaching delivery is described as magical and innovative, evolving the material in her lectures each year as a result of student feedback. Michela is described as an “exemplary member of the Economics Department” and a “great example to other faculty members”.

Team Awards

  • Perioperative Medical Education team: Abigail Whiteman, Gautum Kumar, Sam Bampoe, Robert Stephens, David Walker and Anna Szajda

The Perioperative Medical Education team is awarded for their “incredibly rich and diverse award-winning education”. Each team member is a practising clinician with significant on-call commitment and they still find the time to provide readily accessible education to their students.

The team has crafted “a nurturing learning environment” for their students and created a fully online MSc, with more than 250 students enrolled across five continents. Central to the success has been a strong collegiate spirit within the team. They have embraced the Connected Curriculum and have developed a strong research base to their course.

  • Helen Bennion, Andrew Harris, Jonathon Holmes, Tariq Jazeel, Anson Mackay, Johanna Waters and Jason Dittmer, UCL Geography

This team are awarded for radically reforming the first year course of the Geography undergraduate degree. They are commended for showing the department’s commitment to the Connected Curriculum and ability to act of student feedback.

They have helped the first years of UCL Geography develop a sense of identity, helping them feel a part of the community. They created a course that bridges with the Geography A-Level to help students better adapt to university and close gaps that were apparent in the curriculum.

  • MSc in Health Professions Education (HPE) team: Lisa Andrews, Fran Pitman, Natasha Malik, Paul Crampton, Miranda Kronfli, Kerry Boardman, Graham Easton, and Michael Page

The MSc Health Professions Education team in UCL Medical School is awarded for being a highly innovative, student-centred programme which is led by committed and creative individuals. They have developed practices and processes which have had major influence on student learning in the context of assessment and feedback; achievements that were only possible thanks to collaborations across the team with a collective goal to make a genuine impact on the learning of students.


Student Choice Awards

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 let staff know that their hard work has a massive impact on their lives, in the classroom or outside.  There are eight awards, which recognise specific aspects of staff work that are important to students.

There were a record 1478 nominations this year, which recognises 764 individual members of staff across UCL.   

Three nominees were shortlisted for each of eight awards:

Amazing Support Staff

Shortlisted

  • Agnese Benzonelli from the Institute of Archaeology, for taking an active interest in helping students both inside and out of the lab.
  • Clare Lewis and Thomas Kador from Arts and Sciences, for their outstanding support, genuine care for student wellbeing and their ‘uber responsive’ emails.
  • Nadine Mogford from the LIDO PhD programme, for always being available for a chat and for providing her students with opportunities for personal development.

 

Winner

Agnese Benzonelli

Agnese is the friendly face that students first go to when encountering challenges in the lab, she combines a professional attitude with a calming energy to make sure that everyone feels encouraged to ask for help. Her students nominated her for this award to show “how much she is appreciated”.


Active Student Partnership

Shortlisted

  • Dan Carter from The Bartlett School of Architecture, for striving to make the student experience the best it can be by actively seeking out all forms of feedback and ensuring that all of his students know what’s going on.
  • Liz Jones UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, for always being open to feedback and being “more worried about her students’ exams than the students themselves”.
  • Selena Nemorin from the Institute of Education, for her initiative and responsive attitude in working with her students to improve teaching.

Winner

Selena Nemorin

Students “cannot thank Selena enough for all her time and effort” for her commitment to teaching after concerns were raised in her taught module. She ensured that all of her students were included in weekly workshops to help improve the module for future cohorts. Her initiative and responsive attitude is inspirational.


Diverse and Inclusive Education


Shortlisted 

  • Jeff Bowersox from the School of European Languages, Culture and Society, for encouraging his students to “explore matters and concepts of race, racism and prejudice” whilst championing the diverse perspectives of BME female voices.
  • Ashraf Hoque UCL Anthropology, for his “purposeful promotion of alternative narratives and discourses” and encouragement of discussions with students regarding the political-economic factors at play in their own education.
  • Christine Yao from the Department of English Language and Literature, who has championed inclusive education within her department and has been recognised by the students for the difference she has made to BME and LGBT+ students.

Winner

Christine Yao

Christine, or “Xine” as she is locally known, encourages her students to explore writers of colour whose work is not covered in more traditional Modern Literature courses. Her passion for the diverse texts she uses to cover different theories and ideas related to discrimination and dispossession generates experiences for students “unlike any other they have had on the course so far”.


Brilliant Research-Based Education

Shortlisted

  • Suzanne Farid UCL Biochemical Engineering, for consistently linking her module content to new companies, processes and research.
  • Heather Jones UCL History, for encouraging her students to conduct their own research-based studies through assessments in class, making them feel like they are collaborating in cutting-edge research.
  • Meg Russell UCL Political Science, for her use of expert external speakers and cutting-edge perspectives to inspire students.

Winner

Meg Russell

Students have been particularly enthusiastic about the knowledge and insight in British Parliamentary Studies that Meg brings to her module. She encourages students to conduct their own research, and is always ready to discuss how best to approach it. To bring the course content to life, Meg has even organised a trip to Parliament. 


Exceptional Feedback

Shortlisted

  • Susan Askew from the Institute of Education, for her “mind-blowing” feedback which has motivated students and bolstered their confidence in their abilities.
  • Abhishek Bhattacharya UCL Medical School, for giving “exceptional and personal” feedback to each one of his students.
  • Kevin Bryson UCL Computer Science, for using the opportunity to give feedback to help students to better understand concepts he covers in class.

Winner

Abhishek Bhattacharya

Abhishek’s feedback is described as “prompt, detailed, specific and clear”, as well as highly tailored and focuses on how students can improve. It is clear that his teaching has been shaped by constructive feedback from previous cohorts, showing how much he cares for student progression.


Excellent Personal Tutoring

Shortlisted

  • Cloda Jenkins UCL Economics, for going above and beyond to support the needs of all of her students and ensuring that they leave her office with renewed perspectives. 
  • Mark Kristiansen of the Institute of Child Health, for his passion and enthusiasm to help students, ensuring to make time to listen to his students, regardless of how busy he might be.
  • Lidunka Vočadlo UCL Earth Sciences, for always being ready to offer helpful, practical advice and for reaching out to students who are struggling.

Winner

Mark Kristiansen

Mark’s students thank him for being an “amazing personal tutor”, they recognise all of the effort he puts in to supporting all those who talk to him and is there for students even when they do not expect his help. Students within his department know just to drop him an email or go to his office and he’ll readily use his life experiences to give advice on how to overcome issues.


Inspiring Teaching Delivery

Shortlisted

  • Abhishek Bhattacharya UCL Medical School, for going above and beyond his expected role and utilising a range of methods to keep students engaged whilst demonstrating.
  • Hans van de Koot UCL Psychology and Language Sciences, for his clear passion for his subject, engaging teaching and dedication using technology to create a supportive and engaging learning environment.
  • Rasmus Nilsson from SSEES, for bringing an enthusiasm and flexible teaching style to his Monday morning seminars.

Winner

Rasmus Nilsson

Students describe Rasmus as “one of the most passionate, inspiring and supportive” professors within his department. He conducts his seminars in such a way that students actively want to participate and express their views without fear of making mistakes, he is always happy to engage in debates and takes his students on “intellectual adventures”.


Outstanding Research Supervision

Shortlisted

  • Sandra Leaton-Gray from the Institute of Education, for her ‘pulls no punches’ attitude when identifying areas for improvement, contrasting well with her motivation and enthusiasm to help all of her students.
  • David Thornalley UCL Geography, for his consistent and constructive feedback across all aspects of academic life, and for providing mentorship, support and patience to all those he supervises.
  • Miranda Wolpert from Psychology and Language Sciences, whose curiosity, passion and enthusiasm encourages the students she supervises to explore their own questions and ideas without self-doubt.

Winner

Miranda Wolpert

Miranda is “highly inspiring and exciting from an intellectual perspective”, bringing the right balance between providing guidance and letting her students take ownership of their research. Her students are very grateful for how “incredibly supportive and encouraging she is”.