Teaching & Learning


Initiatives and resources supporting the objectives of UCL's Education Strategy 2016-21


Winners 2013

The winners of the Provost's Teaching Awards 2013 are detailed below: 

  • Dr Adrien Desjardins, UCL Medical Physics and Bioengineering

Adrien is a Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering. His teaching interests are centred on the development and evaluation of techniques for students to contribute to their learning environment. He was awarded two E-Learning Development Grants to develop a novel framework for students to share e-learning videos with a global audience and to critique the works of their peers. This framework has been integrated into two undergraduate courses at UCL. His research interests span biophysics, bioengineering, medical imaging, and minimally invasive devices. He recently received a European Research Council Starting Grant and an EPSRC First Grant to develop novel medical imaging and sensing systems for guiding minimally invasive procedures in the human body.

  • Dr Richard Milne, Centre for Virology

Richard is a Lecturer in Virology in the UCL Division of Infection and Immunity, based in the Clinical Virology Department at the Royal Free Campus. His research interest is virus-host interactions. He teaches virology and infection to science undergraduates, postgraduates and medical students.

This award recognises Richard’s introduction of peer review to the coursework component of the second-year ‘Infection’ module he runs. He had been disappointed with the quality of the coursework essays and decided to do something about it. Students were required to submit a draft version of their essay which was then reviewed by one of their peers. The results were encouraging: the average mark went up one degree class and, more broadly, the students acquired a transferrable skill.

  • Dr Benn Thomsen, UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Benn’s Provost’s Teaching Award is for the introduction of week-long engineering scenarios into Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Benn joined UCL in 2004 as a postdoctoral researcher in the area of optical communication, and became a Lecturer in 2007. He strongly believes that you only gain mastery of a subject if you practise it or teach it, and brings this practice element into his courses either through hands-on assignments or scenarios. The application of engineering through the open problems posed by scenarios gives the students the opportunity to hone their engineering skills across the entire engineering design process, from initial conception to prototyping, testing and refinement and on to the final system demonstration. The facilitative and interactive nature of teaching that occurs within a scenario not only provides a really positive learning and feedback experience for students but is also extremely rewarding for the teacher.

  • Professor Chris Barker, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (joint award)

Chris is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology. He has a BA from Cambridge and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. Throughout his career he has worked closely with Professor Nancy Pistrang, including a job-share for many years. His research examines the communication of psychological help and support in diverse clinical and community settings. His teaching centres on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, where, together with Nancy Pistrang, he is the joint Research Director. Chris is responsible both for teaching fundamental research methods and for helping to support students carry out their doctoral research, often within complex working clinical settings. He is an author of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology (with Nancy Pistrang and Robert Elliott).

  • Professor Nancy Pistrang, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (joint award)

Nancy is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology. She has a BA from Yale and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. Throughout her career she has worked closely with Professor Chris Barker, including a job-share for many years. Nancy’s research examines the communication of psychological help and support in diverse clinical and community settings. Her teaching centres on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, where she is the joint Research Director, and is responsible both for teaching fundamental research methods and for helping to support students carry out their doctoral research, often within complex working clinical settings. She is an author of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology (with Chris Barker and Robert Elliott).

  • Dr Elizabeth Benjamin, Research Department of Pathology, Cancer Institute

Pathology is vital to the understanding of medicine and education of our future doctors. Elizabeth has a keen interest in the development of pathology museums and in the use of pathological specimens for teaching. UCL possesses a unique collection of specimens acquired from many London teaching hospitals which provide a valuable teaching resource. It will not be possible to assemble such collections in the future.

Elizabeth has demonstrated innovative use of these specimens in adapting them for the current medical curriculum with initiatives such as ‘pop-up museums’ and portable, modular teaching collections which allow their display at different campus sites, to different student groups and covering different topics for interactive teaching. Their use has been extended to MSc teaching and for public engagement. These initiatives enhance pathology pedagogy and the quality of pathology education at UCL.

  • Dr Marcos Martinón-Torres, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Marcos is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Science and Material Culture at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, where he co-ordinates an MSc in the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials and supervises a good number of international research students. He specialises on the science-based study of archaeological remains, with past and ongoing projects focusing on medieval alchemy in Europe, Pre-Columbian gold in America and the Terracotta Army of China. Marcos strives to use teaching and assessment methods that are explicitly cross-disciplinary, capitalise on the diversity of his students’ strengths and encourage knowledge exchange through peer-support, object analysis and teamwork. Marcos claims his students learn more from one another, and from interaction with PhD students, than from him. He typically teaches science in archaeology, but also brings archaeology to science departments and to the wider public.

  • Professor Andrew Fisher, UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy

Andrew has taught at UCL in the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1995 and is now a Professor of Physics; he is also a Principal Investigator in the London Centre for Nanotechnology. He has taught a range of subjects to undergraduates in Physics, Astrophysics and (more recently) Natural Sciences; he has particularly enjoyed the challenge of engaging students with parts of the physics syllabus that are traditionally found to be more mathematically or conceptually demanding. His research aims at understanding the limits of quantum physics in nano-structures, and the implications of those limits for future technologies such as quantum information processing.

  • Mr Mike Rowson, UCL Institute for Global Health

"I’m a Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of Education at UCL’s Institute for Global Health. My job is to teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules and to develop the Institute’s education activities. Over the past few years I have focused on putting together a cross-faculty MSc in Global Health and Development, in recognition of the fact that promoting global health is about far more than providing effective medicines – it’s about dealing with poverty and injustices too. My professional background is in the NGO sector as a former Executive Director of global health charity Medact and so I see a seamless link between my careers!

"I feel very honoured to get this award and want to say thanks to my colleagues and fantastic students who make it all a real pleasure."

  • Ms Jo Volley, Slade School of Fine Art

"As a Lecturer at the Slade since 1986, my experimental approaches to questioning how and why we engage with materials has been at the forefront of my work as an artist. Through teaching, I am concerned with the ways in which the contemporary painter considers, believes or understands that knowledge of methods and materials is relevant to the creative process. As a teacher, I create situations, tools and learning environments that empower the students by giving weight to the activity of making and reaffirm the understanding of craftsmanship and materials in relation to aesthetic decision-making. I would like to thank my colleagues and the students of the Slade who support these ideas and help create such a rewarding and exciting place to teach."

  • Dr Andrew Wills, UCL Department of Chemistry

Andrew started teaching at UCL Chemistry in 2001. He is particularly interested in how information flows during teaching and is a great champion of using technology to provide new ways to shape the different dynamics involved in education. In 2012 he became Director of Studies in Chemistry and uses this opportunity to help drive the adoption of innovations that improve the quality of our student learning experiences. He believes that better teaching does not necessarily equate to more work, and has developed a side line in creating new software that enables staff to more effectively teach and save time during their day-to-day work. Many of these grow from a childhood belief that his BBC computer should do the tiresome things that he didn’t want to do, such as maths homework.

  • Mrs Stefanie Anyadi, UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences

Stefanie took up a post as Departmental Secretary in 1991 and has been involved in teaching administration at UCL ever since. She has instigated a number of projects to support innovative approaches to teaching in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, including the use of personal response systems, the development of Moodle templates and PeerWise. She has supported the personal and professional development of Teaching Administrators in her team and across UCL, for example she is a founding member of the organising committee for the annual UCL Teaching Administrator Conference. These events have enabled Teaching Administrators to share good practice and to build a much-valued support network. Stefanie is one of the project managers of the Digital Department project, which supports Teaching Administrator development and accreditation at UCL.

  • Mr Adam Townsend, UCL Department of Mathematics

"In teaching a mathematical methods course for UCL’s new BASc, I faced a challenge: how do you bring a traditional mathematics education to such an innovative programme? Engagement using social media has been a wonderful answer, providing lively forums throughout the year as well as allowing some interesting micromanaging. Setting up peer-learning sessions over breakfast worked out fantastically for both understanding and communication skills. I was keen to exploit the wealth of online learning material as well, complementing my lectures and preparing students for an international world. And in following education trends, I was able to trial new classroom techniques and get immediate feedback. As ever, thanks go to both the mathematics and BASc departments for their endless support, and of course my MATH1403 students, who are truly stars and a pleasure to teach."

  • Bartlett FEM team: Professor Alexi Marmot, Mr Peter McLennan, Dr Fuzhan Nasiri, Professor Michael Pitt and Dr Ljiljana Marjanovic-Halburd (joint award)

Global delivery of a Master's programme using blended learning has been developed by the Bartlett team responsible for the MSc in Facility and Environment Management.

The course is delivered via traditional face-to-face teaching in London and live video and block teaching in Singapore. Moodle is used extensively for course materials including lectures on video and a discussion forum, and the team have also introduced video-conferencing technology through one-click booking and video tutorials in order to improve academic and pastoral care for the Singapore cohort.

Enrolment has more than doubled and grades between both student cohorts are comparable. The blended learning model can be replicated in other geographies or extended into distance learning.

  • UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering team: Professor Nick Tyler, Professor Richard Simons, Dr Paul Greening and Dr Julia Stegemann (joint award)

Nominally awarded to founding Programme Directors Professor Richard Simons and Dr Julia Stegemann, Head of Department Professor Nick Tyler and Director of Studies Dr Paul Greening, this award applies to all teaching staff in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering for their contributions to developing and delivering radically new undergraduate degree programmes which opened for business in 2006.

The new programmes have transformed the teaching and learning experiences of staff and students in the department. They couple a rigorous technical education with broader contextual courses in a framework punctuated by a series of stimulating multi-disciplinary projects – ‘scenarios’ – that motivate students to ‘change the world’.

The introduction and delivery of the programmes is an excellent example of academic and administrative collaboration within the department and across College. The outcome has been a genuine engagement of students with their studies throughout the degree programmes, a dramatic reduction in dropout and failure rates and a significant improvement in final degree grades.

All individual winners were given a salary bonus of £2,500; the winners of the Team Collaboration award were given £5,000 to share. Each winner received a framed certificate and all those who attended the awards ceremony were personally congratulated by the Provost.