First Lancaster Teaching Award announces its winners

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The first year of the Lancaster University Teaching Award has found its winner and runners up, allowing students to congratulate the tutors they feel deserve recognition for their work.

With a panel of students and staff reading through over 50 nominations, the Teaching Award was announced in Week Seven as won Dr Willem Hollmann from the Linguistics and English Language Department. Hollmann failed to comment on his win.

Honourable mentions were made to Professor Mercedes Camino and Professor Jonathon Culpeper for their work.

Talking about both the Teaching Award as a whole and her honourable mention, Camino was humbly grateful- “I am being completely honest when I tell you that it took me completely by surprise (touche), and certainly made my day.” Camino held the award in esteem compared to surveys and other schemes she feels are “numerical and often a bit meaningless.”

Culpeper echoed the award’s difference to other congratulatory schemes- “What is really nice is that the choices for the awards are entirely driven by students. That matters more than the fact that it is a university award.” Teaching doesn’t need a “cabaret”, Culpeper said, but an innovative and fun approach. “And more generally, I try to be warm and friendly, attentive and sympathetic,” he said. His last word went to congratulate the winner- “I was delighted to discover that Willem Hollmann had been awarded one of the prizes, as he is one of my colleagues in the Linguistics Department.”

Professor Amanda Chetwynd, Pro-Chancellor for Colleges and the student experience, played a pivotal role in founding the Teaching Award. She explained the reasons behind creating such an award. “I wanted to give our students an opportunity to nominate the teachers who have inspired them in their studies” she said, and the end result was promising- “I was delighted with the interest shown by students and the number of excellent nominations.”

LUSU VP (Academic) Robin Hughes, who worked closely with Chetwynd on establishing the award, explained that all the information that the student/ staff panel assembled to judge the awards were given was from the nomination forms submitted by the students. He said “I think it’s a great way to encourage and reward innovative teaching and hopefully as the award develops and gains prestige each year it will generate a buzz around exciting teaching.” Hughes said he was most pleased that the students nominating staff were “passionate about the experience they’ve had from great teachers.”

Chetwynd confirmed that after his year’s success the Teaching Award will definitely be an annual event. She expressed a hope that the LUSU Full Time Officer team next year will be “as keen to work together again” throughout the process as this year’s team.

Hughes seconded Chetwynd’s belief that the award could a repeat event each year, “as students and staff alike seem to have taken to it this year.”

Nominations for next year’s award will be accepted during December and March, in order to gather nominations across both teaching terms. The nominations will be publicised and the place to get a form will be announced nearer the time.

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