34 teachers nominated by students in awards

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This year’s Lancaster Teaching Awards have been won by Dr Christine Shirras (Department of Biomedical and Life Sciences) and Dr Catherine Fritz (Department of Educational Research).

The award, now in its second year, was developed between the University and Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) as a way to recognise excellent teaching.

Students were asked to nominate inspiring teachers earlier this year. 158 nominations were received from students for 34 teachers, from which the winners were selected by a panel of staff and students.

The University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Colleges and the Student Experience, Professor Amanda Chetywnd, praised the “fantastic response” to the award, reflected in the number of nominations.

Chetwynd extended her thanks to students for their nominations.

One student, nominating Dr Shirras, wrote that “She is always there if we need her and puts lots of effort into her lectures and how she presents things in different ways to help us understand and is always smiling.”

Another wrote: “Christine has engaged me in all the subjects she has taught by taking a bright and hands-on approach in her teaching style. She is incredibly friendly and very approachable and explains things in very clear terms.”

Speaking to the University’s website, Dr Shirras said that “I am absolutely delighted to have been given this award.

“It means a great deal to me to have been nominated by the students themselves and I am so glad that my teaching techniques have proved effective in engaging and inspiring them.”

Dr. Fritz was praised by students for being “an amazingly talented orator,” who “never fails to find time for anyone who needs help.”

“Catherine’s enthusiasm is what inspires me most. Even when teaching things that the class as a whole is finding difficult, she remains positive and offers a lot of support,” said one student.

Another added that “classes are always fun, interactive, helpful and engaging.”

In response, Dr Fritz told the University’s website that “We are lucky to have such excellent students – because teaching and learning are collaborative processes – so success in teaching can only occur when the students bring and apply their energies to the process.”

In addition, five lecturers were highly commended by the awarding panel. These were Caroline Elliott (Economics), Agata Fikalkowski (Law), Charlie Gere (LICA), Aristotle Kallis (History) and Tony McEnery (English Language and Linguistics).

Professor Chetwynd told the University’s website that “we were pleased to receive so many impressive nominations and by the detailed and complimentary comments from students who feel that the teaching at Lancaster is of a very high standard.”

In the 2011 National Student Survey (NSS), 84% of Lancaster students said that teachers made their particular subject interesting.

The Teaching Awards 2012 will be awarded as part of degree ceremonies from the 17-20 July.


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