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Aspire Awards 2018

Posted 20 September

"The University has a strong reputation for its academic work, but the awards also celebrate the contributions of outstanding professional services staff."

Graham Scott receiving his Teaching Excellence award

Graham Scott receiving his Teaching Excellence award

Eight staff and one staff team have been rewarded for excellence in relation to learning, teaching and the student experience at Harper Adams University under the Aspire Award scheme.

Lydia Arnold, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer, wrote:

Each year staff and students nominate staff members for Aspire Awards, in recognition of them going the extra mile in making a difference to the university, and particularly for the student experience. The awards are worth £6,750 in funding.

This year we received over 180 nominations for excellence, which in itself is a reflection of the outstanding efforts of university staff.

There were many deserving nominees and the panel who reviewed applications had some difficult decisions. The panel made the unusual decision of adding an additional award, in the face of so many nominations.

Those given the awards stood out, and all are worthy winners. Each award winner was presented with a certificate by the Vice Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn and the Students’ Union President Georgie Marland during the Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference earlier this week.

The award winners are:

Teaching Excellence
• Graham Scott
Graham was selected particularly for his support for first and second year students. First and second year students have noted how much Graham enthuses them about their subject, in both larger classes and on a one-to-one basis. He ensures active classes and incorporates engaging animal related field trips. His students referred to him as ‘a truly inspiring man’.
• Louise Manning
Always happy, always willing to help and a very passionate lecture sums up what Louise’s students said about her. A leader in classroom use of lecture recordings, which her students really appreciate, Louise is described as an all-round excellent lecturer.
• Dimitrios Paparas
Despite teaching a subject that many non-major students struggle with, and are not naturally drawn to, Dimitrios has been nominated for making economics interesting! He was nominated by staff and students. His compassionate and caring nature was also noted, as, in one student’s words ‘he strives to see the best in every student’.

Wider Student Experience
• Dave Coleman
Described by his students as a ‘true asset’ he regularly goes the extra mile to support students with complex project work. Nominated for several awards, one colleague said Dave works ‘tirelessly, seamlessly and, seemingly, effortlessly but in support of others’ and he ‘makes ideas happen’. Massively respected by staff and students alike, Dave clearly makes an enormous difference to the wider student experience.
• Heather Hogan
Again nominated by both staff and students, Heather is cited as ‘always going the extra mile’ and ‘taking time’ to motivate students, and making the student experience run smoothly … and all with a smile. She has helped, pastorally, with many small and also significant issues, making a real difference to student. Heather is clearly greatly appreciated by those she comes in to contact with.

Feedback Hero
• Claire Kershaw
Claire uses all sorts of strategies in her feedback, and these are really valued by her students. She shows students how to improve, breaks down marks to help students understand their grade, and invests time help students to understand and progress through her feedback. Her rubrics have been used by other staff too, as a model of good practice. Claire also received three nominations for teaching excellence, so double congratulations!

Unsung Hero
• Reprographics / Reception Team (Comprising: Tanya Flello, Denise Bishop, Beverley Haycock, Jennifer Alderson, Margaret Sayce and Belinda Sweetland)
Their nomination stated that – ‘these people deserve an award for making the workplace a nicer place. Nothing is too much trouble for them’. And that sums up why Tanya, Denise, Beverley, Jennifer, Margret, and Belinda all deserve this award. As the welcoming face of Harper Adams, they all make a real difference to the visitor experience; despite the published turnaround times, they regularly rescue last minute lecturers who need a rush job in reprographics; and they help make a really pleasant atmosphere for students on campus.

Innovating and Sharing
• Kath Leigh/Terry Pickthall (Shared)
Kath and Terry were nominated for their pioneering work with ePortfolios. They have developed their own skills to become Pebblepad champions, they have engaged with, and learnt from, students about how this facility can make a difference to learning, and they have supported other colleagues as they too begin to explore how students can engage with media rich assessment. Their work has been inspiring and they are making a difference to the assessment and technology landscape at Harper Adams University.

Student choice award: Industry Insights & Real World Teaching
• Martin Anderson
Selected by a student only panel, Martin’s connections to industry, his real world examples and career support stood out as making a real difference to students. He uses real world material to bring his subjects to life, and shows students how their learning is relevant to their future career paths. His enthusiasm for the food industry, coupled with his ‘infectious’ positive attitude were notable in his nomination. He clearly helps students to achieve their potential.

Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn added: “It is always a pleasure to be able to recognise the contributions our staff make to the educational experience of our students, so it was good to be able present our Aspire Awards during our annual Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference.

“With categories ranging from ‘Teaching Excellence’ to ‘Unsung Hero’, and from ‘Innovating and Sharing’ to ‘Feedback Hero’, the fact that these awards are voted for by staff and students makes them very special.

“This is no less so for the ‘Student Choice’ award, which is for a member of staff who has brought industry insights and real world teaching into the classroom.

“The University has a strong reputation for its academic work, but the awards also celebrate the contributions of outstanding professional services staff.

“You could tell from the positive reaction of those at the conference today that the staff receiving this year’s awards really deserved them for all they do for the University and its students.”

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