Swansea University celebrates its outstanding staff

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Eight members of Swansea University teaching staff have been recognised by Swansea University during the University’s graduation week (8 – 12 July), in the new Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards (ELTA), developed in conjunction with the Students’ Union to ensure a greater student voice in the award process.

The awards are a direct replacement for the Distinguished Teaching Awards and carry the same special significance, as staff are nominated by their students for their outstanding teaching abilities.

This year, the eight Learning and Teaching Awards were joined by the first ever Excellence in Student Support Award, a single award given to recognise similar excellence but in the student support roles.

The awards were presented by Swansea University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies.  Professor Davies said: “While we celebrate the success of our students during graduation week, it is important that we also distinguish the staff that have contributed to that success through these awards.

“We are very proud of the quality of our student experience and we find that staff, graduates and parents enjoy the opportunity to recognise the staff that inspire our students both academically and pastorally.”

Five members of staff received their award on Monday 8 July during the degree ceremonies for the College of Arts and Humanities.  Dr Roberta Magnani, who tutors in English Language and Literature, was the first to receive the award in the morning ceremony. Dr Magnani’s students commented on her enthusiasm, passion and interest for her subject and her work.  The exceptional feedback she provides on submitted work was also repeatedly mentioned. 

History and Classics tutor, Dr Evelien Bracke, received her award at the afternoon ceremony.  Her clear love of her subject which encourages her students to develop their own passion was highlighted.  Also mentioned was her wide variety of teaching styles, techniques and assessments which allowed her students to shine and led her students to describe her as “some kind of superwoman”.

Dr Ute Keller, who tutors in Language and Translation Studies, received her award during the afternoon ceremony.  Dr Keller has received the Distinguished Teaching Award twice in the past already, and as such, this year, she became the recipient of the new Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (VCDTA) which is a lifetime award, and will, in the future, be given to all previous winners when they are awarded for the second time.  Dr Keller received an exceptionally high number of nominations for her outstanding contribution to the student learning experience, with students highlighting her upbeat, friendly and enthusiastic personality and how they look forward to her lectures and seminars.

Zoe Brooks-Green, from the Department of Criminology, was the recipient of this year’s inaugural Excellence in Student Support Award.  She was presented with the award during the afternoon ceremony.  Students noted that Zoe was always willing to help no matter what, and thought she effectively bridged the gap between staff and students.  They also felt she enriched their learning experience, seeing her as engaging, friendly and proactive. 

Peter Jones, a tutor in Media was presented with his award during Monday’s afternoon ceremony.  Mr Jones was described by his students as friendly and engaging with a wealth of personal knowledge.  His instrumental role in the creation of the Swansea University Media Society was also mentioned.

Dr Michelle Lee, who lectures in Psychology, received her award during the degree ceremony for the College of Human and Health Sciences on Tuesday 9 July.  Students noted her dedicated approach, and said they found her inspirational, considering her an exceptional orator with a real flair for teaching.  Also noted was her loyal support of the Swansea Mental Health Society.

Dr Tapas Mishra, a lecturer in Economics, received his award during the ceremony for the College of Business, Economics and Law, on Wednesday 10 July.  Students described Dr Mishra as a fantastic lecturer, instilling in them the ability to ‘think outside the box’.  They also noted his infectious energy, and his application of the theories of economics to topics which they found intellectually stimulating.

Dr Tracey Sagar, a lecturer in Criminology, received her award during Wednesday’s afternoon ceremony for the College of Business, Economics and Law.  Tracey stood out to her students not only as an exceptional teacher, but also as an international leader in her field.  Students also appreciated the personal touch she invested in feedback, her encouraging comments and very constructive criticism.  They also found her warm, upbeat and humorous, making her lectures a pleasure to attend.

Professor Danny McCarroll, who lectures in Geography, received his award during the final day of graduation for the College of Science, on Friday 12 July.  Professor McCarroll was described by his students as “the best lecturer they had ever seen”.  Students found his lectures upbeat and interesting, and noted that even though his modules are challenging, he explains things very clearly.  Students also liked the way he interweaves current issues and his own experiences into his teaching. 

For more on Swansea University’s Summer Degree and Award Congregations week (Monday, July 8 until Friday, July 12), including student success stories from the Academic Colleges and details of this year’s Honorary Awards and Distinguished Teaching Awards, which will be updated daily during the week, visit www.swansea.ac.uk/graduation/