Celebrating excellence in teaching

Celebrating excellence in teaching

The University is now seeking nominations from all Undergraduate students for the seventh annual University Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The University has many great lecturers and wants to continue to recognise their skills.

The main aim of the award is to recognise, encourage and reward individuals who have undertaken the development of the highest quality teaching, leading to particularly effective learning for their students.

The award covers any sort of course teaching from conventional lectures to special seminars and field courses and includes courses in both half sessions.

Last year's winner, Dr Doug Martin, Psychology, had this to say;

You won the Award for CLSM this year, what are your thoughts on it?

I was very flattered to be nominated and delighted to have won. That said, because I a work with many colleagues whom I consider are equally or more deserving, I was also a bit embarrassed to be singled out for the award.

Why do you think that you won this year?

The most influential factor is undoubtedly that I teach a topic, Introductory Social Psychology, which invariably proves very popular with students. Social psychology is filled with examples of research topics that are very accessible and of obvious everyday relevance, with findings that are sometimes intuitive but that are often surprising and occasionally even shocking. It is easy to engage with the audience when one has such a rich back catalogue of material to draw on (I know this to be the case, as I previously taught research methods and statistics to considerably less acclaim!).

Aside from the topics of the lectures, students seem to like the way the course is organized. The content of the course is structured around clearly defined learning outcomes, with additional notes and audio recordings tied to each outcome. Because the students know that the questions in the exam will be based on the learning outcomes, they are able to get a good indication of whether they have gained the appropriate level of knowledge or not and, if not, where to find the material they are not familiar with.

Do you think it will have an impact on your teaching in the future?

Definitely. Getting the award has encouraged me to trust my judgment about how my courses should be designed and delivered. It has reminded me of the importance of avoiding a 'one size fits all' approach to teaching and instead to tailor the design and delivery of my courses based on the material, the audience and the attributes the students should be gaining through their participation.

The winners will be chosen by the College Directors of Teaching and Learning next summer, and awards will be presented at the graduation ceremonies.

For more information and to nominate please visit: www.abdn.ac.uk/teachingaward

The deadline is Friday 2nd May 2014. The name of the winner will be announced in June 2014.

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