There are many things that make the St Andrews experience a fulfilling one- the age-old traditions, the cosmopolitan community and the beautiful surroundings to mention just a few. However, when it comes to the educational part of the experience, it is the high quality of the academic staff that really stands out.
Just as there are a multitude of different awards to recognise student achievement and commitment, there are also Teaching Awards to recognise the talents of the academic staff at the University. The winners of this year’s Teaching Awards have now been announced, with both students and University staff voting for the winners.
There are two separate Teaching Awards categories, both acknowledging teachers for the dedication that they have shown to their jobs and the support that they have given to students. The first category, which is nominated by the Heads of Schools, is the University Teaching Awards. The winners of these awards are nominated for making a significant contribution to excellence in teaching over the past year. These awards are now in their fourth year, and extend across all academic staff at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The winners, decided by a judging panel of senior staff, were: Dr Sonja Heinrich of the School of Biology, Dr Jon Coulston of the School of Classics, Dr Ian Smith of the School of Economics and Finance and Dr Elizabeth Sinclair of the School of Medicine.
Speaking about the awards, Vice-Principal (Proctor), Professor Lorna Milne, said: “The Teaching Awards ceremony is one of the most important and enjoyable events of the academic calendar. It’s a heartfelt celebration that combines deep personal warmth and mutual respect among staff and students — attributes that also characterise our best learning and teaching. I’m delighted for the wonderful colleagues who won nominations and awards, and terrifically grateful to everyone who contributes to outstanding teaching around the University.”
The second category of the Teaching Awards, which gives students the chance to have their say by nominating members of University Staff, is the Students’ Association Teaching Awards. Many of us are very grateful for the role that certain members of University Staff have played in our university education, which is reflected in the fact that this year the Students’ Association Teaching Awards saw students nominate a record number of teachers.
Thirteen exceptional staff were recognised: Dorothy Christie of the School of History for Commitment by a Support Staff Member; Dr Martin Campbell of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience for Best Dissertation/Project Supervisor (Arts/Divinity); Dr Tim Raub of the School of Geography and Geosciences for Best Dissertation/Project Supervisor (Science/Medicine); Dr Paloma Gay y Blasco of the School of Philosophical, Anthropological & Film Studies for Excellence in Teaching — honours level (Arts/Divinity); Dr Antje Kohlne of the School of Physics & Astronomy for Excellence in Teaching — honours level (Science/Medicine); Dr Eric Stoddart of the School of Divinity for Excellence in Teaching — postgraduate level; Dr Ana Del Campo of the School of History for Excellence in Teaching — sub-honours level (Arts/Divinity); Dr Will McCarthy of the School of Geography & Geosciences for Excellence in Teaching — sub-honours level (Science/Medicine); Dr Maggie Ellis of the School of Psychology for Innovation in Teaching; Professor Nigel Rapport of the School of Philosophical, Anthropological & Film Studies for Postgraduate Research Thesis Supervisor; and Julianne Mentzer of the School of English for Teaching Excellence by a Postgraduate Student.
A special prize went to Dr Jeffrey Murer of the School of International Relations for Contribution to Excellence in Education, an award that is given to a member of staff whose teaching has changed the lives of his students.
In recognition of the fact that the results of teaching are not entirely down to the academic staff, another special prize is presented to a student who has made a particular contribution to enhancing learning and teaching. Eleanor Mullin was the student awarded with the honour of taking home this year’s Proctor’s Award.
All of the winners were deserving of their prizes, and Students’ Association’s Director of Representation, Joe Tantillo, said: “The winners all demonstrated that they are willing to go above and beyond in the classroom, often supporting students beyond the classroom as well. Mr Tantillo also points out the importance of the teachers in the lives of students: “Excellent teaching can change a student’s life and, as students, the teaching awards are a way for us to thank the academics that have transformed our worldview through their teaching.”