Spotlight on the 2023 Teachers of the Year

A photograph with a winning cup, decorative stars and glitters, with a text that reads Teacher of the year
Image credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich, Pexels↗️ CC0

In this post, Callum turns the spotlight to the winners of this year’s ‘Teachers of the Year’ award in the EUSA 2023 Teaching Awards↗️. Callum Paterson, Academic Engagement Coordinator at the Students’ Association, congratulates the winners and shares inspiring snippets from their award acceptance speech. This post belongs to  Learning and Teaching Enhancement theme: Students’ Association Teaching Awards 2023↗️.

Each year, we are delighted to celebrate the exceptional teaching that happens across the university. We appreciate that great teaching means different things to everyone, so we ask students to nominate staff in this category who:

  • Engaged them in their learning, whether through the content or the way in which they taught
  • Supported them to challenge themselves academically, expanding their knowledge or skills
  • Placed their learning in a wider context, broadening their horizons

As we’ve done in the past, this year the Teacher of the Year award was split into three categories – one for each College. This allows us to recognise even more teachers but frankly, the competition would be too fierce to only choose one winner from across the university!

College of Science and Engineering

This year’s Teacher of the Year is Dr Richard Milne, from the School of Biological Sciences↗️. Richard received multiple nominations that recognised his engaging and genuinely fun lecture style – I can say from my own experience of being taught by Richard during my time studying at the University, those are words I would certainly use to describe his teaching. Richard was particularly commended for igniting an interest in plant science from his students, a subject that some noted they didn’t have much enthusiasm for before!

On accepting his award, Richard said:

“It’s a huge honour to be nominated, an even bigger honour to be shortlisted, let alone to win. It’s fantastic. Having said that, teaching is very much its own reward…You can share your obsession, which in my case is plants, and try to awaken a similar obsession in other young people. And also, on a more serious note, you’re helping to shape the research leaders of the future. And that is an amazing privilege as well.”

College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

This College may be the smallest of the three, but that certainly didn’t mean a lack of nominations for the phenomenal staff working here. Our winner this year was Dr Niall Anderson, of the Usher Institute↗️. Niall’s nominators spoke about his approachability, commitment to his programme and students, and the fact that he made sure every student felt able to use their voice in class.

Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Niall has not been able to formally accept his award quite yet, but we’ll ensure his trophy makes it to him soon!

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

With over 800 nominations, this was by far our largest category this year. Our winner is Dr Rochelle Rowe, from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology↗️. Rochelle won for her commitment to her course and her students, allowing them to discuss race in a sensitive and meaningful way, and encouraging them to think deeper and expand their knowledge of the topics they explored in class.

On accepting her Teacher of the Year award, Rochelle said:

“It’s a real pleasure to be nominated and it’s just so appreciated and then to be shortlisted as well for the College… in such great company, [is awesome].”

She continued, saying:

“I just want to pay credit to my students. The students who nominated me are all from a fourth year special subject, that I’ve taught for the first time this year and it’s called ‘Representations of Blackness in Britain and Europe’. And, we have looked at a whole host of different types of representations and just they’ve done immense, brilliant work with all of these different sorts of primary sources, thinking about race and race-making and how it has changed over time over a period of essentially two centuries…I just want to say a big thank you for the nomination and to the [Students’ Association] for shortlisting me as well. I’m honestly thrilled.”

I’d like to extend another round of congratulations to our Teachers of the Year 2023! I hope you are all very proud of your achievement and will display your trophies with pride.

I also wanted to shout out the runners up for the Teacher of the Year awards: Prof. Alex Rowe and Dr Filipe Teixeira-Dias from the College of Science and Engineering↗️; Dr Abduelenem Alashkam and Dr Ryan Broll from the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine↗️; and Dr Maryam Almohammad and Dr Anja Tröger from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences↗️. You, alongside our winners and indeed all 1,200-plus nominees for Teacher of the Year, demonstrated the very best of teaching and support to students. So, from all of us at the Students’ Association, thank you and congratulations!

photograph of the authorCallum Paterson

Callum Paterson is the Academic Engagement Coordinator within the Student Voice team at the Students’ Association. He works with Programme and School Representatives as well as the Vice President Education, supporting and empowering them to make their voices heard on the issues that matter most to them.

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