National Teaching Fellowship and collaborative teaching success

Academics at Leeds have been celebrating awards highlighting teaching excellence from Advance HE.

Dr Alison Voice (School of Physics and Astronomy) has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF), while the School of Biomedical Sciences’ Capstone Experience Team – led by Dr Dave Lewis – received a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

The awards further strengthen our position as a leader in student education: Leeds has one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows in the UK and was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework. Our new University Strategy builds on strong foundations, highlighting a deeper partnership with students, embracing new inclusive and active educational approaches.

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, said:

“Congratulations to Alison and the Capstone Experience team on their achievements, which highlight the role we can all play in enhancing students’ education and experience at Leeds.

“Alison’s commitment to innovative pedagogy, as well as to the employability and engagement of students throughout her career, is an inspiration. It’s wonderful to see her recognised for the impact she has had on both her peers and students.

“Empowering students is at the heart of our inclusive educational approach at Leeds and the Capstone team’s work is a model of co-creation and partnership.

“These successes are timely reminders of the positive impact that sharing ideas and working together as a community can have on students’ education and development, and why it’s at the heart of our strategy for the next 10 years.”

National Teaching Fellow – Dr Alison Voice

Dr Alison Voice, from the School of Physics and AstronomyNational Teaching Fellow Dr Alison Voice

The NTF scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.

Throughout her career, Dr Alison Voice – a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy and leader of the Physics Education Research Group – has combined scientific research with innovative developments in the teaching of physics.

Dr Voice said: “I am honoured and delighted to receive this award.

“The NTF scheme is recognised nationally and internationally, and I am excited to join this ever-growing community of practitioners who are passionate about making a difference to the education and futures of students everywhere.”

As a national leader in physics education, the impact of her work has been felt well beyond her own discipline thanks to her support of vast numbers of students and staff through creative reflective processes, encouraging the development of professional skills and instigating a system of peer support.

Dr Voice has also helped develop national and international policy through work with a number of organisations, such as the Institute of Physics, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (OFQUAL) and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), where she was a member of the team invited to write the Benchmark Statement for Physics and Astronomy from scratch.

Dr Voice is also a role model and mentor, having been appointed the School of Physics and Astronomy’s first female lecturer in 1995. In addition, she was involved in the creation of the Leeds-South West Jiaotong School of Engineering in Chengdu, where she now mentors three staff to teach in innovative ways.

CATE winner – Capstone Experience Team

A stone arch with capstone on top.The Capstone Experience team’s collaborative approach has been recognised

The CATE – first Introduced in 2016 – highlights the role teamwork plays in enhancing teaching and learning through collaborative approaches.

This is the first time Leeds has won the award.

The Capstone Experience Team in the School of Biomedical Sciences received the accolade in recognition of its work with its internal and external partners, along with the exceptional student experience and sector-wide impact its projects have provided.

Capstone projects are offered as a final-year undergraduate module. They give students an opportunity to focus on personal and professional development instead of working on a traditional research project.

Industry-focused projects are available for those wishing to use their science outside of research, while civic and society options are offered for those wishing to use their skills in the wider community.

The team’s leader, Dr Dave Lewis – Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology and Scientific Ethics – said: “Receiving this award is a fantastic achievement, and recognition for the team and University for the exceptional student experience we strive to provide. I want to personally thank everybody for their contributions.

“This is just the start of a journey for both ourselves and colleagues globally.”

With no access to research facilities during the covid-19 pandemic, Bioscience educators globally struggled to conduct traditional research projects, so the team ran online workshops as an alternative and supported them through the introduction of Capstone projects.

Its work has informed the revision and broadening of both UK Bioscience accrediting bodies’ project accreditation criterion, and Dr Lewis has also been awarded a Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence Fellowship to work with educators across the University seeking to introduce Capstones into their own programmes.

Besides Dr Lewis, the Capstone Experience team includes Dr Alasdair Pickles, Dr Andrew Smith, Dr Charlotte Haigh, Dr Jen Edwards, Dr Jessica Kwok, Dr Hazel Fermor, Dr Ralf Richter, Dr Samit Chakrabarty, Dr Sarah Calaghan and Dr Ruth Norman – all from the School of Biomedical Sciences.

It also includes Dr Sue Jones, from York St John University, and Michelle Payne, from the University of Sunderland.