Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Student-Led Teaching Awards are back to recognise outstanding members of learning and support staff. After a challenging year for everyone, we’re celebrating our worthy nominees by shouting about their successes across our digital platforms.
What is your full name?
What is your job title?
Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
What school or service do you work in?
Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
My PhD was in Cambridge, with clinical training between Scotland, Cambridge and London. I joined the University of Edinburgh in 2012 as a neurologist, researcher and teacher. Since 2016, I’ve had the privilege to be as Module Organiser for MBChB year 2 Clinical Neurosciences. I’m responsible for trying to teach our medical students about the most complex system in the known universe with more potential states than there are subatomic particles, including how to figure out what’s gone wrong when it goes wrong!
What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year?
I’m honoured and humbled by this. I only ever wanted to be a doctor really, and to have the opportunity to pass on what little I know about the nervous system to my young colleagues is the greatest privilege. I know I can’t help my massive bias about how the nervous system is the most interesting bit of medicine, it’s what makes us all unique and unfathomably complex… (a kidney’s a kidney, right?) So thank you my wonderful students (from the bottom of my limbic system) for your forbearance never mind praise. You make my job the best job in the world and it’s an honour to walk these early steps of your career with you.
What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students?
Selfishly, the best thing is when you step back and think that I might have helped a bunch of the cleverest, most motivated, and dare I say devilishly good looking people on the planet to become amazing doctors. In practical terms, I really enjoy building the lectures into a cohesive whole so that by the time the students complete the course they can see the bigger picture and not be lost in the weeds of detail. I love teaching students so that they come away thinking “of course it works that way, it wouldn’t make sense any other way”.
How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year?
I’ve taken over the knowledge content and shifted to bitesize chunks for online lectures. the F2F content was all new tutorials delivered by a team of young clinician researchers. Hopefully that balance of ‘old duffer’ rambling in a semi-cohesive way, together with young doctors to deliver role model tutorial teaching has been helpful.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year?
I’m a full-time clinician in the middle of a global pandemic with a young family and a teaching role that required development of a complete lecture series online. It’s all been a challenge, but the trick is to bring the students in – let them see the challenge, how you try to do your best and figure it out together.
What would you say to the student(s) who nominated you, or students who are considering submitting a nomination for a staff member who has had an impact on them?
Thank you, you don’t know what that means to me. I care about this more than almost anything else I do, and to be recognised is the greatest honour.
To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website.