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?
Reader in Regenerative Neurobiology
What school or service do you work in?
School of Biological Sciences (SBS)
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I came to the University of Edinburgh in 2003 as a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Stem Cell Research in SBS. I started my lab in 2007 in the Centre for Regenerative Medicine. I began teaching on Molecules Genes and Cells 1 (MGC) in 2014, and became the Course Organiser (CO) for MGC in 2018.
What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year?
This has been an incredibly challenging year for lecturers and students alike. The MGC team and I worked very hard to pull together a good learning experience for the MGC students. The class size was 475 this year, which made it particularly challenging. The enthusiasm, engagement, and patience shown by the students was exceptional and made all of our efforts worthwhile. This nomination, and the 10 others I’m aware for MGC lecturers and support staff, means the world to us. We were very touched that so many students reached out to show their support through EUSA nominations, and it really lifted our spirits.
What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students?
My favourite parts this year were (i) interacting with students on the extra-curricular events like the MGC debate and COVID-19 vaccine discussion, and (ii) sending the light-hearted “Friday message” where I had a chance to insert a joke or two!
How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year?
As Course Organiser, I received a lot of emails from students with various problems and in various levels of disstress. In a normal year I would respond during “office hours”, but this year I made of point of replying to MGC students as quickly as possible, even if to say “thanks for your message, we can address this on Monday morning”. I hope this reduced stress levels, and let them know we’re listening and ready to help.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year?
MGC has a large component based on laboratory work and lab skills. This all had to be cancelled this year. However, a virtual experience was provided for the students for all of the laboratory practicals. This was created by Nadia Tuzi and David Hills. This turned out to be very successful, and I was pleased to see Nadia received a EUSA Teaching Award nomination for her outstanding efforts.
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?
I would like to send sincere, heart-felt thanks to the students that nominated me, the course, and members of the MGC team for a EUSA Teaching Award. It really does make a huge impact – it makes us feel proud, it lifts our spirits, and it encourages us to keep up the good work and strive for even better learning experiences.
To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website.