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#CelebratingTogether: Dr Jane O’Neill

#CelebratingTogether: Dr Jane O’Neill

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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?  Jane ONeill

Jane O’Neill 

What is your job title? 


What school or service do you work in? 

History, Classics and Archaeology 


Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role. 

I have been teaching and researching History at Edinburgh on various contracts since 2014, starting my current role in January 2021 after a career break for maternity leave. I am also completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. 


What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year? 

It means so much to have been nominated in these student-led Teaching Awards, especially this year, when the online teaching format can make it more difficult to gauge how students are responding to your teaching. Having just come back from maternity leave, this semester marked my first experience of online teaching, and I have been continually impressed by how well my students have adapted to these challenging circumstances and by their continued efforts to engage in the topics and in class discussion, which has really made teaching a joy.

What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students? 

Engaging with my students – in class discussion and by email. 


How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year? 

I think email contact with students has been even more important this year in building relationships with our students and in ensuring they feel connected and supported. I think more time should be allocated to this when teaching in these restricted circumstances, because it is time consuming but very important and rewarding. I also stayed on blackboard after each seminar ended so that students could talk to me directly and could get shorter questions answered quickly. 


What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year? 

Returning from maternity leave to teaching just when lockdown re-started was immensely difficult for those like myself with caring responsibilities. 


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? 

It was so overwhelmingly heartening to receive notice of this nomination at the end of a semester spent almost entirely in lockdown, which caring responsibilities had made particularly challenging. The online teaching format can make it difficult to gauge how students are responding to your teaching, so I am particularly grateful that students have taken the time, through making these nominations, to let staff know that their efforts have been appreciated. 

To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website. 

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