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?
Professor and Head of School
What school or service do you work in?
School of Informatics
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I joined the University in 1989 as a research assistant and part-time PhD student, and I have enjoyed working at the University for more than 30 years. Over that time I have worked up to being a Professor, and for the last three years, Head of School.
What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year?
I am absolutely delighted to be nominated for a teaching award for my pastoral care. I am full admiration for how well our students have coped with very difficult circumstances this year, and I have been keen to help and encourage those who were finding it particularly challenging. The nomination makes clear that this made a significant difference to at least one student’s ability to cope and I am very pleased about that.
What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students?
I like being able to make a difference, and being Head of School gives me plenty of opportunity to do that for both staff and students. I have always enjoyed being a Personal Tutor and still do, as it gives the chance to get to know a number of students well, and share their journey as they progress from first year through to graduation.
How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year?
Being restricted to only meeting students online has been a bit more challenging in some ways, but the key elements of interaction remain the same. I try to listen to students and really see the situation from their perspective. I aim to offer advice in a supportive, non-judgemental way. Although as Head of School I have many demands on my time, for the period of the interaction I ensure that they have the full focus of my attention.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year?
There have been too many challenges for Heads of School this year to mention!
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! No matter what role you have in the organisation it is always gratifying to know that your efforts have been effective and been appreciated.
To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website.