‘Lovable’ academics lauded by students

Posted by pt91 at Jun 27, 2012 09:30 AM |
Poll among students finds worthy academic winners
‘Lovable’ academics lauded by students

(L-R): Dr Ross Parry, Professor Rick Thomas, Alex Nutt, Mr James Hamill and Dr Noel Davies.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 27 June 2012

Jpg images of academics available from pressoffice@le.ac.uk

Academics who have topped the student polls have been announced as winners following the  award-winning I Love My Academic campaign from the University of Leicester Students’ Union.

Professor Rick Thomas (of the Department of Computer Science), Dr. James Hamill (a lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations), Dr. Noel Davies (a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology) and Dr. Ross Parry (Academic Director of the School of Museum Studies) were all recognised for their outstanding teaching by the students in their departments.

The campaign, initiated by the Students’ Union in 2010, gives students the opportunity to nominate an academic that has particularly shown their innovation, engagement and support with their teaching.

An academic from each University college - the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Social Science and the College of Arts, Humanities and Law - is honoured each year by students through the scheme.

I Love My Academic won the bronze award for Best Internal Communications Campaign at the Euro RSCG Heist Awards in 2011.

The anonymous students’ feedback  provides an insight into what makes these academics particularly ‘lovable’:

Rick Thomas(On Professor Thomas) “Rick is a really nice guy. This might not seem very relevant to academia but Rick is just easy to approach. He is as willing to help you as you are willing to learn. His office hours are 9-5 every day, as he put it "just barge in any old time if you need to". This makes him infinitely easy to find, if you came to him with some complex problem from outside the course, I believe within 5 minutes I think he would be more interested in the solution than you. It is the kind of devotion to teaching you only find in the exceptional few.”

Professor Thomas said: “It is always nice to get recognition for one's teaching. I was particularly pleased to win the "I love my academic award" for the College of Science and Engineering. We have wonderful students here at Leicester and their appreciation of our efforts is the major reason why teaching is such a rewarding experience.”

James Hamill(On Dr. Hamill) “ I picked my third year module of South African Politics almost purely on the fact that James Hamill was teaching it."

James Hamill said: “I am obviously delighted to receive such an award. I can think of no finer honour in academic life than to be recognised and valued by the students with whom I am working. It is quite humbling. Such an award would not be possible without engaging, inquisitive and good natured students and I have encountered thousands in my two decades here. Delivering quality teaching is rather like the duck swimming, all it may look easy and relaxed but there's some furious activity beneath the surface. However, that is made all worthwhile by cheery students asking intelligent and penetrating questions, some of which I may have the answer to, and some emphatically not! I would also like to thank Karen and my colleagues in the Department of Politics & International Relations past and present who have contributed in no small measure to improving my own teaching.”

Noel Davies(On Dr. Davies) "Dr. Davies should be given this award as we can turn up at his office without an appointment and he will put down what he’s doing and spend time to explain concepts that we do not understand. He never makes us feel like we are bothering him or that we are wasting his time. He always takes his time when explain things and it is always in a pleasant manner.’

Dr Davies said: “I was very surprised when I was informed that I had been chosen to receive the ‘I love my academic award’ by the students – it seemed to me that I was only doing my job.  I found it very humbling that some of the students took time to nominate me and write some very supportive statements about my teaching. Being appreciated by the students in this way is very encouraging.”

Ross Parry(On Dr. Parry) "The most engaging, enthusiastic academic I’ve ever had the pleasure of being taught by. A gifted speaker, he goes to great lengths to thoughtfully communicate every aspect of a lecture or idea, and really values any student participation and feedback."

Dr Parry said: “With its challenging interdisciplinary study, its huge network of distance learners across the world, and its strong professional partnerships the School of Museum Studies is a remarkable place to work each day. Being able to support and shape the next generation of museum and gallery professionals internationally is a wonderful thing. But knowing that these learners value this teaching and support enough to nominate one of us for an award like this is particularly humbling.”

Alex Nutt, current Academic Affairs Officer at the Students' Union, said:

"The 'I Love My Academic' winners this year all demonstrated exceptional student support and innovative teaching, and were prepared to go the extra mile with students. The 4 winners for the colleges are brilliant academics who really care and value student experience. It's great to honour academics who do such a great job for students and it also creates competition for nominations throughout the year between academics, which in turn improves student experience."

The University of Leicester is ranked top after Oxbridge in the 2011 National Student Survey amongst 120 mainstream public universities in the UK. Leicester's levels of student satisfaction have been consistently in the top-10 since the annual survey commenced in 2005.


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