University of Leicester recognised nationally for teaching excellence

Posted by ap507 at Dec 08, 2016 12:01 AM |
University of Leicester cited in HEA National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Awards and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence finalists

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 7 December 

Images of Professor Wilkins and Dr Scott are available here:

Excellent teaching at the University of Leicester has been recognised by two national awards to be presented to leading academics.

In addition, the University is a finalist in a new team award for teaching excellence.

The Higher Education Academy has today (Thursday) announced a total of fifty-five new National Teaching Fellows (NTFs) alongside the finalists for a new team award for teaching in higher education, the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

A National Teaching Fellowship is the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education.

The University has now won a total of 16 awards from the Higher Education Academy – including seven single awards and three years of double awards. Leicester also won a triple award in one year – a rare distinction.

The fifty-five new NTFs represent institutions from across mission groups and are drawn from a broad range of subject areas. Successful nominees were nominated by their institutions and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.

The new CATE award, being piloted this year, recognises teaching excellence by teams at higher education providers.  The collaborative award is an important development which reflects the key role that teamwork has in promoting student success through learning and teaching.

The two NTF winners from Leicester are:

  • Professor Chris Wilkins, Professor of Education, School of Education
  • Dr Sarah Scott, Associate Professor in Archaeology and Ancient History, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

Professor Wilkins said: “I am delighted and humbled by this award, which is a testament to the rich and vibrant learning environment created by the many outstanding teachers and scholars in the School of Education, the wider university, and our partner schools.  I look forward to building on my achievements in promoting the role of research in developing teaching excellence.”

Dr Scott said: “It is a great honour to have been nominated and selected for this award. I really enjoy working on projects which promote student-staff enterprise and volunteering. Students have played a key role in the development and coordination of these initiatives and I have been hugely inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm. I look forward to working with them in the future to ensure that our research continues to benefit the widest possible audience through student-staff partnership and enterprise.”

Professor Jon Scott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted that Sarah and Chris have been recognised at the highest national level for the excellence of their contributions to student learning. This continues a very strong record of success in the National Teaching Fellowships which is an ongoing testament to the excellent teaching provision at the University.”

The finalist for the team Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence is the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science whose founder, Professor Derek Raine, has previously won an NTF award. More information here.

The criteria for the CATE award are: ‘excellent practice’, teamwork, and the team’s dissemination plan. Teams will need to have shown direct student involvement in their work and excellent practice in relation to one of the following themes:

• Assessment and feedback

• Student retention

• Employability

• Staff development

• Students as partners

• Technology and social media.


Notes to Editors:

About Professor Chris Wilkins:

I moved into teacher education from working as a primary school teacher because of my passion for supporting the professional learning of colleagues.  As leader of the Primary PGCE in the School of Education, then as Director of Teacher Education, I have endeavoured to work with colleagues to provide an outstanding learning environment for our student teachers, which has led to rapidly improving outcomes in terms of retention, attainment and employment success.  I am proud of the part I have played in the immense contribution the School of Education has made to the quality of schools nationally and locally.  In particular, I am proud of the fact that our achievements have maintained a clear focus on promoting equality and widening participation in the teaching profession; in this respect my leadership of learning at Leicester has consistently been underpinned by my desire to realise the University’s commitment to being ‘elite without being elitist’.

As Director of Teacher Education I have been determined to extend my influence and impact beyond the local and national, believing that I have a duty to share my expertise on a wider stage.  I have gained enormous satisfaction, therefore, from supporting the efforts of governments at education system reform in a diverse range of countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa – and have been inspired by the enthusiasm of educators in these countries to see improvements in education policy and practice as a key element of stabilising wider civil society.

This recognition, following my award of a Principal Fellowship of the HEA in 2012, and a University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship in 2015, is the result of an unswerving commitment to continuing to learn as a teacher; I am passionate about promoting critical inquiry-based pedagogy that has rigorous scholarship at its heart.  This means that my teaching, leadership and research are inextricably linked, and in the pursuit of new knowledge and understanding about teaching, I never lose sight of the social impact of my work.

- See more at:

About Dr Sarah Scott:

Dr Sarah Scott is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester. She received a University ‘Distinguished Teaching Fellowship’ in recognition of teaching excellence in July 2013 and became a Senior Fellow of the HEA in 2015.  She said:

I completed my undergraduate studies in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, my D Phil at the University of Oxford, and was Fellow in Social Sciences at the University of Durham before joining the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in 1995.

Since 2012 I have worked closely with students, colleagues, School and College Services and the Career Development Service, to develop a range of employability initiatives, including our Leicester Award and HEAR accredited student volunteering programme Archaeology and Classics in the Community (ACC). A Higher Education Academy Individual Teaching Grant and University of Leicester Prospects funding have supported the development of these projects, which are underpinned by a passionate belief in the importance of promoting our research for the benefit of the widest possible audience.

More than 70 students from across the University have engaged with ACC, working with more than 50 local and national organisations and charities. The scheme has also provided opportunities for postgraduate students to take on supervisory and leadership roles. I am currently leading an initiative (funded by the national charity Classics for All) which enables local school pupils to experience and learn from our internationally renowned research in the fields of classical archaeology and history. We offer a range of activities delivered within student designed and led after-school Classics clubs. A key aim is to demonstrate to pupils, teachers and parents the benefits of studying Latin and the classical world within and alongside the curriculum.

This award will enable me to continue working with students and colleagues to ensure that these initiatives are sustainable long term, and to establish the University of Leicester as a hub for the teaching of Archaeology and Classics in the Midlands. We plan to develop a greater range of Widening Participation initiatives, providing further opportunities for student volunteering and employment within and alongside our degree programmes.

- See more at:

• The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education.

• There are now over 750 NTFs, representing more than 40 discipline areas.

• The awards support individuals’ professional development in learning and teaching. Success depends only on excellence, not what stage you are at in your career.

• The HEA manages NTFS on behalf of the funders – the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland.  (The Scottish Funding Council does not take part in NTFS)

For further information visit

About the HEA

The HEA works to raise the impact of teaching in higher education. An independent non-profit organisation, we work to make teaching better, raising its impact, for the benefit of society as a whole.  We work with governments, ministries, universities and individual academics worldwide.

The HEA reveals what works best to make teaching more effective. We focus entirely on improving approaches to teaching and teaching practice, bringing the sector together through a hub of best practice.  We help to raise the profile of teaching so that staff are recognised for their work.

We enable over 75,000 HEA Fellows and many of the world’s leading learning and teaching professionals to exchange knowledge and best practice insights.

The HEA manages and operates the UK Professional Standards Framework (PSF), a set of professional standards for everyone in teaching and supporting learning in higher education. We accredit professional development courses against this standard.

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