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The 25th anniversary of the Pilkington Prizes for Teaching Excellence was celebrated at an award ceremony last Thursday.

The Pilkington Prizes recognise excellence in teaching and recipients are presented with their award by the Vice-Chancellor. In recognition of the anniversary, all previous winners of Prizes were invited to this year’s reception and award ceremony. The Pilkington Prizes are organised by the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, which supports staff, encourages innovation and provides a focus for institutional, national and international developments in higher education.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope said at the ceremony: “The Prize winners we are celebrating tonight are people who have gone above and beyond to deliver excellent teaching, whether by instigating new projects, trialling new technologies, or developing new courses.

“This year’s Prize winners have engaged with students on an individual level, providing support, mentorship and care, encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning and development and inspiring them to succeed.

“Cambridge offers some of the world’s best research-led teaching, and it is also teaching that is student-focused and tailored to the individual as well, balancing the large-scale, the technological and the new with the individual and tried-and-tested methods.

He added: “What stands out about this year’s winners is that they share a gift for explaining complex subjects lucidly so as to make them clear and accessible – to students, and in many cases, through their outreach work, accessible to wider audiences as well. They all excel at engaging students and communicating to students their own passion and enthusiasm. “

It was announced at the ceremony that next year, in addition to the Pilkington Prizes, two new prizes will be awarded for excellence in technology-enabled learning. The Technology-Enabled Learning Prize has been funded by Cambridge University Press in recognition of the increasing importance of digital technologies in the provision of higher education. More details and a call for entries will be published later in the year.

2018 Pilkington Prize Winners

Dr Folma Buss: Reader in Molecular and Cellular Dynamics and also the Director of Graduate Studies at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. Her students have noted her as an educator “who goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure the wellbeing and success of staff and students alike, not only in the lab but also in their own careers beyond”.

Dr Stuart Davis:Senior Lecturer in Spanish at Girton College and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Stuart’s citation describes him as working tirelessly for his students and the College as well as at the Faculty level, being described by them as “illuminating – he brings the subject matter alive”.

Dr Allègre Hadida:Senior Lecturer in Strategy in the Judge Business School. Allègre’s citation describes her as an inspiring and dedicated teacher, whose students have thanked for being “a reference point, not only from an academic point of view but also for their personal lives”.

Dr Alexander Jeffrey: Reader in Human Geography. Alexanders’s citation describes him as known for always thinking about innovative teaching. He has been described by his colleagues as “a truly gifted communicator […] teaching with him is incredibly rewarding”.

Dr Rosalind Love:Reader in Insular Latin in the Department of Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic. Rosalind’s citation describes her as dedicated to ensuring the learning experience works for each ability, her students have described her lectures as “the best hour of the week”.

Dr Matthew Mason:University Physiologist. Matthew’s citation describes him as persistently striving to refine his teaching and identify new ways of supporting students’ learning. His colleagues consider his teaching to be “consistently exemplary and a major advance,” also commenting that “his feedback scores are spectacular: over 85% described his teaching as ‘excellent’”.

Dr Aaron Rapport is a lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies. Dr Rapport has been described by his students as “the ideal supervisor in practically every way” and “an absolute legend”. 

Professor John Richer is a Professor of Physics and the Director of Undergraduate Teaching in the Physics Department. Professor Richer has been described by staff members as “a beacon for new lecturers – promoting good practice and deep commitment to teaching”.

Dr Sarah Rough is a University Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. The Department have unanimously voted for her to win an award as she has demonstrated sustained excellence and innovation in all of her teaching.

Dr Stelios Tofaris is a Lecturer in Private Law. Dr Tofaris is an outstanding Teacher, who has been described by one of his students as “a phenomenal teacher, the single best I have had at Cambridge so far”.

Catherine Wager is the clinical skills centre facilitator in the Department of Veterinary Medicine. The Department have described Catherine as “a talented and dedicated member of staff, and one who is an excellent role model for students and colleagues alike”.

Dr Paul Wilkinson is Undergraduate Psychiatry Specialty Director. Paul’s citation describes him as having transformed the local psychiatry undergraduate training over the last six years, and also has an impact on education more widely at regional and national level.  His colleagues describe him as “engaging and supportive, showing real leadership skill”. One of his students said of Dr Wilkinson: “I really wish we had this kind of assessment, feedback and organisation in all our placements – it’s so helpful and really exemplary.”

About the Pilkington Prizes

The Pilkington Prizes were initiated by Sir Alastair Pilkington – graduate of Trinity College, engineer, businessman and the first Chairman of the Cambridge Foundation – who passionately believed that teaching excellence was crucial to Cambridge’s future success. Largely as a result of his efforts, and supported by a significant personal donation, the University’s Pilkington Prizes Fund was created in 1992. More recently, the Fund was augmented with a generous donation from the late Clifford Anthony Ingram. 

Published

21 June 2018

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