A message from Education Officer, Martha Krish
As Education Officer I spend much of my time agitating and arguing about the things that are broken, going wrong, not good enough, or harmful within the university, and it is important that these issues and this work is never forgotten. However, it is a great and genuine joy to highlight best practice and celebrate exceptional individuals who make a massive difference to the lives of students.
I found it enlightening, encouraging, entertaining, and at times really quite emotional to read through students’ nominations throughout the judging process of the Student-Led Teaching Awards and hear how profoundly grateful students are for the help and support they receive from staff of all kinds.
Cambridge is of course known for having talented academic researchers, but it was clear to me looking at the sheer volume and depth of nominations that this is also an institution where those with skill and passion for teaching and supporting students work and really enjoy the work that they do.
To be shortlisted in these awards is a brilliant achievement. There were 591 students who filled in the nomination form to let us know about someone who had had a profound impact at their time at Cambridge. We have had to whittle it down to just a few who we have deemed to be absolutely exceptional in their category. To those shortlisted, I would just like to say that myself and the judging panels are big fans of your work. The judging was carried out by panels comprised wholly of students, many of whom are faculty reps, held JCR Welfare Officer positions or have roles on CUSU’s liberation campaigns.
I think that it is especially important that we document and take seriously student’s views in a context where both the concepts of ‘student voice’ and of ‘good teaching’ are being weaponised against us in order to create a marketised, competitive, appearance-driven Higher Education system. These awards are powerful because it is not about metrics of grade-inflation or employability as standards of teaching but about students’ experiences, and about the individuals and practices that have made those experiences so rewarding.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education Graham Virgo has been a big supporter of the Student-Led Teaching Awards and wanted to share a short statement:
- “The Student-Led Teaching Awards is an important event in the collegiate University’s calendar celebrating as it does those who teach, those who support teaching and learning, and those who provide pastoral and other support to students. Receiving an award or being nominated for an award is a particular honour since it reflects the appreciation of those who have actually benefited from teaching and learning support at Cambridge. I am very grateful to Martha and her team for their hard work in organising these awards. At a time when the ‘student voice’, ‘student choice,’ and ‘value of education’ are phrases which are inappropriately used by others, these awards are a true reflection of student voice and student choice – and reflect what students really value about their education.”
Finally, a special thank you for the donations from 4 colleges who wanted to help us to continue doing what we do — Queens, Newnham, Girton, and Fitzwilliam.
And the winners are…
Winner: Stanley Bill | Sidney Sussex, MML (Slavonic)
Commended: Dennis Grube | POLIS
Commended: Maha Abdelrahman | Darwin, Centre of Development Studies
Winner: Maria Rostovskaya | Corpus Christi, Wellcome Trust – MRC Stem Cell Institute
Commended: Monica Moreno Figueroa | Downing, Sociology
Commended: Simone Kotva | Emmanuel, Theology
Winner: Priyamvada Gopal | Churchill, English
Commended: Blake Gutt | MML (Medieval French)
Commended: Robert Whitaker | Selwyn, Physiology / Neuroscience
Commended: Paul Shakeshaft | History of Art
Winner: Maha Abdelrahman | Darwin, Centre of Development Studies
Commended: Paolo Campana | Institute of Criminology
Commended: Shailaja Fennell | Jesus, Centre of Development Studies
Commended: Soren Brage | MRC Epidemiology Unit
(Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences)
Winner: Ruth Abbott | St. John’s, English
Commended: Charles Weiss | Clare, Classics
Commended: Louise Joy | Homerton, English
Commended: Nikita Makarchev | Magdalene, POLIS
Commended: Sarah Meer | Selwyn, English
(Science and Technology)
Winner: Paul Fannon | Homerton, Mathematical Biology
Commended: Mairi Kilkenny | St. Catharine’s, Biochemistry
Commended: Oleg Kitov | Selwyn, Economics
Winner: Shailaja Fennell | Jesus, Centre of Development Studies
Commended: Aleksandra Watson | Murray Edwards, Fellow in Biochemistry
Commended: Antonia Sudkaemper | Psychology
Commended: David Summers | Gonville & Caius, Genetics
Commended: Jane Partner | Trinity Hall, English
Winner: Eileen Nugent | Lucy Cavendish, Biological & Soft Systems
Commended: Anghelina Nagyne Virtaci | Corpus Christi, College Cleaner
Commended: Hester Lees-Jeffries | St. Catharine’s, English
Commended: Natasha Kear | Gonville & Caius, College Nurse
(Photos from the event are posted on our facebook page)