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Two recognised for contributions to teaching excellence

31 Aug 2018

Two staff members have been recognised for their outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession by being named as National Teaching Fellows

National Teaching Fellows

The awards have been given to Jennifer Blake, Learning Development Manager at the University Library, and Professor Caroline Bowsher, Professor of Biology and Deputy Associate Dean for Pedagogical Development in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH).

The National Teaching Fellowships Scheme is the country’s most prestigious awards for teaching and learning excellence. They are given out annually by Advance HE – a national body whose purpose is to advance the professional practice of higher education to improve outcomes for the benefit of students, staff and society.

Jennifer Blake is responsible for creating the University’s award-winning ‘My Learning Essentials’. This is a skills support programme that is internationally recognised as an example of best practice. Featuring online resources, workshops and training for staff it covers a wide range of subjects relevant to teaching at Manchester from revising and assignments to self-awareness and wellbeing. 

The programme is also widely used outside of the University with people accessing it all over the world.  This has even included people accessing pages via links posted on the domain. 

Professor Clive Agnew, Vice-President of Teaching, Learning and Students at The University of Manchester said: “Jennifer has brought phenomenal energy and positivity to a programme of work that is actively disrupting traditional thinking about teaching approaches in our schools.”

As Dean for Pedagogical Development in FBMH, Professor Bowsher recenlty introduced an inclusive Teaching and Learning Development Framework to the University. It provides flexible opportunities for individuals, including staff on or off campus, that support career progression. The Framework also links that progression to internal and external priorities, such as promotion and TEF criteria.

The Framework has had an immediate impact in supporting participants skill development and sharing best practice across the University. It has also identified more experienced participants as either ‘mentors’ or ‘experts’ who can work with fellow staff members.

Professor Bowsher is also leading a University wide project developing a ‘Smarter Curriculum’ which includes approaches to make Teaching, Learning and assessment more effective to help maximize student engagement and success.

On receiving her award she said: “I am very pleased and extremely honoured to be recognised through the award of a National Teaching Fellowship.”