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Exeter academic wins most prestigious award for Higher Education teaching

A major education award that celebrates outstanding impact on the student learning experience and educational institutions has been awarded to a University of Exeter academic. Dr Carol Evans was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her pioneering role in the development of the Personal Learning Styles Pedagogy (PLSP), by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

As one of 55 individuals, Dr Evans was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship, the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning. The successful National Teaching Fellows (NTFs) submitted by their higher education institution, had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence, and developing excellence. Each winner of a National Teacher Fellowship has received an award of £10,000 to be used to support their professional development in teaching and learning.

Dr Evans, is an Associate Professor at the University’s Graduate School of Education,  President of the Education, Learning, Styles, Individual differences Network (ELSIN) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  She won the NTF for her leading research informed practice developing assessment feedback, promoting student (agency) in seeking, using and giving feedback using the PLSP as a basis for this. Dr Evans’ development of the conceptual framework, The Feedback Landscape, has been used in different world leading universities to explore lecturer and student roles within assessment feedback. This has assisted in furthering an understanding of cognitive styles and their application to practice in the classroom and workplace contexts.

On attaining the NTF award Dr Evans said: “It is an immense privilege to receive this prestigious National Teaching Fellowship award recognising my contribution to excellent learning and teaching. I am very grateful to students and colleagues for their continuous support and collaboration without which I would not have been able to attain this accolade.”

The submission by the University of Exeter outlined the impact that Dr Evans has on professionals within education, medicine, business, and other disciplines, and on students. This was summarised by Professor Janice Kay, Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (Education) at the University of Exeter, she said:“Carol’s innovative teaching and research coupled with her boundless energy to promote excellence in learning and teaching is exceptional. She is unrelenting in her desire to enhance the learning experience for all students and evidences a transformative impact on student learning at the highest of levels.”  

This year’s NTFs include academics from a diverse discipline range including Chemistry, Engineering, Languages, Maths, Education and Psychology. Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “It is always such an inspirational time as we welcome 55 outstanding teachers in higher education to our growing family of NTFs. While their fields of expertise are many and varied, what they each hold in common is their commitment to learning and teaching, their dedication to their students, and their tenacity in sharing their expertise with others.

She added:“Our students deserve the best possible learning experience and it is colleagues like those we celebrate today who can make a real difference to their futures.”

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Date: 12 June 2014

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