Monday, 5 August 2019

Head of SELA awarded National Teaching Fellowship for outstanding impact in higher education

Head of SELA, Dr Gary Wood, has been honoured with a national award in recognition of his work to transform student and academic learning.

Dr Wood is one of three academics from the University of Sheffield to have been awarded prestigious National Teaching Fellowships by Advance HE, recognising the outstanding impact of their teaching and support for learning in higher education.

From his innovative work around teaching linguistics, to his exceptional contribution in embedding enterprise education into the curriculum and most recently, his success in championing skills and leadership development among engineering students, Dr Wood has consistently had a transformative impact on the students he works with.

As Head of Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy, he has developed a ground-breaking initiative, bringing together selected students, academics and colleagues from industry to offer development opportunities for the engineering leaders of the future.

Co-creation is at the heart of Dr Wood’s approach, and his unique insight and contribution has been instrumental in embedding broader transferable skills into the University of Sheffield’s Department of Mechanical Engineering’s revised curricula under the Programme Level Approach (PLA), a holistic approach designed to give students opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and range of attributes they need to become assured and confident graduates.

Through workshops, publications and conference presentations, he has shared his work across both engineering and higher education sectors, playing a fundamental role in enhancing employability on a global level, and contributing to the University's reputation as a world-leading institution for engineering education. Dr Wood led the UK’s contribution to UNIWORK, an EU-funded project to enhance employability services in Higher Education Institutions across Central Asia, where he designed and delivered interactive workshops for colleagues in the region on enterprise education pedagogies, to equip them with the skills to cascade this learning to their teams. This project has directly impacted students and staff across the region, leaving behind a professional network of educators supporting each other and lasting policy change.

Dr Wood said: ‘It is a great privilege to inspire learning in students and colleagues. I am pleased to have been able to champion approaches that connect students’ learning to their future aspirations and enable them to succeed. It’s immensely gratifying to see students surprising themselves as they discover their potential and how much they can achieve, and inspiring to be able to learn collaboratively with and from them.

‘I am honoured that my work has been recognised with such a prestigious national award, and grateful to all of my students and colleagues who make every day as a teacher and educator so rewarding.’

Dr Julie Hyde (Department of Chemistry) and Professor Katherine Linehan (Department of Biomecial Science) also receive the award, among 54 new National Teaching Fellows announced by Advance HE today. 

Professor Brendan Stone, the University’s Deputy Vice-President for Education, said: ‘I’m delighted that Julie, Katherine and Gary have been recognised for their outstanding commitment and dedication with a National Teaching Fellowship. They join a growing list of academics at our institution who have proven themselves as world class teachers.’

Alison Johns, Advance HE’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Congratulations to all our 2019 winners of these two prestigious, national awards.

‘Becoming a National Teaching Fellow is a huge achievement. It can be truly life-changing. Creating ambassadors for innovative and impactful teaching who are valued by institutions and colleagues, and who can set in motion change and enhancements to make a really positive impact on student experience and outcomes across their institution and beyond.

‘Advance HE looks forward to working with the winners to help to disseminate their work for the benefit of all.’

The winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony in Manchester on 16 October 2019.

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