02 Jul 2007

Open University staff take honours with National Teaching Fellowship Awards

Open University staff have won four awards at the 2007 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Awards, announced today (Monday 2 July 2007). Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy (OU Business School), Professor Stephen Swithenby (Science) and Dr Linda Anderson (Arts) all won individual awards in recognition of excellence in teaching. Just 50 individual awards are made, and The Open University is one of only two institutions to receive the maximum of three fellowships.

In addition, the project E-learning in Physical Science through Sport, led by Dr Robert Lambourne of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received one of nine awards in the Projects category.

Speaking of the awards, Professor Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: ”We are delighted to see the achievements of our colleagues recognised in the presentation of these awards. Open University staff have been presented with one or more of the Fellowship Awards every year since 2004, and winning three this year, as well as a project award, truly recognises their commitment – and the University’s commitment - to excellence in innovative teaching methods. Innovative teaching has always been and continues to be a hallmark of The Open University. Long may that be so.”

Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, has played a leading role in the development of a practiced based approach to teaching and learning within business and management education and across a range of professional fields. He was instrumental in developing the University's Centre for Practice Based Professional Learning, a HEFCE funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Throughout his 29 years at The Open University, Stephen Swithenby, Professor of Physics, has inspired learning by appealing to the inherent curiosity of the OU’s mature learners. From reshaping the introductory physics curriculum and designing and running the physics summer schools to leading the postgraduate science course, Imaging in Medicine, his innovatory measures resulted in excellent resource delivery and getting the best out of students.

Dr Linda Anderson, Reader in Creative Writing, spearheaded the Creative Writing course aimed at taking students from initial inspiration through to their first steps towards publication. The course includes a thorough grounding in fiction, poetry and life writing, the three most popular forms. She has personally taught many writers who have gone on to be published during or shortly after their courses.

The project, E-learning in Physical Science through Sport, was commended for making a distinct and significant contribution to stop the decline in the number of students studying physical science and reinvigorate the teaching of physics, chemistry and materials science. The project will pioneer the use of high quality, reusable electronic learning resources to teach basic topics in physical science through examples drawn from the world of sport.

The individual award winners each receives £10,000 to be used for personal development in learning and teaching, while the project is awarded £200,000.

Editor's Notes

Dr Robert Lambourne received a National Teaching Fellowship individual award in 2006.

The Open University is ranked fifth of all UK universities in the table for teaching quality published in the Sunday Times University Guide 2006. It also retained the top position for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2006.

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