27 Jul 2012

OU academic awarded prestigious National Teaching Fellowship

Dr Basiro Davey, Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences, has been made a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Dr Basiro Davey has been given this prestigious award in higher education teaching and support for learning, in the same year she received an MBE for services to higher education and to health education.

Dr Davey joined The Open University in 1976, pioneering the development of the Science Faculty’s distance-learning curriculum in Health Sciences and contributing numerous original multimedia learning resources on global public health, immunology, epidemiology, communicable diseases and cancers. Under her leadership, Health Sciences became an established multidisciplinary field of teaching and scholarship at the Open University.

She is one of 55 successful Fellows to win the award, chosen from over 180 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Backed by The Open University, her submission showed evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence. Dr Davey will receive an award of £10,000 which may be used for her professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.
Dr Davey said: “It is wonderful to receive this teaching award for contributions to open and distance learning. To quote a former colleague (the sociologist, Phil Strong), intellectual goods are above all the product of conversation with one's peers and the environment in which one works. It has been a huge honour, pleasure and the best kind of challenge to learn from all those conversations in the supportive environment of the OU. I am deeply grateful for the priceless intellectual fellowship shared with colleagues for so many years."

Since 2009, Dr Davey has led extensive capacity building workshops in distance learning in Ethiopia and Nigeria, contributing academic expertise to the Health Education and Training (HEAT) programme ( ) as Deputy Director (Ethiopia) and editing its open-source modules that form a blended learning programme to upgrade the country’s 33,000 rural Health Extension Workers (HEWs) to a consistent quality standard nationwide. Dr Davey also led tutor training and assessment workshops in Ethiopia, and more recently in Nigeria, to develop capacity in distance learning pedagogy for academics from six Nigerian Universities. She is also developing a programme on non-communicable disease prevention in India and in the 2012 New Year's Honours list, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education and to health education.

The Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, 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, is open to staff whose roles support the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Notes to editors
The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 18,000 overseas.
The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.
In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.
Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 21 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Life, Coast, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

Health Education and Training (HEAT)
HEAT is an accelerated and scalable Healthcare Education and Training programme for frontline healthcare workers, providing them with vital healthcare skills and enabling them to stay living and working in their communities while learning. The programme launched in Ethiopia in 2011, with £4m UNICEF funding and in close partnership with the Ethiopian Government, the World Health Organisation and AMREF. Discussions are now underway to replicate the model across sub-Saharan Africa, helping the region reach and train the 1 million additional health workers needed to reach its Millennium Development Goals.

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