Hazel Rymer, Mark Brandon, Martin Bean and Nick Rogers
Dr Mark Brandon, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at The Open University, won Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at the THE Awards 2012 last night (29 November 2012).
The award recognised Dr Brandon’s achievements as Principal Scientific Advisor to the Frozen Planet BBC TV series and writing a complementary undergraduate course of the same name, and for his extensive outreach activities.
Commenting on the award, Dr Brandon said: “I am a polar scientist, and my passion is teaching and researching our planet’s magnificent Polar Regions. To be formally recognised in this way is a huge honour for me. I am hoping it will help in some way to keep Polar science in the spotlight and stimulate interest in science in schools, interest groups and policy specialists.”
The Frozen Planet is a short course, and the first chapter is available free online. More than 15,000 people worldwide have already studied it, and it is the most popular Open University study unit of all times. It can be accessed on OpenLearn (link right).
Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy and one of the awards judges, said: “The metrics associated with student registrations, viewer interest, resource development, testimonial support, student feedback and a sustained commitment from The Open University, make Mark an outstanding choice.”
The award was one of only two individual awards at the black-tie ceremony hosted by David Walliams at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, the other being the Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Open University in Wales was shortlisted in the category, Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative, for its work to significantly expand the number of health support workers being prepared to undertake emerging para-professional posts within a modernised NHS.
John Gill, Editor, Times Higher Education, concluded: “Anyone looking for evidence of the pioneering spirit, adaptability and sheer quality of our higher education sector need look no further than this year’s Times Higher Education Awards.”