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The Results: Student-Led Teaching Awards 2017

Tuesday 04-04-2017 - 17:31
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Students and staff gathered to celebrate excellent teaching and partnership at the annual MDXSU Student-Led Teaching Awards on Tuesday 4th April.


The Student-Led Teaching Awards were established in 2014 to recognise and reward the incredible staff at Middlesex, and are entirely student-led, with students placing all 950 nominations and sitting on the shortlisting panels alongside elected Student Officers and staff.


There were nine awards open for nomination this year, from Outstanding Feedback to Support Staff Member of the Year. There was also a MDXSU Partnership Award for university staff members who have been key in supporting and promoting the work of Middlesex Students' Union this year.


"We are truly lucky to be at a university where staff and students work so effectively alongside each other to make our community one to remember."
- Katie Dragomirova, Vice President Business and Law


The awards ceremony was hosted by MDXSU Vice Presidents Orla Hillary and Katie Dragomirova, and began with music from Iva Angelicheva, singer and MDX Music Business and Arts Management student, followed by a three-course meal.


The ceremony was opened by Middlesex University Vice-Chancellor Tim Blackman, who spoke about his experience as a lecturer and the value of sharing excellent teaching.


"There are many different ways to teach well, which we will see tonight. A common thread, which we will also see, is passion."
- Tim Blackman, Middlesex University Vice- Chancellor


The awards then got underway, featuring video interviews from some of the students who nominated the shortlisted staff in each category. You can view these videos online on our YouTube channel.


Click here to view photos from the night.

For live reaction from the evening, head to the MDXSU Twitter.


The Results

Read on for the shortlist and winners for each award, and excerpts from the nominations students submitted for them.


Academic Staff Member of the Year - Arts and Creative Industries

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Dr. Maja Simunjak, Lecturer in Journalism
"Maja's classes are very informative and interactive. She makes it clear how each class relates to our assignments, so we feel equipped with the knowledge and skills that we need. She is also very encouraging and approachable, which allows students to feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help. She is very thorough and thinks ahead about what additional help students might need, in terms of arranging workshops, posting on UniHub examples of the type of work we should be aiming for, etc. Maja is not only passionate about what she teaches, but is also able to pass on her knowledge and experience in a way that is clear."
"Always engaging with the class and I walk away from the class with full understanding and knowledge on what I have to do. "

Dr. Fiorenzo Palermo, Lecturer in Popular Music
"He gives great feedback and continious support which allows students to develop and maximise their full potential. I have seen this through my own development where I had previously scored a 2:2... I took his feedback on board and scheduled a tutorial which allowed me to clarify any questions I had, and in my next assignment I achieved a 1st."

And the winner...

Giannina Warren, Lecturer in Advertising and Promotional Culture (Practice)
"She listens to what we are asking from her and the course and teaches us things which will be of genuine use in professional life."
"Her understanding of real world PR is obvious - she manages to take the theory and present it in real world situations to help us engage."
"Giannia uses fun little weekly projects which we present to the class in a non pressurised manner to help us engage with the material."

Academic Staff Member of the Year - Business

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Socrates Economou, Senior Lecturer in Marketing
"Every single lecture and seminar is really useful for us including content of the lecture, as well as the way how it is presented."
"He carries out activities and game like tasks during seminars in order for us to learn more about the subject. He shows us interesting marketing materials to bring out interest and put theories into prospective, and his lectures are more like a group discussion where everybody is encouraged to get involved."
"All the lectures are presented in a really comprehensible way with many examples from real life. We appreciate the way he speaks with us and his effort to explain everything, including significantly useful feedback on every single work. Each class has a good atmosphere thanks to him."
"He sits with you one to one and gives you amazing detailed feedback, and you feel as though he really wants you to do well."

Dr. Ignatius Ekanem, Senior Lecturer in Business Management
"He always sees the best in students. His approach of making student believe in their ability works... He understands students are different and can not always learn at the same phase and he embraces that approach in his teaching style. He encourages interaction and always ready to go that extra mile."
"He is one of the most motivating teachers I've had at Middlesex University, and always makes me believe I can achieve more than I think - and due to his excellent teaching he's right. I couldn't ask for a better teacher than him, especially in my 3rd year."
"His classes are very engaging and fun. I always look forward to his lesson as his content is very useful and directly linked to the assessments. He offers sufficient feedback and opportunity to improve work."

And the winner...

Ashok Srivastava, Lecturer in Business Management
"As a foundation year student he has opened our eyes into what university life is really like, and helping all of us settle into university life. He is a really good help with any questions we have and his lectures are really good."
"Ashok is firm with us but very understanding. He's sort of like a school father. He tells us off when we're are wrong and encourages us when improving. We've surely given him a run for his money this year but he has kept pushing us. He actually teaches us and not just speak at us - in seminars he doesn't just stand behind the desk or read off the slide. Everything is from the top of his head."
"Ashok believes that discussion is the key to learning. Everyone has different beliefs and ideologies so he brings all these little quirks together to teach us that there are always alternate views to our own. This method of teaching has made me realise that learning is not only about reading, seeing or even listening; it is also about interacting and discussing. He not only mentors us about business but how to deal with situations in the real world."


Academic Staff Member of the Year - Law

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Dr. Alice Donald, Senior Lecturer in Law
"Alice is not only an excellent researcher, but she has also demonstrated to be excellent at lecturing. Not only did Alice arrange for guest lectures to come in and inform students about their area of specialist within the university, she also, towards the end of the lecture, gives students typical essay questions to answer and start a discussion on the subject area. Alice seemed to be interested in the views of the students which led to a healthy debate."
"Alice has written many books which deal with current hot topics... Her knowledge within this area has enthused me to practice in the Human Rights area and has inspired me to do well within my studies. Her knowledge has also helped me in my other modules."

Mia Scally, Lecturer in Criminology
"She holds very exciting and interesting sessions to engage us with interesting ideas. She uses video clips, case studies and different stories and theories. She always takes into account our own emotions and warns us if there is any sensitive content. She feels very passionately about what we learn and this enthusiasm shines through in our lectures and seminars."
"Always supportive, giving very informative feedback, extremely engaging."
"Her knowledge gives us great insight and information about what we are studying... and I never feel bored in any of her sessions. Her exceptional knowledge has inspired and influenced me for my future which is great... this module and Mia have given me greater insight into this career."

And the winner...

Simon Harding, Senior Lecturer Criminology: Policing & Community Safety
"Simon has, on multiple occasions, been able to provide both a theoretical and practical perspective on the topics that he has covered. He takes an approach to ground complex theory within real world application which has the entire class nodding in understanding. Simon holds the status of subject expert consultant within several subjects during his spare time and he brings all of this in innovative learning techniques to inspire the next generation of criminal justice academics and practictioners."
"Simon has created 3 internships at academic research centres in order to teach students in both an academic and professional capacity during their time at Middlesex University."


Academic Staff Member of the Year - Health & Education

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Shirley Allen, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies
"She inspires trainee teachers to adopt, through motivation, a continuous learning approach - so they can inspire the future generation by sharing the knowledge learned from her."
"Shirley is an amazingly encouraging tutor who can help students find their confidence and believe in themselves."
"She is a pillar that you can rely on. Her direction and guidance on supporting her students is unquestionable."
"Shirley's knowledge is unquestionably impressive. Her own research and published literature portrays her commitment to reflective practices, lifelong learning and dedication to the profession.
"She always makes sure every student understands each topic clearly. She is always approachable and happy to help when a student needs help or guidance."

Helen Farmery, Senior Lecturer Primary & Early Years Education (Maths)
"Helen is supportive to all students on our course, both academically and personally."
"Her examples of teaching include stories told with passion and great outcomes. Enthusiasm shines through and brings a positivity to the subject area in every lesson taught ... Helen always gives us actual scenarios that we can relate to, which makes it so much easier to apply all our knowledge to teaching in schools."
"She has a real love for her subject area and her passion always comes across in our sessions. The various different principles and areas of development that come with maths can be complex, but Helen explains them in simpler terms so that we can grasp the meaning."

And the winner...

Nikoleta Syreti, Lecturer in Child Nursing
"Nikoleta has always given her students extra support before they even ask for it ... She always does extra background reading on the child nursing content she teaches us. She doesn't just read off power point slides, she adds in her own input and experience on specific matters. There was time I had to write an essay for another module and Nikoleta recommended a lot of good sources for me to use to write the essay, which helped me get a mark of 71 on it. She also recommends good journals, books and different educative material for us to go back home and look into. These are just some of the great qualities that Nikoleta has, as an academic member of staff."


Academic Staff Member of the Year - Science & Technology

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Gill Witney, Associate Professor in Computer Science
"Gill is an excellent teacher... she has an enormous wealth of knowledge, and impacts knowledge excellently. Her style of teaching encourages students' success. She gives prompt feedback and is not partial ... Gill makes you think, bringing out the best in you. She is extremely helpful and carries everyone along - she is absoulutely amazing!"
"Gill knows her stuff. She is conversant with a lot of resources and references. I'm not sure how long she's been teaching, but her vast amount of knowledge interests me ... you can't be bored in Gill's class! She is not just a teacher, but a mentor too."

Dr. David Westley, Associate Professor and Director of Programmes for Psychology
"At one point to demonstrate eye witness memory he had some older students run in the lecture hall in hoodies to smash shaving cream into his face. It shocked everyone and they were definitely paying attention then. It was a really engaging way to demonstrate the point, leaving the whole lecture hall stunned!"
"He doesn't just repeat the words/context on the slides he goes into details that aren't present simply on the slides. So missing a lecture is definitely not beneficial because he involves more than just what you can learn from the slides."
"He works with students practically and is always checking for understanding, his sessions are interactive where he asks students questions and allows discussions, he allows students to ask questions and also jokes around to keep students engaged."

And the winner...

Jackie Meredith, Senior Lecturer in Psychology
"She has great knowledge in her field, always provide excellent examples and support all her students within all the seven modules she's running. She answers emails within the hour, provides objective, strict but great feedback and generally wants the very best for her students. An outstanding professor."
"Hher handbooks are the ‘ultimate guide to success’ which I definitely use as my go-to if I need any extra information. She always has the most helpful learning resources and is always more than happy to see students for a tutorial even though she runs four modules a week! Jackie makes every student feel included, she is so down to earth and approachable, making lectures fun and keeping it updated with engaging stories, videos and group interaction which makes even the less interesting lectures fun."
"Somehow her cats are great examples of behaviours and theories within the subjects individual differences and business psychology. Who would have known! She makes it so enjoyable to listen and pay attention, and you really learn so much more with fun examples."


Outstanding Feedback Award

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Steven Barritt, Lecturer in Digital Photography
"Steve's feedback allows us to reach our own conclusions and helps us properly think about the reasons behind the things we do. He encourages us to push ourselves and helps us along the process, whilst accompanying us along the process with sheer dedication and attention to our individual needs. He was the person who taught me to actually think about stuff, simply by asking me ''why'' and pointing out things to me that I've never personally thought about before. I reckon that a lot of who I am today I will owe him, simply because he's placed himself in such a way in teaching that allows him to talk to people as individuals and not as ''another student''. He'll always reply to emails and he understands the relevance that particular things or matters have in our lives and so he treats them in that way, whilst helping us understand how these things matter and influence our work."

David Neilson, Associate Lecturer in Computer Science
"Not only does David leave feedback on the actual work so we can reference back to it but he will give appointments as well to give feedback in detail helping towards future coursework. He provides all feedback within 15 days, all in detail and provides lessons going over areas that we struggle on."
"David gives back outstanding feedback. When marking work, he explains to us how we may have come across and how to overcome errors in the fastest and most effective way. He shows his passion for the work, allowing us to achieve the highest grade possible."

And the winner...

Dr. Daniel Doherty, Senior Lecturer in Leadership Work and Organisation
"During class he encourages students to reflect on their discussions and also provides feedback on the discussions that are developing. After each class, Daniel sends out an email summarising the discussion, the main learning points and his reflections on the discussions and provides prompts for further thoughts and discussions. He also provides individual feedback on contribution / discussions etc. In addition, Daniel provides extensive feedback on written course work - he provides useful comments which are both challenging my own assumptions and encourage me to think more critically or to take a different perspective into account. His feedback is well balanced - supportive and encouraging as well as challenging to stretch my thoughts. Daniel provides the opportunity to have one to one feedback on written work or any other questions. Both quantity and quality of his feedback is excellent."


Support Staff Member of the Year

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Stella Sipple, Deputy Head of Sport and Recreation
"Everyone knows Stella would get more work done if she allowed the office door to be shut, but that wouldn't be Stella at all... the door is always open so students can always approach her for help. Probably 70% of these [questions] have absolutely nothing to do with her role but she will always always find a solution to them. When you think you have reached the end of the road, whether it be your health, finances, housing or grades she will always support you until you find the way out. Because of this unlimited support there are a lots of MDX students that have continued their studies and managed to graduate. Stella engages the 'trouble makers' and works them hard to turn them into leaders. She's stern, she wants the best for you, and makes you work bloody hard to get there. She is such an inspiring person, and brings out the best in students."

Aya Hosokawa, Fashion Technician
"Patience of a saint, helping us is never too much. We feel reassured with Aya and can never ask too many questions because she genuinely cares and wants to help you. Without her the Fashion department would not be the same."
"Aya is an absolute expert in her field - her knowledge about technical pattern cutting and sewing never fails to impress me! Will always be able to help us with any projects and explains things in a really accessible and easy-to-understand way. If she does not know the answer to a question she will go above and beyond to research and find out how to do it and then get back to us with an answer. I have learnt SO much from her during my time studying and honestly don't think I would have got through the last 3 years without her!"
"She's unbelievably committed to us and our work. She takes time to help us even when her shift is over."

And the winner...

Shazad Ali, Graduate Academic Assistant
"Shazad is kind, incredibly supportive and very professional. If a student is struggling and reaches out for help, he will get back to him/her with useful feedback within a very short period of time. Students know they can count on him."
"He is ALWAYS available to help. He makes sure he is there for the students that need his help. My peers on my course spoke very highly of Shazad and his ability to help students in need both academically and pastorally. I've come to him when I've needed help and he's never turned me away."
"He knows exactly what kind of problems students normally face on each module, and that is clearly reflected on the type of personalised feedback and support he provides."
"He knows the School of Law like no one, and has worked with many of the academics of the department of law and politics - he knows exactly what service (and whom) each student should be refered to."


Outstanding Commitment to Student Development

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Jan Williams, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of Health & Education
"Jan has worked together with MDX Nursing Society over the last two years, helping us to flourish as a society and to be engaged and involved in the development of the nursing courses. From the creation of a student nursing lounge at Royal Free, to ensuring students are represented at board level, she has shown a genuine commitment and leadership in improving the nursing education for North Central London. A nurse by background herself, she once told us her main concern was for the patients of north London, and by getting the students education right we can all help to improve the care delivered in these challenging times. Inspirational vision like this displays the true nature of nursing in action."

Lorraine Sweeney-Jones, Clinical Placement Facilitator (Whittington Hospital)
"Lorraine goes beyond and above to support all student midwives at Whittington. She is committed, organised, a very good listener and involves the student in decisions regarding the learning development and meeting the learning targets. She knows where every student is on particular day and turns up to make sure that we are supported and if not she addresses the issue."

And the winner...

Lughaidh Kerin, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Legal Education - Practice
"Lughaidh tries exceptionally hard to get students involved in extra-curriculum activities, such as pro bono legal aid work. These centres offer crucial work experience for law students, and gives them first hand contact with clients. Lughaidh goes above and beyond for students seeking opportunities to make themselves more marketable to future employers, and has given students an insight into what employers look for with numerous guest speaker events." 
"He is consistently helping me develop many skills that are needed in the profession I wish to go into. He always takes the time to talk to me about future plans and helps me focus on what I need to do to achieve my career. Without the help of Lughaidh I would not of had as many opportunities that I have received. The legal career is so hard to get into and he is doing everything he can to try and help us along the way. I could not ask for a better support system."


Most Inspiring Teacher

Watch interviews from students who nominated the shortlist.

Socrates Economou, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Branding and Tourism
"Socrates keeps the engagement of students high during all seminar questions using material that is both relevant and interesting for everyone to engage in. The constant communication between students and teacher makes him incredibly inspiring."
"Socrates goes above and beyond in order to enable students to become their best possible selves. Socrates' teaching style is very effective in keeping students engaged, with a mixture of learning, debating and even making the effort to have a laugh with students. Socrates always makes the time to get back to students with regard to queries via email and/or office hours."
"He is always encouraging us to do our best, inspiring us to achieve and telling us to make the most out of the amazing opportunity we have been given. Every lecture and seminar he goes the extra mile, giving us indepth information, real-life examples."

Elliot Schatzberger, Senior Lecturer in Law
"He is engaging and makes learning fun and interesting. He is hugely inspiring and we are very lucky to be learning from him."
"Every lecture given by Elliot is capturing, interesting and knowledgeable. He has the ability to take the content of a subject and teach it in a manner that allows students to remember the work after class and apply it in our daily everyday lives. He has never read off any slides which allows us to stay engaged and not loose interest throughout the lecture."
"Everyone in the class is smiling after he finishes the lecture. We learn a lot. He engaged everyone in the lecture and provides examples of law that one will not forget in a million years."

And the winner...

Dr. David Westley, Associate Professor and Director of Programmes for Psychology
"He has continued to be a great support to me as a third year student since I've been dealing with some personal issues, providing very much needed reassurance and advice during a difficult time. He has enriched my experience as a student significantly and am truly grateful to have him as a member of staff I can always turn to."
"David has had an unfaltering ability to inspire and encourage his students through his own topics as well as in their other modules and as individuals. He never fails to bring a calming and reassuring perspective in any situation, and continuously goes out of his way to be helpful and flexible regardless of whatever problems or issues may arise. I will never forget his role in my life, both on an academic level and as someone who has never failed to have faith in me and every student."

MDXSU Partnership Award

This award was given to University staff who gone the extra mile as allies and advocates of the Students' Union over the past year, supporting campaigns, events and MDXSU activity. Many thanks to David Williams for his support and inclusion of MDXSU and students in LGBT+ activities; Lorraine Sexton, for her unrivalled support in helping to make MDXSU events they can be, even with limited time or resource; and Jan Williams, for her long-standing committment in strengthening the student voice and championing student leadership.



Congratulations to all staff who were nominated or shortlisted, and thank you on behalf of your students! Further thanks to all students who placed a nomination and recorded an interview for the awards ceremony. As well as giving us an opportunity to bring students and staff together to celebrate at the awards ceremony, your nominations will be used by Middlesex Students' Union to suggest improvements to the university in future so we can continue to develop teaching and partnership at Middlesex.


Later this term we will be hosting a second awards ceremony for the MDXSU Awards, a celebration of amazing students and student groups at Middlesex. There are ten awards, from Best Society to Student of the Year, and both MDX students and staff are welcome to place nominations by the deadline of Friday 14th April. To place a nomination online now, please click here.



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