Engineering lecturer rewarded for teaching excellence

A lecturer in the University of Sheffield's Department of Mechanical Engineering has scooped a prestigious teaching prize from The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE). Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Enterprise Manager in the Department, has been awarded the £10,000 "Engineering Teaching Prize" for her commitment to teaching and course development.

Since joining the University in 2001, Elena has developed numerous academic modules, as well as designing Masters programmes in Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Management, Engineering Materials and Mechanical Engineering, Motorsports and Industrial Management. She lectures on enterprise and technology using innovative teaching techniques which have been extremely popular with students.

The "Engineering Teaching Prize" is the fourth accolade Elena has won during her career at the University of Sheffield. In 2004, she was awarded the Higher Education Academy Teaching Award and she has won two University Senate Awards for her work in the department.

The "Engineering Teaching Prizes" have been established to reward the most able lecturers who have chosen to remain in the Higher Education sector during the early years of their career.

This is the second time a member of the Faculty of Engineering has been awarded an "Engineering Teaching Prize". Last year Anthony Rossiter, Director of Learning and Teaching Development for the Faculty, was recognised for his commitment to the promotion of Engineering.

Elena Rodriguez-Falcon said: "I am really honoured to have been awarded this prize and am grateful to the RAE that they have chosen me as a winner this year. Teaching is not just a job for me, but my passion, and when students tell me that they have enjoyed my modules, then all the effort is worthwhile. I am constantly striving to improve my modules and create the best-possible learning environments for my students."

John Yates, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: "This award is a wonderful recognition of Elena's impact on teaching and learning in Engineering. It is also an endorsement of all of the educational innovations and developments by her colleagues in the department over the years, which has made us one of the top choices for students."

Paul White, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at the University, said: "I am extremely pleased that the Royal Academy of Engineering has recognised Elena for her commitment to teaching and to the continuing development of courses in the Department of Mechanical Engineering."

He added: "It is evidence of the University's strong commitment to high-quality teaching that the RAE has recognised Sheffield academics for two consecutive years."

Notes for Editors: Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. The fellowship – comprising the UK's most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, The RAE provides independent and impartial advice to Government; works to secure the next generation of engineers; and provides a voice for Britain's engineering community. For more information visit www.raeng.org.uk.

The Engineering Teaching Prizes were established to reward the most able lecturers who have chosen to remain in the Higher Education sector during the early years of their career. Prizes are awarded on a competitive basis to lecturers at UK universities working in any field of electrotechnology. Ideal candidates should have distinguished themselves from their peer group by showing a strong and continuing commitment to teaching, professional activities, promoting engineering as a rewarding and creative career, establishing industrial-academic links and other activities which ultimately ensure the output of top quality graduate engineers.

For further information please contact: Tessa Humphrys at the University of Sheffield press office on 0114 222 1046, or email t.humphrys@sheffield.ac.uk.