National Teaching Fellowship for inspirational academic

Chris StokesCongratulations to Dr Chris Stokes from our School of Clinical Dentistry, who has been honoured by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) with a National Teaching Fellowship.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in higher education learning and teaching.

Chris, Senior University Teacher in our School of Clinical Dentistry and Director of Digital Learning, joined the University in 2002 after completing his PhD in Sheffield.

He became a Senior University Teacher in 2008 and now, as Director of Digital Learning, is sharing his expertise in embedding technology into teaching across the University.

The award recognises Chris’ 10 years of teaching and his dedication to widening participation in dentistry.

Chris’ work has seen him support students from underrepresented groups to succeed when applying for highly sought after dentistry courses.

The ADOPT scheme, which Chris co-founded in 2006, supports students in further education as they prepare to apply for dental courses. It has been widely praised as a flagship approach to reducing inequalities of access to higher education.

Chris also led on the development of Discover Dentistry, the University’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on FutureLearn.

Originally devised as a digital version of the widening participation programme, Discover Dentistry exceeded these plans and has now reached over 16,000 learners in 85 countries.

Chris will be formally presented with the award at a celebration event held in London on 25 January 2017.

Chris said of his fellowship:

“It has not really sunk in yet. Having long looked up to previous winners, especially those I know at the University of Sheffield, I feel very privileged to have been nominated and to have won a National Teaching Fellowship.

“The application process makes you reflect on your work – how you engage your students and have an impact beyond your own classroom. It is therefore a useful process whatever the outcome, but to actually get the award is extremely exciting.

“The recognition of the National Teaching Fellowship is really useful in supporting what I do as it goes beyond the award – it’s also an invitation to a network of other Fellows who support and encourage each other in innovation and the delivery of excellent teaching. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

“It is very humbling to meet students, school pupils, or even mutual friends who tell me about their experiences of learning on Discover Dentistry and the impact it has had on their career choice or even how it has reduced their anxiety about seeing the dentist!"