Neil Rackham Foundation Award

A generous fund of £10,000 has been donated by Professor Neil Rackham, Sheffield alumnus (BSc Psychology 1966 and Hon DSc 2017), to recognise students who have risen to the challenge of remote group working, through volunteering, coursework, a society or work experience.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed how we interact with one another, our students have adapted and have continued to achieve in very difficult circumstances.

Professor Rackham said: "In these trying times, universities need to find new ways to develop the core skills of collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. Simple distance learning doesn’t do a good enough job, so we sponsored this competition to get ideas from our students. The response has been fantastic!”

There were over 80 submissions in the form of videos, blogs, vlogs and written pieces, each of which demonstrated excellent problem solving, collaboration, creativity and communication within group work. The submissions were reviewed by a panel of University staff and SU Officers. Entries showcased an outstanding range of successful and inspirational examples of group work and all applicants should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.

The first prize of £5,000 was awarded to the LandLab group, consisting of three Post-Graduate Taught students in Landscape Architecture. Despite practical issues faced working remotely across multiple time zones, the group were able to find creative and digital solutions to replace physical communication and collaboration methods.

See the full list of Neil Rackham Foundation Award winners

Examples from submissions will be used to create resources that will inspire others to be equally as successful in their own group work, providing ideas, tips and strategies. These will be both from the perspective of students undertaking group work, and staff facilitating group work within their teaching.

The resources for staff will be shared via Elevate, a comprehensive suite of opportunities for staff development and enhancement in learning and teaching. Resources for students will be available through the 301 Academic Skills Centre, which provides a range of support for all students to be successful learners while studying at Sheffield.

Both Elevate and 301 have provided extensive support to staff and students in the recent and ongoing move to digital teaching and blended learning which can be found here:

301 Remote Study Strategies
Elevate Covid-19 support and guidance

Professor Neil Rackham

Professor Rackham is an experimental psychologist who has applied his research to many areas of business development including management training, sales and team-work. His 1988 volume, SPIN® Selling, is one of McGraw-Hill’s best-selling business books, and his works have been translated into 35 languages. As a graduate of the University (BSc Psychology, 1965), he went on to found a major company, which continues to offer management and sales training worldwide. He is now supporting the University in developing students’ team-working skills.

In March 2019, Professor Rackham delivered the 13th Roberts Lecture, ‘University teaching in a post-knowledge age’, utilising his expertise as both an academic and business consultant.

Watch the lecture

Professor Neil Rackham