Our top talent recognised for learning and teaching excellence

Congratulations to the 11 people and two teams recently named Senate Fellows; we’re proud of your dedication to excellence in learning and teaching.

Our Senate Awards scheme aims to encourage and promote good practice, and raise the status of teaching and learning as a scholarly and inspirational activity. It rewards exceptional contribution in the area of learning and teaching, along with work that supports and enhances the student learning experience.

I am delighted for all my colleagues who have been recognised for their excellence in teaching and supporting student learning.

Professor Wyn Morgan

Candidates are nominated by their colleagues in four categories: Senate Award for Sustained Excellence, Early Career Senate Award, Senate Award for Collaborative Activities and the Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching.

Our Vice-President for Education Professor Wyn Morgan said of the award winners: "I am delighted for all my colleagues who have been recognised for their excellence in teaching and supporting student learning. At a time when teaching excellence has become synonymous with government policy and disputed metrics, it was a great pleasure to see all the wonderful work being carried out at the University by dedicated colleagues and which truly exemplifies excellence in a way we can all recognise.

"Deciding on who should receive the awards was very difficult given the high quality of the nominations but it was wonderful to read about the winners' work and the contribution they are making to excellence in the University."

Following the results of this year’s senate awards, we caught up with some of the award recipients:

Dr Julie Hyde, Department of Chemistry

Senate Award for Sustained Excellence


Julie is one of the recipients of the Senate Award for Sustained Excellence, which celebrates an ongoing commitment to outstanding teaching. Nominees are noted for using their expertise to make a significant contribution to University life.

Julie has dedicated her career to promoting excellence in learning and teaching, in and beyond the Department of Chemistry. Since 2011, she has led our pioneering partnership with Nanjing Tech University, providing a unique joint BSc Chemistry programme for Chinese students. A Senior University Teacher, Dr Hyde specialises in teaching Organic Chemistry. She also manages her department’s schools and colleges outreach programme, which offers an exciting opportunity for local students to try out chemistry in a university environment.

Julie said of her award: “To take a group of students at the start of their degrees then help them develop over the years and see them successfully graduate is great. Over the last few years, to teach students from the joint BSc programme in Sheffield and Nanjing Tech in China, and be a part of their development towards graduation, is fantastic. The importance of teaching and helping our students develop during their learning is a process that lasts for several years and means a lot to me.

"I am dedicated to trying to help my students from a variety of backgrounds achieve their aims. I am delighted to have been awarded the Senate Award. To be recognised for my dedication to chemistry over the years and for my laboratory teaching to students abroad whose first language is not English, as well as students at home, is wonderful."

Dr Kay Guccione, Research & Innovation Services

Early Career Senate Award

Kay is one of the recipients of the Early Career Senate Award which celebrates the outstanding development of colleagues in the areas of inspirational teaching and learner support. Winners are selected for the emerging impact of their work on our University community. A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Kay designs mentoring and coaching programmes, partnering people at all career stages with mentors. Working with both academic staff and research students, Kay uses research methods to make sure that mentoring across our University constantly matches the ever-changing demands of academia. Her projects have had a profound impact on departments across campus.

“My delight in receiving this recognition for the Thesis Mentoring work stems from the fact that it validates work that has grown from my personal values and approaches to education. The programme aims to work with the students having the toughest experience of doctoral education, something I feel is vitally important in helping us navigate the current challenges of the HE landscape fairly and collegially. Being able to demonstrate good experiences and outcomes for all participants has helped us move from a deficit way of thinking into a more developmental approach to meeting educational challenges.

“The award recognises excellent teaching, by non-traditional ’teachers’, in non-traditional structures. It has been a privilege to work on the programme, and work with the mentors – postdocs who have each delivered excellence themselves. That the University has recognised all this with such a prestigious award is the icing on the cake!”

Dr Katherine Linehan, Department of Biomedical Science

Senate Award for Collaborative Activities (Forensic Facial Reconstruction)

Katherine is one of the recipients of a Senate Award for Collaborative Activities. This award recognises the commitment of groups of colleagues who promote excellence in learning and teaching. Through innovative collaborations and effective teamwork, the winning groups have a profound impact far beyond their individual departments.

Katherine said of her award: “I am really thrilled to receive a second Senate award. Working with the Projects and Development Team on Mr X was a joy! The online resource was truly a collaborative University effort, with contributions from graduates and employees of the University past and present."

Katherine leads a team in the Department of Biomedical Science to provide a groundbreaking online course for learners around the world. Forensic Facial Reconstruction: Finding Mr X allows participants to learn the forensic technique of facial reconstruction from the experts involved in a real crime case.

Katherine, who received a Senate Award in 2003, is an expert in designing inclusive teaching sessions in which the contributions of individual students are valued. She plays a key role in a number of innovative projects in this area, such as the Student Transition and Retention (STAR) project and the Inclusive Learning and Teaching Project.

Professor Petros Kefalas, Vice-Principal for Teaching and Learning, International Faculty

Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching


The Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching celebrates an outstanding individual who drives innovation in learning and teaching. Only one award is available each year.

Alongside his Professorship in Computer Science, Professor Petros Kefalas' pioneering work ensures that all students at the Faculty in Greece receive an outstanding learning experience.

Professor Kefalas said: “The Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching is a tremendous honour. I am in debt to my colleagues who nominated me as well as to the rest of my colleagues at the International Faculty whose work and efforts also indirectly reflect this nomination.

"I am honoured to be entrusted with the role of the Director by the administration of the International Faculty, CITY College in Thessaloniki, Greece. We have a vision to contribute to the development of South-East Europe and promote the University's reputation and high standards of education provision.

"My approach has always been to establish an open dialogue with each individual and together find innovative solutions to any obstacles and challenges. My role is to encourage risk taking and experimentation in teaching and learning and assessment, but at the same time to maintain balance, fairness and consistency.

"I believe that the best way to motivate academics and urge them to engage in learning and teaching is by providing the appropriate mentoring support and by creating a community of peers that are open to self-reflection.

"My love for teaching is how everything started and the spark that keeps the flame lit up. Being in class either as a teacher or student is something that I still do with excitement. While discussing with my colleagues about their experiences, I feel that I am still able to add some "spice" to their practices, affecting the way they perceive education. I feel happy as I watch them growing mature and inviting others to this exciting journey of teaching and learning."

About the Senate awards

  • Senate Fellows (previous recipients) may only be nominated for a category different to their previous award.
  • Senate Award recipients become a Senate Fellow for life. As well as those who work directly with students, the scheme welcomes applications for colleagues who indirectly support students.
  • Winners receive the title of Senate Fellow and a framed certificate of recognition. Formal presentations will be made to the winners at a 2017 graduation ceremony.