Celebrating our Senate Fellows for 2018

Congratulations to colleagues from across our University who have been named as Senate Fellows, highlighting their commitment to excellence in learning and teaching.

Every year, our Senate Awards are presented to members of staff who have made an outstanding contribution to our students’ learning experience.

Candidates are nominated by colleagues who feel the inspirational teaching or exceptional student support they provide deserves to be recognised. Open to staff who work directly with students or whose work enhances student learning, the awards celebrate the people driving our ambition to provide the best possible education experience for our students.

Members of staff can be nominated in four categories:

  • Senate Award for Sustained Excellence
  • Early Career Senate Award
  • Senate Award for Collaborative Activities
  • Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching.

All award recipients become Senate Fellows for life.

Our Vice-President for Education Professor Wyn Morgan said: "As with previous years, I was again delighted to see the quality of nominations from our colleagues. The awards reflect excellence in learning and teaching across our University, and the winners should be proud of their outstanding contribution to our students' learning experience."

Here are the winners of this year's Senate Awards:

Sustained Excellence

Senate Award for Sustained Excellence

This award recognises a career of continued excellence and inspiration in teaching or learner support.

Graham McElearney - Academic Programmes and Student Engagement

Graham McElearney

Graham McElearney is a Senior Learning Technologist who is responsible for some of our University’s most impactful learning technology projects.

He has supported over 30 Learning and Teaching Development Grant projects, including our Understanding Academic English package which has been used by over 2,000 students.

Throughout his career, Graham has contributed to a diversity of initiatives that have transformed the way staff and students across our departments use technology to enhance their learning. These include the introduction of the Virtual Learning Environment (MOLE) and the piloting of web conferencing technologies, Google Apps and electronic voting systems.

Graham has also pioneered the development of podcasting as an educational tool and he was instrumental in the success of Encore, our University’s lecture recording system, developing much of the pedagogical framework that demonstrated the benefits to academic colleagues.

An active contributor to University conferences including TELFest and the Learning and Teaching Conference, Graham was responsible for founding the White Rose Learning Technologists’ Forum, which brings together over 100 members from HE and FE institutions across the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

In 2014, Graham was the lead for our University’s presence on Apple’s iTunes U, collaborating on a diverse collection of content that promoted excellence in teaching, highlighting the work of early career academics and supporting the creation of works such as Sounds of the Cosmos which was featured worldwide by Apple.

We are reliant on people placing trust in us, and being prepared to experiment and try some new approaches to learning and teaching.

graham mcelearney

Graham led our Changing the Learning Landscape project, which developed an institutional approach for supporting the Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA). More recently, he has managed our Digital Media Hosting project, a ground-breaking initiative which crosses the boundaries of teaching, research and marketing by creating a digital space to store and share our University’s video and audio assets.

Even Graham’s archaeology research for his PhD has informed an innovative teaching experience for students, contributing to technology enhanced field-trips through a virtual reality reconstruction of the Arbor Low stone circle in the Peak District.

Graham said: “I see the award as being a testament to the fantastic work that I've been able to do in partnership with many academic and professional colleagues alike over the last 20 years.

"Being in largely a support role, we are dependant on the co-operation of such colleagues to try and progress the things that we really believe are important to the University and to the educational experience of our students, and we are reliant on people placing trust in us, and in being prepared to experiment sometimes and try some new ideas and approaches to learning and teaching. A real honour indeed!”

Zoe Ollerenshaw - School of Law

Zoe Ollerenshaw

Zoe Ollerenshaw has worked at the forefront of innovative learning and teaching practice in our School of Law since 2000.

She designed an LLM Programme in International Commercial Law and Practice, allowing students to develop both legal and practice-based skills. In creating this programme, Zoe led a project to provide a portal to transitional learning resources for international postgraduate students (iTASH), which has since been incorporated into the resources available through our 301 Student Skills and Development Centre.

Zoe also worked with our English Language Teaching Centre to integrate English language support within the LLM programme, the first time such an approach had been taken at our University.

A passionate advocate of widening participation in higher education, Zoe leads the School’s successful Discover Law outreach programme, which gives South Yorkshire school pupils who meet the Academic and Widening Participation (WP) criteria an insight into the study of law through court visits, careers sessions and a residential summer school. She was also the first Learning and Teaching Director for Widening Participation for our Faculty of Social Sciences.

Zoe led the creation of an innovative personal skills and development programme to support WP candidates in their studies, along with the introduction of WP work experience bursaries to make placement opportunities more accessible. This scheme was awarded a Faculty Learning and Teaching Prize. She is also responsible for our University’s involvement in the Freshfield Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme, which supports the entry of black male candidates into legal careers in London and other City institutions including the Bank of England and Goldman Sachs.

I am delighted to receive the award which recognises the importance the University places on teaching excellence.

Zoe ollerenshaw

Throughout her career, Zoe’s exemplary contribution to learning and teaching excellence has been recognised through her role as Departmental Teaching Champion along with presentations at university-wide and national conferences.

Zoe said: “I am delighted to receive the reward which recognises the importance the University places on teaching excellence. Teaching innovation is risky and time consuming so it is great to know your work over the years is valued.

“Much of my work would not be possible without the input from the students and the help and support I have received from my colleagues in the School of Law, so I must thank them all for their various contributions.”

Anna Sotiriadou - Computer Science, International Faculty

Anna Sotiriadou

Anna is the Head of the Computer Science Department at our International Faculty, CITY College. Here, she explains the ground-breaking learning and teaching approach that led to her award:

"The Senate Award for sustained excellence in learning and teaching is a tremendous honour!

"I was always a strong supporter of the concept that in HE we should consider a programme of study in a comprehensive, all-inclusive, integrated, and holistic approach and my work has focused on instilling this “holistic approach” mindset to the department.

"I worked in close partnership with my colleagues, infusing them with a sense of ownership about the programme and enabling them to view the L&T methods they develop as elements that contribute to the overall satisfaction of the programme learning outcomes.

"Towards this direction, the incorporation of the Sheffield Graduate Attributes (SGAs) into our programmes was also one of my main priorities. I was actively involved in the development of badges, i.e. visual identities for the SGAs used to decorate the syllabi of all modules of all departments. I have instilled in the department the philosophy that SGAs form a major factor that influences decisions in the design of all learning activities, within or outside the curriculum, and enhance the students’ employability profile.

My work has focused on instilling a "holistic approach" mindset.

ANna sotiriadou

"I have also designed learning and teaching activities that enable students to be reflective learners and to realise the importance of SGAs. I initiated and supported the development of learning communities in the Department, again as part of the programme level approach.

"Moreover, my work also focused in achieving a programme-level view and in maintaining quality while a programme is delivered in more than one location, in sustaining excellence in L&T in all collaborative provision programmes and preserving the University’s quality education and reputation."

Early Career

Early Career Senate Award

This award recognises emerging excellence in inspiring teaching or learner support over a period of no more than six years.

Dr Rebecca Barnes - Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Rebecca Barnes

Dr Rebecca Barnes is a University Teacher in our Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB), whose work has focused on transforming the learning experience of first-year students.

Practical training is at the heart of the programme for MBB students, and Dr Barnes has led a range of initiatives to make the research experience more authentic at Level 1. She has introduced a new set of practicals which allow students to design their own experiments based on techniques they have encountered.

She has also created a ground-breaking educational card game to support learning in practical sessions. The success of this scheme has seen Dr Barnes organise a workshop to share her teaching methods with academics from across the country, and she has presented her ideas at a number of events including the Higher Education Academy (HEA) STEM conference.

Against a backdrop of widespread maths anxiety across the molecular biology research sector, Dr Barnes has coordinated a new ‘Maths for Molecular Bioscience’ module to develop Level 1 students’ maths abilities. The module takes a flipped classroom approach which allows student to access bespoke learning videos at their own pace, meaning that contact hours can be spent tackling specific difficulties. Dr Barnes shared this work at the University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Conference, and will also give a talk at the upcoming TELFest.

Improving the transition to university for students in the Faculty of Science is another of Dr Barnes’ priorities, and she is currently undertaking a major research project to discover which aspects of the induction process students find most useful. This innovative project has involved collaboration with students, and will result in peer-reviewed articles and presentations as well as the creation of new resources for incoming students.

Dr Barnes said: “Working with great colleagues and students in MBB is a pleasure! I'm delighted to have been recognised in this way and am looking forward to learning from the other Fellows.”

Farzana Latif - Academic Programmes and Student Engagement

Farzana Latif

Farzana Latif is our University’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Manager, and has made a significant contribution to supporting innovation in TEL across our departments.

Farzana was responsible for establishing the first ever Technology Enhanced Learning Festival (TELFest), which is now an embedded and important part of our learning and teaching calendar. The event inspires academic and teaching staff to consider new approaches and develop new skills, with exciting yet informative events such as Room 101.

Along with its popularity within our University, TELFest has had a substantial impact across the higher education sector, with versions of the event running at other institutions. Farzana has taken a research-led approach to continually enhancing the festival, and her success has been recognised at international conferences. As well as developing a community of practice for academic staff, Farzana has developed a similar meeting space for our Learning Technologists.

Farzana has also been recognised for her outstanding work with students, as she has consistently ensured that students’ voices are at the forefront of our TEL development. She has worked closely with our Students’ Union on a number of major projects such as the VLE review, and facilitated a Student Ambassadors for Learning and Teaching (SALTs) project on the use of TEL in the classroom.

Under Farzana’s leadership, our TEL team won the prestigious Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Team of the Year Award in 2017. She also has a leadership role in the National Heads of e-Learning Forum and has hosted events at our University, showcasing our digital practice and hosting invited speakers from across the country.

It has been really exciting to build new ways of working and see how the impact of this work has spread.

Farzana latif

Farzana said: “I am really proud to receive this prestigious award in recognition of my work at the University. It has been really exciting to build new ways of working and see how the impact of this work has spread across the institution, resulting in positive change to the student experience.

"The support and encouragement that I have received from across the institution and especially my team, when proposing new initiatives such as the above have been invaluable and this level of enthusiasm would not be found at most other institutions. The success of these initiatives is a testament to the culture and attitude of academic and professional staff and students towards innovation in learning and teaching.”

Dr Millie Mockford - Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Millie Mockford

Dr Millie Mockford has been recognised for her success in embedding enterprise into the Animal and Plant Sciences (APS) curriculum.

A celebrated University Teacher, Dr Mockford works as Departmental Employability Lead for APS, and has made valuable contributions to the APS placement scheme to encourage uptake. She has personally taken on the role of tutor for all placement students, supporting their reintegration upon return to university.

In order to help students build their media skills and confidence, Dr Mockford designed a ground-breaking new module based on science communication through film production. Talking the Talk allows students to take risks and develop their enterprising capabilities, while gaining technical filming proficiency and applying their knowledge of biology.

The module sees participants attend a variety of workshops and seminars, before leading the production of their own film. Along with many transferable skills, this allows students to build a portfolio of creative work to support their applications for employment or further study.

Key to the module’s success is the involvement of external partners, and Dr Mockford has arranged for media professionals including several of our alumni to work with students and share their wisdom.

She has also pioneered external partnerships at all levels of the degree programme, including a collaboration between Level 3 project students and the RSBP and Wildlife Trust.

In recognition of her contribution to student employability, Dr Mockford has been invited to present to Enterprise Education UK, and to sit on a discussion panel at the Westminster Higher Education Forum: Developing student and graduate entrepreneurship.

Dr Mockford is an active member of several learning and teaching bodies including the APS Teaching Committee, the Science Teaching Network and the Faculty Educational Leadership Programme. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and regularly presents at conferences both within our University and beyond.

Dr Mockford said: “I am so pleased to have received the Early Career Senate Award, it's great to see the importance of embedding enterprise within a curriculum being recognised. However, it wouldn't have been possible without the incredible support from my department and colleagues.”

Dr Peter Mylon - Multidisciplinary Engineering Education

Peter Mylon

Dr Peter Mylon is a University Teacher from our Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education who has been recognised for his role as the Academic Lead for the iForge.

The first initiative of its kind in the UK, the iForge is a makerspace run by students for students. It offers students the chance to create, collaborate and learn new skills outside the constraints of timetables, using an unparalleled range of workshop equipment without direct staff supervision.

Teams of students use the iForge to work on co-curricular engineering projects including planes, cars, solar telescopes and moon rovers, as well as lighting rigs for a music venue and a theatrical set. The space is run by student iForge reps, who gain key employability skills by volunteering to make decisions about leadership, funding and training and to help other students use the equipment.

An innovative addition to our Diamond building, the iForge also supports a number of design and build modules across our Faculty of Engineering, and Dr Mylon has pioneered changes in these modules that allow students to work in the iForge in their own time. This allows students to take the lead in their own projects and to gain experience in managing their time effectively.

Having identified the need for a space where students could work on personal and co-curricular projects, Dr Mylon began by travelling to the US to find out how successful makerspaces were run. He then led a team of passionate student volunteers to find the space, secure funding and procure equipment.

The iForge opened in October 2017 and had over 2,000 visits in the first five months.

A key factor in the project’s success has been Dr Mylon’s collaboration with the student reps. Throughout its development, Dr Mylon has focused on ensuring the iForge is a sociable space where students can work as part of a diverse yet cohesive team.

Dr Mylon has also championed the introduction of Fusion 360 software in the iForge, which is opening up more advanced manufacturing techniques to students. In making our cutting-edge facilities more accessible to students outside their timetabled hours, Dr Mylon has encouraged students to bring a more practical element to their research.

The iForge has been widely celebrated as a successful example of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and will form a key part of this year’s TELFest. It has generated interest and ideas for collaboration from departments across our University and from many external partners.

Dr Chantelle Wood - Department of Psychology

Chantelle Wood

Dr Chantelle Wood has received a Senate Award for the impact of her work on improving student assessment feedback.

Dr Wood has made a significant contribution to our University’s learning and teaching agenda by raising the quality and profile of assessment feedback for students in our Department of Psychology.

She has pioneered the use of a Turnitin-based feedback method that links specific comments on student work to marking criteria, and encourages student engagement with their feedback.

This has been warmly welcomed by students and even been noticed by Turnitin themselves — Dr Wood received an honourable mention in the 2017 Turnitin Global Innovation Awards.

A key part of this innovation is getting students to actively engage with past feedback, by filling in a “responses to reviewers” style coversheet in which students reflect on how they have addressed prior feedback from other modules in the current assignment. These changes have resulted in a marked increase in student satisfaction with feedback.

To have my work recognised with this award is humbling, and I hope it leads to many fruitful discussions with staff across the institution.

dr chantelle wood

Dr Wood is also the Level 3 Tutor for her department, and sits on the Psychology Teaching Committee.

Dr Wood said: "I am honoured to receive an Early Career Senate Award, for my work on assessment feedback. I am passionate about improving the quality of assessment feedback and supporting active student engagement with that feedback, to ensure that providing feedback is an efficient and worthwhile part of our job.

“To have my work recognised with this award is humbling, and I hope it leads to many more fruitful discussions with staff across the institution, on how to support student engagement with and learning through feedback."

Collaborative Activities

Senate Award for Collaborative Activities

This award recognises groups or teams who demonstrate collaborative working to improve learning in an inspiring or innovative way. 

Academic Unit of Medical Education

Professor Deborah Murdoch-Eaton, Charlotte Watson, Dr Joanne Thompson, Dr Peggy Haughton

Colleagues from our Academic Unit of Medical Education received this year’s Senate Award for Collaborative Activities for their Social Accountability work.

Dr Joanne Thompson, Professor Deborah Murdoch-Eaton, Dr Peggy Haughton and Charlotte Watson were instrumental in introducing our Medical School’s Social Accountability Student Selected Component.

Developing vital employability skills, the module allows third-year students to work with a community organisation for a full-time four-week placement.

The team have pioneered strategic partnerships with a diverse range of community organisations whose work supports the most vulnerable members of society, including children, people with mental or physical health problems, and those experiencing domestic abuse or homelessness.

Sheffield medical school graduates work within the UK NHS and internationally, and so a breadth of understanding and skills underpinned by enhanced recognition of the social determinants of health and inequity are essential. Students are encouraged to work on projects defined by the partner organisation, using their skills, knowledge and creativity to achieve tangible outputs.

Core activities for participating students include service evaluation, research, resource development, and practical support. Students have found the experience transformative, from an increase in their understanding of holistic care to improved communication and team working skills.

Meanwhile, partner organisations have benefited from the high quality of our students’ contributions.

We are all incredibly passionate and committed to our Social Accountability work in terms of the transformative learning it delivers for our medical students.

dr joanne thompson

With evidence of sustained engagement from students, these ongoing partnerships have the potential to shape the work of future medical professionals, challenge stereotypes and influence cultural change around health and social care.

Dr Joanne Thompson said: "Our team are absolutely delighted to receive such esteemed recognition of our work. We are all incredibly passionate and committed to our Social Accountability work in terms of the transformative learning it delivers for our medical students and the partnerships forged with community organisations across the South Yorkshire region.

“This module offers a unique opportunity for engagement with communities based on mutual benefit. It promotes awareness of broader determinants of health and holistic learning for our students and greater understanding of local health priorities, determined by the organisations providing services for vulnerable people. It is wonderful to have this work acknowledged."

Leadership in Learning and Teaching

Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching

This award recognises someone who has shown inspirational leadership, and driven forward the agenda to enhance student learning at our University.

Professor Hugo Dobson - School of East Asian Studies

Hugo Dobson

Professor Hugo Dobson received the Senate Award for Leadership in Learning and Teaching for his leadership of Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS).

GLOSS aims to promote student engagement in global learning by providing students with unique opportunities to understand their courses in an international context.

From engaging with international policy makers to assisting with international research in the faculty, the GLOSS programme encourages students to apply their knowledge to pressing global issues.

The Global Leadership initiative allows students to work as fully accredited policy analysts at major global summits, with recent participants attending events in Malaysia, India and Canada.

Undergraduate students can also get involved in the GLOSS Research Associate Scheme, which gives them the opportunity to undertake an innovative international research project in partnership with academic staff. Students have explored a diversity of topics, from the realities of child labour to the monitoring of glacier streams.

GLOSS is also responsible for SIDshare, a ground-breaking social enterprise which allows students to participate in international development. Run by students, the scheme allows participants to partner with organisations across the world and use their skills to meet global challenges.

Alongside his leadership of GLOSS, Professor Dobson is the Head of Department for our School of East Asian Studies.

Professor Dobson said: “GLOSS means a lot to me as it is unique to the University of Sheffield and provides students with an fantastic learning opportunity. It has allowed me to work with amazingly dedicated students and staff to promote collaborative research.”