College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Achievements celebrated in College awards

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences community joined to celebrate and showcase the achievements of many outstanding colleagues at a virtual awards ceremony.  

The CAHSS Recognition Awards forms a wider suite of recognition initiatives that recognise the positive behaviours that make the College a great place to work – the team that thrives on the talents of all its members, the colleague who inspires those with whom they work.

The ceremony, hosted by Dorothy Miell, Head of College, saw winners announced for each of the nine categories. The winner will receive a voucher and a bespoke trophy designed by ECA alumna, Yanan Li.

All shortlisted colleagues will receive a certificate and printed copy of the event publication.

To everyone that nominated, thank you. You have shone a light on so many wonderful colleagues and fantastic initiatives that may be seen locally but that deserve to be celebrated widely. Congratulations too, to all 2021 nominees for your inspiring and valuable contributions to our College. I feel such pride to know and work alongside such an incredible, resilient and inspiring community of colleagues.

Professor Dorothy MiellVice-Principal and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

A record-breaking response

This year an outstanding number of exceptional nominations from across all career stages, areas and roles in the College were received – 1095 in total.

The winners were chosen by a panel of colleagues from across the College. Our special thanks to the 2021 judges:

  • Davies Banda, Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Thomas Chaurin, Centre for Open Learning
  • Sarah Cooper, The University of Edinburgh Business School
  • Jeremy Crang, The College office and School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Sarah Liu, School of Social and Political Science
  • Dorothy Miell, College Office
  • Claudio Michelon, Edinburgh Law School
  • Nikki Moran, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Bryan Muldoon, School of Health in Social Science and School of Divinity
  • Michael Murray, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  • Jeremy Robbins, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  • Sabine Rolle, College Office and School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  • Joe Stroud, School of Economics

2021 award winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 CAHSS Recognition Awards are:

The Head of College Award for Exceptional Service

Winner - Vicky Watters, College Office

Through her pivotal personal assistant role in the Head of College’s Office over many years, Vicky has provided outstanding support to successive Heads of College, College Registrars, Heads of School, Deans, and senior professional services staff, as well as many others across the College. Yet quietly, and behind the scenes, Vicky has performed numerous acts of personal kindness to colleagues down the years because she cares deeply about those she works with. She is a fantastic ambassador for the University and always upholds the ethos and values of the University.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - Geoff Lee - Edinburgh College of Art

Geoff has made an astounding contribution to ECA, CAHSS and wider University during his 22 years of exceptional service managing and delivering technology support in higher education and more beyond his remit.  His list of contributions is genuinely too long to cram into 250 words with full justice as he has achieved so much more than we are aware of as he is as modest as he is brilliant!  Since 2011, he has led, grown and developed the ECA Learning and IT Services Team. Ever calm and solution focused but also demonstrating tremendous grit and tenacity, Geoff really supported our successful adaptation in unfamiliar territory.

The Susan Manning Award for Inspiring Mentor

Winner - Nicola Davidson, Centre for Open Learning

Nicola's commitment to supporting people and mentoring them both in an everyday and strategic sense is often discreet and she is typically very modest about her role in these matters.She is an inspiration and I appreciate her down to earth style. Nicola has listened and has been there for me at a low point. I am so grateful for her advice and guidance. Nicola has helped me grow in confidence.

Judges Comments 

Highly Commended - John Ravenscroft - Moray House School of Education and Sport

John epitomises the leadership senior academics should offer to early career colleagues. John is a fantastic role model in the school as an example of someone who takes academic leadership seriously.  He successfully balances running a research centre, and a number of large grants with highly rated teaching and supervision and a commitment to the school community through various leadership roles.As a senior academic, his generosity with his time and advice is really remarkable. His 'can do' attitude and selfless encouragement has a positive impact on many.

Judges Comments

The Excellent Newcomer Award

Winner - Shaira Vadasaria, School of Social and Political Science

Shaira has galvanized the new RACE.ED network and brought together colleagues across the university to think about responsive pedagogies in times of crisis. Her subtlety of thought and depth of insight is unparalleled but joined with such warmth and commitment to fostering a critical and supportive collegiate environment as well as making Edinburgh a university that better responds to issues of racial inequality facing students. It is incredible to think she has done all of this despite only arriving in May 2020.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - Ciaran Masson, The University of Edinburgh Business School

Beyond being diligent Ciaran is very enthusiastic, creative and personable, he makes time to build a strong rapport with students and colleagues, and expertly balances warmth and professionalism. He often goes beyond the call of duty, making extra time to reply to students he knows are anxious and even meeting them in-person when they are new to country and need to see a friendly face. Ciaran's kindness and compassion has really helped individual students and overall the PhD community has become stronger with him.

Judges Comments

The Adaptation to Change Award

Winner - Social Work Practice Learning Team, School of Social and Political Science

In the face of the pandemic the team of Social Work academics and professional staff supporting them have put the whole of a complex, demanding social work training programme, with significant external professional requirements, online.  Their commitment to social work values have shone through in everything they have done and they should be so proud of the support they have given to the next generation of social workers, whose work is of vital importance on the front line.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - ECA Useful Ladies Chat Group, Edinburgh College of Art

This is a group of part time teaching staff from across ECA that have come together as a peer support mechanism on teams, providing encouragement, solutions, training, experience and positivity to each other during a difficult time. They have shared ideas to help design hybrid teaching, demonstrated methods to increase student engagement and wellbeing, attended each other’s teaching when the teachers were feeling like they were "teaching into the void" and listened to a group who are often missing when discussions are had due to their working hours.

Judges Comments

The Advancing Inclusion Award

Joint winners

Philippa Townsend, School of Divinity

Philippa is the School of Divinity's Director of EDI, and over the last twelve months she has transformed her EDI remit beyond recognition, expanding the focus on women to include sexual identity and race.  She initiated and co-leads a network of ‘Staff and Students of Colour + Allies’ that provides a safe and social space for people of all identities and ethnic backgrounds to promote an anti-racist culture. She moved online the New College Pride (LGBT+) group, and scheduled regular lunch-hour conversations for the large number of postgraduate students in Divinity.  These initiatives have had palpable results in building up relationships between students and staff across gender, sexual and ethnic differences.

Judges Comments

Rashné Limki, The University of Edinburgh Business School

Rashné has championed the rights of minority groups and underrepresented voices, shown bravery in raising and advocating around difficult topics around race, inequality, decolonisation, created a diverse and vibrant EDI committee and shown us all the value of challenging our own norms and values and facing what for many are unconscious biases and products of systemic white privilege. She has an innate sense of justice and is working slowly but steadily alongside others to put in place policies and practice to promote a sense of belonging and representation for historically marginalised groups within the University setting.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - Elizabeth McCann, Moray House School of Education and Sport

Elizabeth has supported the accommodation services by helping the student accommodation getting the student flat accessible for a student with no vision.  So successful has this been accommodation services will adapt this approach for all low vision and blind students from now on. Overall, Elizabeth has been so successful in supporting colleagues in making courses and programmes fully accessible for students who are blind that Moray House now is perhaps the best school at the University of Edinburgh for accessibility, inclusion and learning for students with vision impairment.

Judges Comments 

The Dean of Students Award for Contribution to Student Experience

Winner - Lorna Quickfall, School of Economics

Lorna is somebody who always looks for new ways to improve the quality of life that students can expect at Edinburgh, and takes concrete steps with regards to service provision and staff mentality in order to make this happen. It is an ethos that the entire University should be aspiring towards. Lorna consistently sees what every student, regardless of ability, brings to the School and how the School in turn can help them as much as possible. She also enthusiastically supports members of her own team in student-facing roles to be the best that they can be in providing that vital service. I cannot now imagine our School without Lorna, and every school should have one.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - Anya Clayworth, Centre for Open Learning

Anya is a real champion of students. Whether teaching 90 year old lifelong learners about detective fiction, or supporting teenage international students, Anya offers kindness, commitment and lots of fun. Anya goes above and beyond, wears her brilliance very lightly and is a true gem of a colleague. Anya approaches her role with creativity, seemingly endless energy and a can-do attitude that puts her students front and centre.

Judges Comments

The Outstanding Team Award

Winner -The Technology Enhanced Learning Team, School of Social and Political Science

Working hard, behind the scenes, often unnoticed until disaster strikes - the IT support team are a fantastic example of an outstanding team. Their work is done collaboratively - building on each other’s skills and interests. They support one another in a high pressure ("i-need-help-now") environment and their work is carried out professionally, speedily and often under challenging conditions. They are clearly driven by a care and passion for delivering excellence in online learning, and are always unfailingly kind, responsive, generous, collaborative, and constructive.

Highly Commended - CAHSS Undergraduate Admissions Office, College Office

Every individual team member demonstrated flexibility and resilience, with phenomenal patience, tolerance and positivity for each other and for their work. Every one of the team surpassed themselves both in commitment and time but also in maintaining the department’s integrity for fair admissions and outstanding customer service. Despite the adversity the UGAO delivered the best possible outcome for the College and the students, ever aware that they were providing a mission-critical service to the University and always mindful of the applicant experience throughout their journey.

Judges Comments

The Community Engagement Champion Award

Winner - The Practice Worth Sharing Team, Moray House School of Education and Sport

The PWS seminars have brought together people from all roles, grades, backgrounds, interests – people that would never before have been in the same room. They’ve created a safe space where practice and initiatives can be shared and challenges and issues can be collectively discussed and solved. The value of the work they do is immeasurable but I am confident that the impact is hugely positive and far reaching across the school community.

Judges Comments

Highly Commended - Nasar Meer, School of Social and Political Science

Nasar is an outstanding member of the University community. As director of RACE.ED, he has done tremendous work in forging community relations across the University, and helped constellate a network of scholars and educators committed to anti-oppression and racial equality. He lifts his colleagues up in a way that brings joy, vision and meaningful action to our lives. He is a colleague that has done tremendous work to engage our community at large.

Judges Comments 

The Inspiring Colleague Award

Winner - Jackie Barnhart, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures

Working with Jackie always makes me smile. No task is ever too big or small, and she is always finding innovative ways to solve issues, streamline processes, and improve the working environment for others. I lose count of the number of times each week I think ‘Jackie Barnhart will know how to solve this!’ She leads by example, inspiring others to get involved and tackle issues which might be hampering progress, but she is always quick to offer help and support and to pitch in whenever required. And, to top it all, she is witty, fun and caring:  I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a colleague recognition award!

Highly Commended - Gearóid Brennan, School of Health in Social Science

Gearóid brings enthusiasm to every interaction with colleagues with wit and humour much needed to manage the challenges in Nursing Studies when staffing has been diminished for a variety of reasons.  He comes to every interaction with a smile and a 'can do' attitude.  It is Gearoid’s positivity, kindness and supportive demeanour which have inspired so many of us and our team is very much richer for his membership. In my opinion, Gearoid is the definition of inspirational and I feel privileged to be his colleague.

Judges Comments