Edinburgh Global

Teaching Award for Scholars' Program Coordinator Inga Ackermann

Inga Ackermann from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ Program team was acknowledged for her ‘Outstanding Contribution to Social Justice and Sustainability’ at the Edinburgh University Students' Association’s annual Teaching Awards in April 2024.

Winners of the EUSA teaching awards holding their certificates on stage

Each year, the Teaching Awards provide students with an opportunity to thank staff for their hard work and celebrate the very best of teaching and support at the University, recognising the pivotal role that staff play in the student experience, from lecturers and tutors to supervisors and personal tutors, and professional services staff.

Commitment to Social Justice and Sustainability

Inga was recognised for Outstanding Commitment to Social Justice and Sustainability. She is the Online Learning and Leadership Coordinator for online students on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ Program, supporting scholars in Africa. She has made a commitment to scholars’ learning, wellbeing, and building a sense of community.

Program Manager, Sharon Boateng, explained, “Inga has consistently demonstrated genuine care and support for online scholars, helping them feel more connected to the University. She proactively engages with scholars to understand any barriers they may be encountering that could impact their academic success. It’s inspiring to see how Inga meets scholars where they are -lessening the distance that comes with online learning - avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach and providing personalised support tailored to their individual needs, where possible.”

“She continues to build understanding of the contexts her students live in and the issues affecting them, and constantly works to mitigate them. She has shown dedication to making sure her students feel part of the Edinburgh community by encouraging them to express their views.”

Scholars share Inga’s impact

“Inga has helped me to cope with online learning since it was my very first time. The orientations that she organised for us did the magic for me. It exposed to me coping strategies for online learning, what to expect, and how to get my challenges addressed. She has also made me more confident in myself and brought out my leadership skills. She encouraged me to go in for the scholar representative position and that has helped me to unearth my hidden skills.”

Divine Peter DebuoGlobal Food Security and Nutrition student and Mastercard Foundation Scholar

“Inga really deserves this award. She possesses a strong connection with students, often creating a comfortable relationship where students can reach out to her at any time. She has been the most helpful in providing access or guidance on how to access resources. Her coaching is great as it allows students to take initiative while she guides and encourages them.”

Fathia Selasi Charway-GloverMSc Carbon Management student and Mastercard Foundation Scholar

Inga explains her passion for empowering young leaders

Inga Ackermann holding her EUSA teaching award and certificate

How does it feel to win this award?

“It’s a great honour and I am deeply grateful to the scholars who took the time to nominate me for this award. This recognition means the world to me. I come from a family of teachers. Even though I may not have directly followed the teaching path, the spirit of education runs deep within me, and it is a proud moment for my family. It's humbling to know that my efforts have positively impacted students’ academic journey and made them feel empowered, included, and supported during their online studies at the University of Edinburgh.”

What motivates you; what impact do you aim to deliver for the scholars?

“Each scholar brings a unique perspective and passion to the University of Edinburgh. I want them to feel heard, supported, and empowered. Even those who may never have the opportunity to visit Edinburgh should still feel a sense of belonging to the extraordinary Edinburgh community.”

What has been the highlight or proudest moment of your work in ‘Commitment to Social Justice and Sustainability’ within the Scholars Program?

“It's amazing to see how often those proud moments happen! Our program currently supports over 100 online scholars and alumni who are making a real difference in their communities. From building schools and teaching digital skills in remote areas to working with refugees and pioneering work with Artificial Intelligence, our scholars are doing incredible things. Many of them are also student-parents, which makes their achievements even more impressive. For me, every graduation is a highlight, and I'm so proud of the hard work and dedication that our scholars put into their studies.”

“I am particularly excited to collaborate with scholars to bring our community closer together. Last spring, scholars and I initiated an Access Culture project—a well-being initiative where every online scholar engaged in a cultural activity of their choice. This spring, every online scholar is working on an environmental volunteering project that they developed themselves. I cannot wait to share all the examples of the projects that our scholars have done. Please check out our Impact pages in a couple of months.”

What do you aspire to next, what’s the next big thing?

“As we scale up our online education provision and reach a wider audience of scholars, I am seeking to collaborate with colleagues across the university and beyond to create effective and sustainable solutions to make the online Scholars Program more impactful. I also plan to engage more with policy work around online scholars' support and digital education provision at the University of Edinburgh.”

“And the next big thing - Enterprise School in South Africa in July. I cannot wait to meet the scholars in person!”

Discover more

EUSA Teaching Awards

Mastercard Foundation Scholars' Program