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What our Teaching Awards mean to us

As nominations roll in for the Students’ Association Teaching Awards, we talk to previous winners about the impact of being recognised in this annual celebration of excellence.

The Students’ Association Teaching Awards are an annual celebration of teaching and support staff at the University of Edinburgh. Now in their tenth anniversary year, they are the oldest awards of their kind in the UK.

Nominated and judged by students, the awards are organised into nine categories, with last year’s scheme receiving over 2,400 nominations. In the past two years alone, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) has won in three categories: Best Feedback (Carlos Soler Montes); Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor Award (Sarah Dunnigan); and The Ian Campbell Award for Teaching in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (Marwa Mouazen).

Carlos Soler Montes with a student and his teaching award
Carlos Soler Montes (l) with nominating student, Riley Kaminer (r)

Evolving and reflecting as an educator

“Having taught Spanish for almost twenty years, it was a great honour to win the 2017 Teaching Award for Best Feedback”, says Carlos Soler Montes, e-Learning Coordinator and Teaching Fellow in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. “This recognition has been a source of motivation and inspiration to continue improving and make my students' learning experience more enjoyable and thus successful”.

“The award has also helped me to evolve and reflect as an educator. It reminds me every day the key components that good teaching should include. Being creative, generous and approachable is essential. It is also very important to prepare classes and design courses with rigour, give meaningful and detailed feedback, and imagine new ways to create special moments and spaces where students can learn freely”.  

A collective journey of discovery

Marwa Mouazen receiving her award
Marwa Mouazen receiving her award in 2016

“To know that my efforts are being valued and recognised by what I consider to be the most important of audiences!” says Marwa Mouazen, a Teaching Fellow in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, when asked what she valued about winning the Ian Campbell Award for Teaching in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in 2016. “On a personal level, it is uplifting to know that I am not being forgotten!”

“Every year I embark with my students on a journey of discovery, we discover weaknesses and strengths, lifelong relationships start forging, together we go up and down our learning curve. Getting into the staff room and seeing that rectangular white envelope with the Students' Association logo on the outside has never failed to cause that faint flutter in my stomach and make my teaching/learning process more enjoyable and something to always look forward to.”

Sarah Dunnigan receiving her teaching award
Sarah Dunnigan receiving her award in 2017

Nurturing our students' confidence, strength, and self-belief

Sarah Dunnigan is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature. In over 15 years at Edinburgh, she has supervised dissertations in medieval women's writing, fantasy, fairy and folktales from the medieval to the nineteenth century periods, children's literature, and medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature. Asked about winning the 2017 Teaching Award for Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor, she says "I was very deeply touched and felt honoured to receive this award, and it truly marked one of the most important and affirming moments in all my time teaching here at Edinburgh.”

Banner for Teaching Awards

“The value of teaching, mentoring, and support is too often undervalued or only measured in reductively quantifiable ways, and these awards bring vital recognition to the variety of small but immeasurable ways  teachers and supervisors can play a role in nurturing our students' confidence, strength, and self-belief. I feel so privileged to be able to supervise such gifted and lovely students here, and these awards are a really unique way to acknowledge the importance of a mutually supportive and inspiring relationship between supervisor and student."

If you would like to nominate a member of staff, a student who tutors, or a course, the Teaching Awards are open for nominations until Friday 16th February 2018. New categories for this year include Best Practice in Inclusive Learning and Teaching, and Best Implementer of Student Feedback.

Find out more and nominate on the Students’ Association website

Related links

Read our feature on supporting our students for success

Find out about studying Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Find out about studying Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Find out about studying English Literature