Loughborough University academics honoured with awards at graduation

Four Loughborough University academics are set to be presented with a Research-informed Teaching Award as part of this year’s graduation ceremonies.

These annual awards seek to recognise and celebrate academic staff who have made a sustained and outstanding contribution to the promotion of research-informed teaching at Loughborough University.

The awards are designed to foster pedagogic research across the institution and to reaffirm the University’s commitment to recognise staff who demonstrate high levels of achievement in both research and teaching.

The recipients of the Research-informed Teaching Awards 2015 are:

Dr Jo Harris, Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Dr Harris is recognised worldwide for her expertise in pedagogical research focusing on the teaching of health within school physical education. Alongside her contributions to academic journals and conferences, she has authored evidence-based national guidelines on the teaching of health-related exercise (HRE) in schools and produced resources for National PE Professional Development programmes in England and Wales.

Dr Harris has used this expertise to develop Loughborough’s PGCE teacher training course into a Master’s degree programme. This transition required amendments to the content, delivery and assessment of the PGCE course in order to develop students’ Masters level skills and included a complete revision of the PGCEs core modules. Jo’s dedication and excellence in her teaching has most recently been recognised by the Higher Education Academy following her attainment of Principal Fellowship.

Dr Jonathan Millett, Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

Dr Millett has developed his taught Part C module ‘Forest Ecology’ into a research/consultancy project which mimics his own research process. Students are tasked with undertaking a carbon audit of a forest for which they must make measurements, analyse the data collected and make links to broader forest processes.

Dr Millett has endeavoured to develop students as researchers in other areas, both at degree level through his dissertation module and at A-level through participation in the Nuffield Foundation Summer Research Placement Scheme.

Professor Memis Acar, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

In 2012, Professor Acar designed and initiated a new research module (Advanced Engineering Research) with the aim of supporting Part D MEng students develop the skills necessary for further study at Doctoral level.

Enrolled students are supervised throughout and afforded a number of seminars on research methods, technical report and journal paper writing to foster the knowledge and skills relevant to their research activities. Their final report is written in the form of a journal paper with the expectation being that the paper will be nearly ready to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.

Professor Memis also initiated the ENSURE Scheme which provides engineering undergraduates across the UK an opportunity to gain research experience at Loughborough University during the summer prior to their final year. Its success has led to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) establishing its own countrywide ‘Vacation Bursary Scheme’.

Dr Duncan Walker, Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Dr Walker has used his own research in applied aerodynamics to bring real world examples into the classroom environment. His 4th year Experimental Fluids Mechanics (EFM) module is constructively aligned to take the students through all phases of experimentation including planning and design, analysis and presentation of results and application of different measurement techniques.

Dr Walker illustrates each stage of the process using relevant case studies taken from his own and colleague’s research and combines this with practical activities and assessments. Furthermore, students are provided hands-on experience of experimental techniques usually confined to postgraduate study.

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