Issue date: 06 June 2003

ISSUE DATE: 06/06/03

Dr Stephen Gomez, Principal Lecturer in Human Physiology in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of the West of England has won a prestigious national teaching fellowship prize worth £50,000. The prize has been awarded by the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) which was set up in 2000 to reward excellence in teaching and learning. It is administered by the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

This is the second time that an academic from the University of the West of England has won this fellowship. In 2001 Ursula Lucas from the School of Accountancy won the prized fellowship and she has recently been invited onto the council of the ILT.

The NTFS scheme rewards 20 academics each year. This year fellowships were awarded to academics from old and new universities and colleges of higher education and across all subject areas. In order to be entered for the NTFS award, Stephen went through a competitive Faculty and University process to become the UWE nominee.

Asked about his initial reaction Stephen said,” I am absolutely thrilled by the recognition of my teaching, learning and assessment initiatives over the years and this will encourage me to continue some pioneering work.

“With the award I am planning to develop ‘an extended academy of workplace tutors' where academics work closely with work supervisors and can involve them in academic assessment of placement performance. By academics, work supervisors and placement students working together better prepared graduates can be produced. The money will be spent on obtaining a research assistant and collaborating with industry more closely.

“The recent Government White Paper on Higher Education makes clear that universities can no longer be seen as ivory towers and they must function collaboratively with numerous sections of society. The NTFS award will allow me to investigate new relationships and partnerships with industry. At present they are involved in hosting students for one-year placements and I think there is huge potential for other forms of collaboration and this award allows some of these avenues to be explored.”

Stephen has made numerous contributions to teaching and learning at both faculty and university level. He helped develop the learning resources web (LRW), UWE’s first virtual learning environment; was among the first to produce web-tutorials and develop e-learning to support lectures and physiology practical sessions. He was shorted listed for the first e-Tutor of the Year competition hosted by the Times Higher Education Supplement and won a Networked Learning Support Framework (NLSF) award to study students’ attitudes to computer-based learning.

In addition to e-learning and introducing novel forms of assessment, Stephen has made a major contribution to placement and work-based learning. He is Faculty Placements Tutor and has re-vamped the Faculty Placements Service to provide enhanced support of students on placement, encourage students to go on placement and help students returning from placement to appreciate and apply their transferable work skills to final year academic study and future employability. Stephen has also contributed to work-based learning through the university’s work-based learning group and set up a website to disseminate the group’s activities.

Stephen successfully bid for an FDTL (Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning) Phase 4 grant worth £150,000 to develop a generic web-based system to track student learning on placement and develop a system for awarding credit for work-based learning. The FDTL grant was awarded in October 2002 for three years. Stephen has recently been awarded a grant from the Skills Study Group to set up an IT-based PDP system for the university.

Because of Stephen’s scientific research background he says that all his pedagogical research developments have been evidence-based and undergoes rigorous evaluation through feedback and statistical treatment to determine if the development actually adds-value to the students’ learning experience.

Editor’s notes

Jpeg visual of Stephen Gomez available by e-mailing Jayne.Andrews@uwe.ac.uk

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