Issue date: 10 May 2001
Dr Ursula Lucas, an accountancy lecturer from Bristol Business School, has been nominated for a £50,000 award as part of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS).
Dr Lucas teaches IA (Introductory Accounting) and Auditing and her research specialism is in accounting education. She has been selected as one of 43 nominees to receive this national award for her excellent and innovative teaching.
UWE nominated Ursula for her inspirational teaching, outstanding course results, and the positive influence she has had on the practice of teaching and learning in the University as a whole. She is praised by students for her ability to make potentially dull subjects, such as auditing, come alive and colleagues have been inspired to pursue better learning experiences through her example.
Ursula says she has always maintained her link with the accounting profession, "I see myself as both a member of the academic community and as a member of the accounting profession. Consequently I have worked closely with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in their examination system for many years and I am currently chair of the ICAEW Assessment Committee."
Dr Lucas says it is through a love of her subject that she is enabled to keep her teaching interesting, "I constantly look for different approaches to make the subject relevant to my students. I try to engage them by seizing on unusual ways of linking accounting and auditing with the 'real world' for example by using poems or stories that raise quite telling philosophical issues."
If she wins the £50,000 prize, Ursula is clear that she wants the money to benefit the large numbers of students who study IA (currently around 250,000), "My area of research interest is the teaching of IA. It is important that students feel empowered by their studies to understand accounting information and have the confidence to work with it and, if necessary to challenge it. However research shows that students are often fearful of accounting, and have negative preconceptions about it. Yet there is relatively little research carried into the effectiveness of IA courses. My project will seek to research these issues more closely and to provide a forum for the sharing of experience between accounting educators. We need the opportunity to share best practice in this important area of education."
The NTFS 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 (ILT) on behalf of the HEFCE. For further information see the websites: www.ilt.ac.uk and http://ntfs.ilt.ac.uk
The twenty winners, who will each receive £50,000 to benefit their work in teaching and learning, will be chosen at a meeting on 6 June, with details released to the press the following week. Winners will attend an official presentation dinner on 10 July in London.
Ursula took a first class honours degree in History and Politics before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. After ten years in practice with KPMG she entered higher education in 1985 motivated by a deep interest in education and a desire to enquire into taken-for-granted practices within auditing. She joined BBS as a senior lecturer in 1990 and was promoted to Principal Lecturer in 1995. Throughout her time at UWE, Dr Lucas has been a champion of innovation in teaching and learning not only within accounting but also across the university. Her passion for teaching led naturally to research in the field, and she completed a highly original doctoral thesis at Sheffield Hallam in 1998. Important publications have followed.
Photo: Ursula Lucas photo available upon request in jpeg format.