UWE lecturer wins national teaching award

Issue date: 07 July 2006

Kim Scarborough Kim Scarborough from the University of the West of England has been awarded a prestigious national teaching award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to excellence in teaching and learning.

Kim is Senior Lecturer in the School of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at UWE. She entered academia in 2001 as a continuation of a 21-year nursing career in which she developed expert knowledge in the care of people with learning disabilities. She was awarded an NHS Trust Prize, the Robert Kingsland Award, in 1999.

Underpinning Kim's practice is the philosophy that people who have a learning disability and family carers are equal partners in any professional relationship of caring and education. On entering academia she challenged what she viewed as a traditional nurse education that did not fully involve people who have a learning disability and family carers (service-users).

Through her links with family carer groups and advocacy organisations, Kim knew that service-users and carers wanted to participate in the education of health professionals. She explored their negative experiences of education and discovered that they wanted to experience being a student in a valued setting as opposed to the segregated educational setting many of them had previously experienced. This resulted in the development of a work-based learning (WBL) project. She supported them in requesting successful Government funding for the project. As one student commented of this success: “We're being taken seriously; we're being listened to.” Having gained funding for the WBL project, Kim built a team to deliver a positive learning experience for the service-users. She also involved non-academic staff, for example in encouraging reception staff to print out café menus in large print.

Kim has welcomed this prize and said, “It's so exciting to win. I believe that it is important for people who have felt excluded from higher education to be given a chance to fulfil their potential. Health and Social Care organisations have to work in partnership with service users and carers and if this is to be successful then it has to be supported with relevant, valued learning opportunities for all partners. I have used my time at UWE to help build capacity in people with learning disabilities and their family carers to have more say in the services that support them. I also wanted service users and family carers to be fully involved in professional education and the learning disability lecturers have been instrumental in making this successful.

“The national teaching fellowship award will give me the opportunity to look at service user capacity building in other universities in the UK and internationally. It will give me the luxury of time to develop networks, improve my knowledge and skills and publish in this area.

“Another area that I hope to extend is developing my skills in developing fully accessible learning materials. I want to spend time with a specialist company to learn more about producing accessible documents. I also intend to develop new modules that respond to the needs of the service users and carers.”

Kim has also been involved in a research project using an empowerment model to develop novice writers into confident writers. Her own confidence in writing has grown as a result, she has developed a publishing profile, and she has now published as lead author and is working on further publishing projects.

UWE Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Rob Cuthbert, a member of the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme Projects Panel, said, “Kim's Fellowship is a fitting tribute to her inspirational contribution to teaching and practice in learning disabilities nursing. By challenging the status quo through personal example she is turning unthinkable ideals into best practice, showing as UWE's fourth National Fellow the teaching excellence for which the University is renowned.”


Editors notes:

Kim Scarborough is UWE's fourth National Teaching Fellow, following the previous successes of Ursula Lucas, Bristol Business School, Stephen Gomez, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Lesley Moore, Faculty of Health and Social Care.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS), launched in 2000, recognises and rewards teachers and learning support staff in higher education in England and Northern Ireland for their excellence in teaching. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the scheme recognises and rewards individual excellence in teaching in higher education. The scheme was relaunched in 2006 and now comprises two strands, Individual National Teaching Fellowship Awards and Projects.

The scheme is open to all staff who promote excellence in student learning in HE. Higher education institutions were able to nominate up to three staff for the Individual Award strand. The Individual Awards aim to raise the profile of learning and teaching; recognise and celebrate individuals who make an outstanding impact on the student learning experience; and provide a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes.

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