Double National Teaching Fellowship Award for UWE Bristol Lecturers

Issue date: 11 June 2015

Dr Karen Henderson, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics and Dr Jeanette Sakel, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics from UWE Bristol have each been awarded a prestigious national teaching fellowship in recognition of their outstanding contribution to excellence in teaching and learning.

Karen is honoured in recognition of her work on Technology Enhanced Learning and Jeanette receives the award for her work to make the study of language and grammar accessible to a wide range of audiences.

Dr Karen Henderson

Karen has held her current role at UWE Bristol since 1995 and became a UWE Learning & Teaching Fellow in 2011-2012. She is of the generation that had access to technology for the first time, through calculators at sixth form to computers for her PhD. This has had a major impact on her teaching style and she proactively seeks opportunities to link mathematics and e-technology to inspire her students. Her learning strategy has been to arouse curiosity by bringing mathematics to life, to show how it can be applied in real-life situations and use technology to engage students by energising and supporting their learning processes. This includes using a tablet PC to deliver and record lectures and using clicker technology to enhance student participation in lectures.

Karen pioneered the use of e-assessment in the Mathematics department at UWE and is a leading developer of the fully algorithmic web-based DEWIS e-assessment system. She has designed and implemented a range of e­assessment questions in key STEM fields and supports colleagues using the system at UWE and elsewhere. One of her pedagogical research interests is in the capture of common student errors in order to improve the students' experience of e-assessment.

Speaking about her award, Karen, said, “I am delighted to have the honour of being awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for my work on Technology Enhanced Learning. Using the DEWIS e-assessment system within my department and beyond has had a positive impact on both students and staff and it is great that this contribution has been recognised by the HEA. I'd like to thank my mentors and colleagues for their support and encouragement with my application - I could not have got there without them.”

Karen's teaching has been commended by students and led to a number of student-led teaching awards, including the UWE Students Union Assessment and Feedback award and Department Teacher of the Year award. She also established and runs the highly successful espressoMaths learning support service. This is a centrally-located drop-by station available to all student and staff members of UWE, providing free help with any Mathematics problem.

Alongside her academic career Karen has gained a number of sporting achievements, gaining 31 England international caps in rugby union. She has innovatively integrated these experiences and enthusiasm to the supervision of several successful final-year projects on the Mathematics of Sport.

Dr Jeanette Sakel

Jeanette joined the University in 2007 after working as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. She gained her PhD in 2003 from the University of Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Jeanette has a strong interest in pedagogy, linking her research with her teaching, which led her to write three textbooks for students: Linguistic Fieldwork, Cambridge University Press (CUP) 2012, Study Skills for Linguistics, Routledge, to appear 2015 and Bilingualism and Language Contact, CUP, in preparation to appear 2016). She also produces innovative teaching videos making grammar accessible to students in higher education and schools alike.

Speaking about her award, Jeanette, said, “I'm elated about my national teaching fellowship, in particular the recognition of my work to make the study of language and grammar accessible to a wide range of audiences. This award allows me to explore new ideas, such as the production of short videos on language, and I am very excited about the development and collaboration opportunities the fellowship opens up for me.”

Continuously evaluating and monitoring her practice, in particular by seeking feedback from students and colleagues, Jeanette keenly explores innovative approaches to learning and teaching. Her approach has fed into a new curriculum for English Language and Linguistics at UWE, taking into account practical applications of the subject matter and teaching these alongside subject-specific skills.

Jeanette has strong collaborative links nationally and internationally. She has worked as part of two national HEA-funded research teams, looking at the employability of Language and Linguistics students and investigating how students understand the questions of the National Student Survey.

She also promotes innovative learning and teaching within her own institution as Programme Leader for English Language and Linguistics and as a UWE Learning and Teaching Fellow. She coordinated a project on how to incorporate employability skills in the curriculum, facilitating colleagues in their curriculum development. Jeanette has also been elected to a range of committees, such as the UWE Academic Board, which allows her to influence learning and teaching policies at her institution.

Jeanette is currently working on ways to integrate approaches to language(s) at school and in higher education and is on the national committee for Linguistics in education.

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