Celebrating a very special Teaching Excellence Recognition at @manmetuni >>> Dr Theresa Nicholson @thezzanicholson our National Teaching Fellow 2020, our warmest congratulations

The National Teaching Fellowship Awards by AdvanceHE, have just been announced.  This year, we are delighted to share with you that our colleague Dr Theresa Nicholson has been recognised nationally with this prestigious award.

Dr Theresa Nicholson, Reader, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Natural Sciences, Department Education Lead, NTF 2020

Theresa has pioneered many pedagogical innovations but is best known for her passionate and committed advocacy of inclusive learning and teaching. Theresa’s innovations have led to published research on aspects of curriculum development, student partnership, student engagement and belonging, technology enhanced learning, employability, and disabled student support. She works in partnership with students to develop curricula that enhance students’ sense of belonging to a learning community, and that promote engagement, performance and self-confidence. Theresa mentors academic colleagues to design and deliver teaching that recognises and celebrates learner diversity. She also develops policy around inclusive teaching that impacts on the wider HE community, and influences national practice through her contribution to Diversity in Geoscience UK (DiG-UK) and her staff development game Diversity Dash! which was developed with Kath Botham from UTA.

UTA asked Theresa what it means to her winning a National Teaching Fellowship. This is what she said:

“Egged on by some existing National Teaching Fellows, notably Professor Jennifer Hill from University of Gloucestershire who has been ‘on my case’ for many years, I applied with some diffidence. Self-confidence and self-belief have never been my forté. But knowing, that through this process, senior peers have commended my impact on Higher Education, considering it worthy of this prestigious award, has paradoxically made me feel both humble and buoyant simultaneously.

My background is a far cry from what was once considered the ‘traditional’ entry into academia. This fact drives my passion for equality of opportunity for all through an inclusive approach to curriculum design and delivery. One (or is it even two…) decade(s) ago, a combination of blind optimism and impassioned belief empowered me to begin a journey to overcoming the inevitable challenges rooted in curriculum change, and I feel privileged to have been able to influence the inclusion agenda within the University and beyond.

My NTF application gave me time to reflect on my teaching practice and consider how it might evolve in the future. I have never been afraid of a challenge, and am absolutely delighted to join a Higher Education fellowship of “people you cannot put in a box” (Haleh Moravej). This describes me perfectly – we will get on well! I anticipate that the award of a National Teaching Fellowship will create new external opportunities for me to collaborate in research, educational development and innovation. But ultimately, it’s all about the students, excellent teaching, and dare I say, transforming lives.”

Professor Helen Laville noted in her institutional supporting statement:

“Theresa has a passion for inclusive and effective teaching and a drive to support all her colleagues and the institution in enhancing teaching practice and curriculum development.

Theresa’s passion and drive to develop teaching practice is infectious and she has supported and mentored many colleagues across Manchester Met. She is recognised across the institution as a key leader in championing and developing teaching practice linked to inclusive teaching and curriculum and has led a number of key institution-wide initiatives that have resulted in changes in teaching practice and supported the development of inclusive curriculum across the whole institution. As well as being a champion of inclusive practice Theresa has also had an impact on teaching and learning practice nationally as an expert in her field and through her work with geography professional organisations, conference organisation and conference presentations, publications and external mentorship.”

The University Teaching Academy supports and mentors colleagues and teams who have the potential to be awarded an NTF/CATE in the future. For further information, please access http://www.celt.mmu.ac.uk/ntfs/index.php. Please note, the call for expressions of interest for next year’s institutional submission will open in September with an online session and special guests on the 21st September at 2pm.

Our warmest congratulations to Theresa! We are delighted and are looking forward to sharing her work further across the institution. Congratulations also to all NTF winners nationally!!!

Access them all at https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/news-and-views/Outstanding-teaching-recognised-in-the-2020-Teaching-Excellence-Awards-for-Higher-Education