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Eight lecturers are recognised for excellence by their students

The Student Teaching and Recognition (STAR) Awards is an SU initiative for students to recognise and reward those members of staff who have made a difference to their experience at Solent. The eight prizes were awarded at a special lunch ceremony in the Spark and all those shortlisted were celebrated for their achievements.

Sarah Dryden, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design and Communications, won for excellence in teaching. For her, time is the important factor: even in a big classroom, students should still have the chance to feel like an individual. Sarah puts her students into small research groups, so they can take their discussions out of the classroom and be a part of an on-going conversation.

Lynsey Melhuish, Course Leader Adventure and Outdoor Management, agrees that time makes a difference. She won the supervisor of the year category, and for her the secret is being responsive, especially in the last couple of weeks before deadlines. For students to know that she will respond either online or by phone, or that they can see her face to face, can make all the difference.

In fact, she believes that knowing they are supported makes students feel more confident, which in a way makes them need the contact less. Having the option of getting in touch seems to make them more independent.

Having the chance to teach people at such a formative stage in their lives is a privilege, says Terence McSweeney, Senior Lecturer in Film and TV. Recognised for best feedback, Terence believes that feedback is a vital part of any student’s learning journey.

In return, students need to know that they are being listened to. Tom Slevin, Course Leader Photography, believes he won the award for student voice champion because he works hard to keep the conversation going. For him, it’s about building up a good rapport with the students, and making time to find common ground. When he follows up after the student-staff consultative forums every month to let them know what has been done, students know they have been genuinely listened to.

As Terence says, our job is to guide and inspire students on their learning journey, and it is great to be able celebrate that.

The other four winners were:

Jamie Clarke for excellent academic support

Dr Rhodri Davies for most innovative teaching

Dr Donna Peberdy for exceptional student development

Pilar Garrido Sanz for exceptional student experience (the Tim Coppins Award)

Congratulations to the winners and all those shortlisted!