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Stand out teaching

Everyone who spent time as a student at Warwick has memories of teachers who stood out. We pride ourselves on the quality of teaching here. The Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence (WATE) recognise and celebrate excellence in teaching and support for learning at Warwick. The awards give students and colleagues the opportunity to recognise and celebrate excellence in teaching and the support of learning throughout the nominee’s career at the University.

applesWinners each received £5,000 to further enhance their practice and received their awards at the summer degree congregation. Here, the winners and commendees in the 2012- 13 WATE awards share the secrets of their success, the lessons they’ve learned from their students and the invaluable advice they were given when they embarked on their careers.


It’s a great delight to win a WATE award and a great encouragement to develop further. I believe that learning is a natural instinct and that something similar must go for teaching too; they are hand and glove. Over the years I’ve learned that the greatest virtue in teaching is patience and that all students are different. When I started out I was advised that it is human to err, that teachers are human, and that students respect teachers who recognise this. And a bit of advice from personal experience… if, as a young lecturer, you are going to fall off the dais onto your back, emitting a high-pitched shriek in the process, it’s better to do so early on in the course as your students will warm to you all the sooner.

Robin Naylor
Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies,
Department of Economics

I feel very humbled, surprised and delighted to have won a WATE award. A great bit of advice I was given when I started out was that when speaking in public you don’t look half as nervous (or stupid!) as you feel, and to remember that the audience wants you to succeed.”

Christine Smith
Learning and Development Advisor,
Learning and Development Centre

The WATE award is recognition of the great work the Library is doing to support teaching excellence. It’s a fantastic buzz to realise just how much this
is all valued by the University. The best part of the job for me is working with brilliant, talented people: students, academic staff and support staff.”

Antony Brewerton
Head of Academic, Services,
The Library

I have a tremendous passion and enthusiasm for teaching and continually work to find innovative new ways to improve my teaching practice in ways that engage students with learning. To be recognised with a WATE award is fantastic! I began teaching because I had a love of learning and a talent for explaining things.

My students have taught me that each student is an individual, with particular talents, ideas, experiences and ways of understanding the meaning of issues.”

Louise Gracia
Principal Teaching Fellow,
Warwick Business School Accounting Group

It’s a real honour, and apart from being humbled by the award, it really does provide a platform for me to build on our current success in teaching provisions across the University. I think my students like that I always give 100% in every aspect of teaching and aim to deliver passionate lectures that are informative and, hopefully, inspirational.

Teaching is such a rewarding activity. I was inspired into the profession by previous lecturers and I continue to want to deliver excellence in my pedagogic practice. At Warwick, we’re fortunate to have some of the brightest student minds in the world.

They continually surprise and delight me with their outstanding intellectual capacity. Seeing things differently is a core value for us, and appreciating the diversity in student opinions regarding theoretical debates is always a pleasure.”

Ashley Roberts
Senior Teaching Fellow,
Warwick Business School


I think it’s my passion for my day-to-day work, for the project and for the contribution it can make to the student experience which led to me being nominated. It’s only been three years since I graduated but I’ve already learned that the students I support all have different learning needs and preferences and I’ve learned to adapt my approach to accommodate these different needs.”

Cate Mackay
Student as Researcher
Project Officer, The Library

My approach to supporting students is to help them realise that they have within themselves the potential to be successful without relying on a teacher. This is in the spirit of ‘the guide on the side’ rather than ‘the sage on the stage’. I try to find out what motivates the students simply by talking to them.”

David Davies
Associate Professor,
Educational Development & Research Team,
Warwick Medical School

Good teachers use problem-based learning, case-based learning and encourage self-directed learning. They keep students engaged in seminars, ask why, assess every option, critically appraise, write academically and teach with a researchled approach. Most of all they are reflective, innovative, inspirational, enthusiastic, encouraging, committed, creative, and understand it’s all about lifelong learning.”

Edward Lynch
Head of Dentistry,
Warwick Medical School

The best part of my job is when a student finally understands something they’ve been struggling with. I began teaching because knowledge needs to be shared. Some of my own lecturers were my inspiration. I’ve learned that you can get a long way with hard work, dedication and perseverance. ”

Andrew Howes
Department of Physics

In my experience, students want to know that what you’re teaching them is relevant so I try to draw parallels with the concepts that I’m teaching and
the students’ own work and interests. I began teaching to see if I could offer something better than the way I’d been taught, with old-style drills and dictated notes. I wish when I’d started out that someone had given me the following advice: teaching is not about you, but about the students and their learning, so don’t obsess about how you look, what they’ll think of you or how charismatic you are. Ask yourself what your students will like doing and can learn from.”

Michael Hammond
Institute of Education

For a list of previous award winning teachers at Warwick visit our Teaching Excellence website.


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