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University Awards Winners 2017

Congratulations to all our 2017 University Awards Winners and Highly Commended Nominees!

All nominated staff were invited to an Awards Evening at the Butterworth Hall on Friday 12 May. With 295 individual and 108 team nominations made across the University, we'd like to say a huge thank you to all those staff and students who took the time to make nominations to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of staff from right across the Warwick community.

Congratulations to all those who were nominated - individuals and teams. We hope you had a great night.

Get a flavour for the night with our storify - all the tweets and photos from the evening in one place! You can also have a look at what it was like to prepare the evening with our Behind the Scenes feature.


Find out who won and who was highly commended, and what their nominators had to say about them. It was a fantastic night and congratulations to all involved.

Student Experience Award - Individual

Winner: Robert Spooner (School of Life Sciences)

Robert Spooner‘Clone Spooner’, ‘by far the best lecturer/asset to the Life Sciences Department, both inspiring and fun’. (second year student). Robert is an outstanding teacher who has made an enormous contribution to the student learning experience in the School of Life Sciences. His teaching style is challenging, research-driven and engaging. Robert’s rapport with students and his willingness to share his research knowledge and background in clear and engaging ways have made him a firm favourite with undergraduates, who have come together to put in a joint nomination for Robert for a staff award this year. Robert is also an outstanding role model among his colleagues, therefore we as a School wholeheartedly support his nomination.”

Read Robert's full profile and post award interview.

Student Experience Award - Team

Winner: Collaborative Wellbeing Activities Team
(Library / Wellbeing Support Services / Warwick Sport)

This team has helped Warwick move the wellbeing agenda forward in an impressive way, with student-centred/lifecycle approaches, as well as ‘Study Happy’ interventions and postgraduate initiatives, recently being recognised in the ITLR (Library Review, 5.2.2). It is always difficult to measure the impact of such work but Library KPIs demonstrate both an impressive take-up of services plus high scoring feedback from students. Whiteboard feedback shows how PAT dog visits help reduce stresses, whilst tweets have shown how impressed students (and their parents) are that Warwick has invested in such initiatives.”

Collaborative Wellbeing Activities Team

The team includes: Gemma Marakas, Lauren Elmore, Nuala Clarke, Becky Woolley, Steve Locke-Wheaton, Rachael Walker, Hannah Hickman, Kieron Punch, Andree Whittaker, Sarah Meharg, Rhiannon Taylor
and Catherine Eaton-Brown.

Read the post award interview from Gemma Marakas and Hannah Hickman from the Library, on behalf of the Collaborative Wellbeing Activities Team.

Highly Commended: Library Teaching and Learning Team

The Library’s Teaching and Learning team of Academic Support Librarians (ASLs) are all about working with colleagues to help create the highest quality educational environment to ensure our students succeed in their studies and research. The ASLs have designated academic departments and work in partnership with academic colleagues (in SCD style!) to support collection development, and the growth and delivery of information and digital literacy skills within Warwick’s curriculum. The student Library Associates really value working more closely with their ASLs. Second year students are keen to be even more actively involved next year and as one 3rd year student told her ASL: ‘It’s been brilliant to see the Library not only caring about the voice of the students but acting on it’. The Teaching and Learning team of ASLs are quite a modest bunch but they are key to the Library’s success and should be recognised in these Awards.”

The team includes: Richard Perkins, Sam Johnson, Helen Ireland, Chris Vernon, Christine Bradford, Lynn Wright, Francesca Cornick, Kate Courage, Helen Riley, Julie Robinson and Tracy Dix.

Research Team Award

Winner: Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health
(Warwick Medical School / Warwick Manufacturing Group / Department of Computer Science / University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire)

By combining excellent clinical care and patient-centred research, the BRU team has successfully galvanised public support that drives, and funds, the development of the Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre. The work of the Warwick team is internationally recognised as pioneering and has already delivered new treatment options that are currently being tested in clinical trials. The new Tommy’s centre now enables 24,000 women per year to access treatment and support and participate in Tommy’s research studies. Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign continues to grow and resonate with women, attracting a UK and global audience. To date the campaign has reached over 16 million women on Facebook with 7 million of them watching the campaign film; 7,000 taking part in a miscarriage survey and over 1,000 women bravely sharing their personal #misCOURAGE story."

Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health

The team includes: Professor Jan Brosens, Professor Siobhan Quenby, Professor Geraldine Hartshorne, Professor Theo Arvanitis, Dr. Sascha Ott, Dr Shreeya Tewary, Dr Mariam Lokman, Dr Valarmathy Kandavel, Dr Lauren Lacey, Dr Emma Lucas, Dr Pavle Vrljicak, Dr Omar Khan, Mrs Natalie Morri, Mrs Hannah Usher, Ms Kerri Geraghty, Ms Kyah Gibson, Jane Hillen, Lyndsey Prue, Nicola Flint, Angela Polanco, Joanna Clark

Read the post award interview from Sascha Ott and Omar Khan, on behalf of the Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health

Global Contribution Award - Individual

Winner: Helen Spencer-Oatey (Centre for Applied Linguistics)

Helen Spencer-OateyHelen’s passion for the practical application of her research for the benefit of international students and for the achievement of inclusive and well integrated student communities are the reasons that set her apart from other academics working in this field and make her worthy of this special award. At a time when the concept and ideals of internationalisation in Higher Education and in our society at large is being questioned, I am very proud to work with someone who has dedicated her life to intricately exploring and understanding the challenges and the rewards of intercultural communication.”

Read Helen's full profile and post award interview

Highly Commended: Helen Knight (Centre for Education Studies)

Helen goes completely above and beyond in her role. She has travelled to India on numerous occasions to work with the staff at Laksh, fostering a friendly and caring relationship with them. On top of that, she has completely changed the lives and perspectives of the students she has worked with. Helen has worked so hard on behalf of the Laksh volunteer project, and as a result the programme has gone from strength to strength. The project attracts fantastic students, and has made tangible changes on the ground at the NGO. The children who benefit from Laksh in India are getting a better education because of the Warwick-Laksh partnership, and are gaining exposure to international visitors. The NGO is also making gains in the gender balance at the schools – helping more girls to attend class.”

Global Contribution Award - Team

Winner: Warwick in Africa
(Warwick Mathematics Institute / External Affairs)

The Warwick in Africa team is one that clearly makes a significant contribution to Warwick’s global reputation by making and delivering opportunities for staff and student engagement overseas - currently raising approximately £300,000 in donations on an annual basis to support this work. In terms of the work itself, there is a breadth and depth of impact: over 280,000 students trained over 10 years, around 1,000 volunteers engaged, 500 African teachers trained last year alone. This has a very significant impact in terms of Warwick’s global positioning – an activity which is genuinely distinctive and sets Warwick apart from its major competitors.”

Warwick in Africa

The team includes: Colin Sparrow, Mary McGrath, Ruth Dorrell, Sarah Walker

Community Contribution Award - Individual

Winner: Paul Lam (Student Recruitment, Outreach & Admissions Service)

Paul LamIn July 2013, Paul received a Warwick Social Enterprise Award to create the Coventry Chess Academy (CCA) – a social enterprise providing chess tuition for children aged 6 to 12. It aims to use chess as a catalyst for social change by providing children with skills that empower them in and outside the classroom. The Coventry Chess Academy (CCA) is now one of the most successful chess clubs for children in the Midlands. Over two hundred children have passed through the CCA’s doors. The chess improvement demonstrated by the members of CCA has been simply amazing. Without Paul’s ideas and hard work, the CCA simply wouldn’t exist but it is also Paul’s inspirational leadership and ambition for both the club and its members that should be recognised.”

Read Paul's full profile and post-award interview

Community Contribution Award - Team
Winner: Warwick Volunteers
(Student Careers and Skills)

Warwick Volunteers work tirelessly to make sure we have good relationships with the local school communities, as well as all the other places their numerous other projects take place. They have expanded recently with organising a project within Cheylesmore, where students go to the community centre there to help the elderly community be less tech-phobic, and more tech capable. They have organised several projects, including starting two new projects here. One was the Cheylesmore community centre project above, another holding conversation classes for the refugee community to practice their English. This helps them get lots of practice and see friendly faces.”

Warwick VolunteersThe team includes: Helen Blunt, Jenny Watson, Emeline Marcelin, Hannah Hodgson, Sarah Newell, Kim Waite and Elise Armoiry

Service Excellence Award

Winner: Café Library 
(Warwick Retail / Cafe Library)

Through the efforts of this team, there is now a new pizza delivery service in place which meets and exceed the customers’ needs. From the time this idea was launched it has been perfected resulting in a wider pizza menu and smooth running of the whole process. This team’s dedication and proactive approach has resulted in strong relationships with existing as well as new customers across the whole University. From a financial perspective, there has been an increase of 123.6% in sales (£23,939 YTD against £10,577 same time last year), 70% gross surplus (£16,757) directly resulting from this activity. The result has had no impact on the original labour budget. Another achievement is the team working more closely together and building on each other’s strengths whilst offering exceptional service to customers.”

Cafe Library

The team includes: Joanna Slebodnik, Miguel De Almeida, Rebecca Cole, Kieran White, Clare Dadzis, Angie Everitt, Carolina Rushton, Rachel Dunn, Elaine Elliott and Harish Kumar.

Winner: Disability Support Personal Safety Alarm Team
(Campus Security / Estates / Disability Services)

As a disabled student, I often require the support of Campus Security or others to help me in the event of an incident. Standard pullcord alarm systems installed in adapted student bedrooms can alert fellow students, but what if they’re not there or I’m not in my flat? The team investigated linking my pullcords in my room to the Gatehouse, installing a Help Point in my room on the same system as the new Refuge Points installed across campus. The team are now looking at developing a bespoke system that links pullcords to the radio system and this is because they have always kept supporting the students at the centre of the project. That is the secret of the success of this project. A problem was identified and existing solutions did not fully meet the brief so they streamlined it, collaborated with the students at every stage and supplied a fantastic support system which has dramatically improved the experience of some disabled students on campus. If that is not the definition of ‘Simplify, Collaborate, Deliver’, then I don’t know what is.”

Disability Support Personal Safety Alarm Team

The team includes: Richard Field, Alan Piper, Despina Weber, Debbie Smith, Mark Kennell, John Pitman and George Saxon.

Highly Commended: Karen Walker, Mark Potter and School of Engineering Cleaning Team

Karen is an excellent person to put new staff with in that she sets an excellent example from day one with her work ethic and the pace at which she works. Over the years she will have trained every member of the Collections Team who have worked in the Library. She has been involved in a number of improvements with the team, from process fixes to improve the shelving service, to stock moves in refurbishments of library floors. She is one of those staff who are the backbone of the service who as a manager I would always turn to for advice over changes or improvements. While I don’t think staff should necessarily get an award just for long service, I believe Karen deserves recognition for her dedication to Warwick and the Library and her long contribution to the success of Warwick students.”

Mark is laser focused on continuously identifying and implementing improvements to campus life with relentless vigour and professionalism. He constantly challenges the Warwick Retail team to improve the service delivered in food and drink menu improvement and innovation such as launching the now popular matcha latte and steamed Chinese buns in the WBS café. His network in cross-functional campus teams is second to none and this really helps him simplify processes to get things done quickly and to an exemplary standard – he is a completer/finisher. Handling multiple complex projects as standard, the feedback from external and internal partners is always that he is a highly professional team player that leads in a highly ethical and successful way.”

Justyna leads a team of cleaners who provide a gold service to the staff, students and visitors to the School of Engineering. Their dedication to providing a flawless service is second to none. The school is a large diverse area with many areas being used 24/7. The quality of cleaning and attention to detail has been excellent and a credit to the University. They are extremely proactive in identifying problems with the facilities, enabling us to rectify these before they become a significant issue. When emergencies happen such as water leaks/water ingress, ceiling collapses, spillages they are extremely quick to respond in order to get operations back to normal as soon as possible.”

Public Engagement Award - Individual

Winner: Rachel Edwards (Physics)

Rachel EdwardsRachel probably does more outreach activities than any other member of staff in the Physics Department. This almost always involves doing activities in the evenings or at weekends. When she does outreach in the week, because the level of effort falls outside her expected role, it often means that she needs to do additional work outside normal hours just to catch up because she has undertaken outreach. Whilst we expect all staff to do some outreach, Rachel undertakes this with a level of effort and enthusiasm that goes way beyond what we could usually expect or hope for. Without Rachel’s involvement and leadership, many of the outreach events or activities that we have been able to deliver would probably not have happened.”

Read Rachel's full profile and post awards interview.

Public Engagement Award - Team

Winner: Creative Learning Team at Warwick Arts Centre
(Warwick Arts Centre)

Creative Learning TeamThe Creative Learning team at Warwick Arts Centre deliver, develop and enhance young people and teacher engagement with the arts, culture & creativity. We believe that creative learning enhances a better understanding and enjoyment of the world, and that it provides a spark that can ignite a child to succeed and discover more of the world around them. The work of this team, over a number of years, has supported the work of Warwick Arts Centre and the University overall. Last year alone they delivered work to over 17,000 participants aged under 21 years. The Warwick Arts Centre Creative Learning team are a catalyst for things to happen on campus and in the region – and an important external facing team that supports the University’s aspirations for education.”

The team includes: Carly Mee, Lynsey Cullen, Kate Sayer

Highly Commended: Warwick Antimicrobial Interdisciplinary Centre
(School of Life Sciences / Engineering / Chemistry)

The Warwick AMR team has been creating exciting outreach activities to enthuse members of the public about STEM at the University to tackle antibiotic resistance. These include schools workshops, public lectures, radio play, social media contests, multidisciplinary interactive demonstrations, lab tours and citizen science. The team has reached members of the general public including pupils, teachers, adults, teenagers and families. This has helped to raise awareness of Antibiotic Resistance and of the vital role of research carried out at the University. The activities have been interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions, challenge themselves with contests, visit laboratories and take part in demonstrations.”

The team includes: Professor Matt Keeling, Professor Christopher Dowson, Dr Elizabeth Fullam, Professor Elizabeth Wellington, Dr James Covington, Dr Freya Harrison, Dr Antonia Sagona, Professor Kevin Moffat, Dr Robert Spooner, Christopher Thoroughgood, Anna York, Cathy Rowland, Dr Leanne Williams, Dr David Roper, Dr Chandrika Nair and Branagh Crealock-Ashurst.

Inspirational Leadership

Winner: Charlotte Ridley
(External Affairs)

Charlotte RidleyCharlotte is a bundle of positive energy. Her enthusiasm is contagious, whether she’s planning large structural changes to marketing teams or overseeing a campaign involving many stakeholders across the University. The campaigns Charlotte has led on have helped to build stronger relationships with current students, who have really bought into her vision. To see students and marketers working together on projects that really articulate the diversity of the student experience and the sense of community here at Warwick, to both internal and external audiences, is hugely positive.”

Highly Commended: Wendy Roberts (Warwick Accommodation) and Alison Cooley (Classics)
The last year has not been easy and there are still many challenges to be faced as systems are streamlined and staff get used to working in different teams and with different managers. Wendy has lead the team through the first stage of the change process and has weathered the storm so far. She has not flagged and is still cheerfully working hard to ensure that the Campus Cleaning Services staff continue to work towards becoming a cohesive efficient team. Wendy is an inspirational Head of Department and her hard work in ensuring the smooth implementation of the restructure for such a large department is definitely worthy of recognition.”
Professor Alison E. Cooley, Head of Classics & Ancient History, is a most inspiring leader with an unparalleled wealth of qualities. As a pioneering female professor she leads by example, excelling in administration, teaching and research. Alison’s work ethic ensures the day-to-day smooth running of the department, and she is always available to students and staff, ready with intelligent and swift advice for any who come to her door. She consistently discovers opportunities for others (both staff and students), providing them with the opportunity for development, and ensuring they receive recognition for their efforts.”

Outstanding Team Award

Winner: University Nursery
(Children's Services Department)

The University Nursery team strive together and individually to consistently deliver excellence in childcare. This has been recognised by Ofsted as the Nursery achieved an ‘outstanding’ for the second time. To achieve this for a second time demonstrates their passion, determination and willingness to change and adapt. Ofsted and EYFS requirements continue to evolve and the team embrace these changes and thus continue to offer quality childcare. The team have created a solid supportive network within their subgroups and as a whole. Their success contributes to the overall reputation of the University of Warwick as well as providing an excellent childcare service for University staff.”

University Nursery Team

The team includes: Debbie Castle, Alison Pettitt, Amber Gill, Amber Liburd, Anna Legiewicz, Astra Wetton, Barbara Ellix, Carole Rawlinson, Claire Richmond, Claire George, Claudia Pitanguy, Deborah Pinkerton, Donna Egan, Gill Wale, Georgeta Radu, Indigo Griffith, Indira Pingkan, Joanna Flowers, Kiah Dooay, Linda Clerkin, Mai Patel, Marie O'Loughlin, Mubeena Kandiyil, Smearah Hussain, Sarah Birrane, Shayda Hussain, Shobana Murugaraman, Steven Bishop, Tracey Windley, Tracy Ennis, Trisha Caves, Vicki Wood, Jonathan Roscoe, Cara MaClure, Emma Wells, Taylor Choyce and Rebecca Hunter.

Highly Commended: Institutional Teaching and Learning Review Team (Teaching Quality / Academic Registrar's Office) and The Extended Classroom Team (IT Services / Learning Development Centre / Library)

Within a very short time frame, the Institutional Teaching and Learning Review (ITLR) team has had to develop and adopt a series of shared working practices to ensure that each member is able to make their contribution effectively. They have done this through the development of shared resources and very strong communication. The team has had to manage a high volume of enquiries from across the institution relating to the ITLR, from staff, students, panel secretaries and external members ensuring consistency and adherence to procedures which were often evolving as they were required. The team has been highly mutually supportive and achieved a great deal more through effective working than four individuals would otherwise have achieved.”

The team includes: Jill Shaw, Louise Hasler, Mandy Harris, Trisha Bagneki, Trisha Hart

The Extended Classroom Team’s commitment to engaging with staff at all levels of the institution has increased confidence in the use of technology amongst staff and students with a range of IT abilities. One of the key strengths of the team is the collaborative working across central and academic departments in order to share good practice and encourage collaborative working. All members of the team demonstrate a commitment to understanding and working with the complex environment of Warwick departments, understanding the drivers for using particular technologies for learning. The team continually go above and beyond to support colleagues and have made a significant difference to student learning through lecture capture, moodle, support with the design with online formative and summative assessments, online reading lists and provision of training and are undoubtedly worthy of an outstanding team.”

The team includes: Amber Thomas, Robert O’Toole, Emma King, Sara Hattersley, Jim Judges, Craig Summerton, Shahid Mahmood, Richard Clay, Russell Boyatt, Jonathan Owen, Kevin Jeffs, Emily Howson, Helen Curtis, Sara Lever, Sophie Cookson, Ross Mackenzie

Outstanding Contribution

Winners: Tracey Grant (Residential Life Team) and Diana Holton (Warwick Business School)

Tracey GrantIn a Warwick career spanning four decades, Tracey has been a force for positive change in the Finance Office, the Students’ Union and the Residential Life Team. Tracey has offered support and advice to many cohorts of sabbatical officers and student society leaders. Through the roles she has undertaken, Tracey has had a transformational impact on the lives of numerous staff and students, regularly being the right person, in the right place, at the right time to provide them with the support that they need . Additionally, her work as a Parish Councillor has strengthened the University voice in the local community."

Diana Holton

"Diana is extremely conscientious and highly motivated in the School’s best interest. She carries out an important role in which she brings a wealth of knowledge and I feel she deserves some recognition for all she has helped the School achieve. Diana really takes time to foster excellent relations with staff, students and alumni, as well as ranking bodies – all of which are key to achieving a successful outcomes. All in all Diana is an indispensable long standing staff member who truly deserves recognition for her exceptional effort in supporting the School’s success." Diana was unable to attend the Awards evening and has since received her award separately.

Read Diana's full profile and post-award interview

Highly Commended: Heike Groessl (Warwick Business School)

Heike has always been supportive of various projects going on in the office. She actively contributes to different conversations with her ideas, which has certainly had a positive impact on the work environment and progress. Heike would often contribute her opinions when another colleague in the office voiced his/her concerns over an ongoing project. She was also very supportive when I needed help with my tasks. She has taken on responsibilities in both the research office and the Doctoral programme office, which has helped to improve the liaisons between the two departments within WBS.”

Unsung Hero

Winners: Jane Kingman (CCSG), Roger Packwood (Computer Science) and Shayda Hussain (University Nursery)

Jane KingmanJane works tirelessly to support all Warwick Employment Group (WEG) b businesses. More often than not, she is the first in the office and is the last person to leave. Jane is an integral p art of the WEG team, providing fantastic support to all and working very hard to keep the businesses heading in the right direction. Working diligently behind the scenes, Jane is involved in p practically all of WEG’s projects. At the same time she advises and supports colleagues with their own personal and career development and is the person many managers within WEG turn to for help. Jane is always willing to share her own knowledge and experience to better the company and the productivity of her colleagues.”

Roger PackwoodRoger is always available to answer questions and address problems from the entire departmental community. His door is always open and he always seems to b e here earlier than everyone else gets in and later than everyone else goes home. He will always try to help, often on the same day or when it’s been left too late. He attends every departmental open day to set up displays and demonstrations, provide computing equipment and ensure smooth running. Roger does many little things every day to keep everything technical and practical running smoothly, ensures the computer systems within the department are running smoothly and without interruption, particularly at critical times."

Read Roger's full profile and post-award interview

Debbie Castle for Shayda HusseinPhoto of Debbie Castle, Nursery Manager, who collected Shayda's award on her behalf as she was unable to attend the event. Shayda is always ready to help staff members whenever they need it, such as reporting maintenance faults, sorting out HR issues, IT problems and so on. Some of these issues could be sorted by individuals, however, Shayda’s willingness to help means that she will do the task without question or criticism. She is always willing to help Nursery staff and parents with any problems or concerns they may have. Shayda is patient and respectful when dealing with everybody, but in particular with difficult or demanding callers to the Nursery. Through Shayda’s exemplary effort to help and support Nursery staff and parents, she ensures the Nursery is running smoothly and efficiently at all times. She is highly regarded and respected within the Nursery and also wider University departments.”

Highly Commended: Andi Poole (Estates) and Fiona Linton (Mathematics Institute)

Andi Poole developed from scratch a software system he called ScAnDis which met the needs of the Post Room and the student. This system enables the Post Room to log all incoming parcels and letters using a barcode scanner, giving each item an individual number, and then automatically sending an e-mail to the recipient. The parcel is then stored in a safe barcoded location in the Post Room until collection, this makes finding the right parcel significantly swifter and more accurate. There is nothing like it in the HE Sector.”

Fiona is an exceptional person in the Maths department, I’m convinced that the department would collapse without her. She is always ready with support for any student in the department, her door is always open. Without her, I think I may have dropped out of my degree, and you only have to spend five minutes in the Maths undergraduate room to hear of her doing something amazing for someone. She has directed people to services, been a listening ear and a helping hand, she has even stopped people from breaking down and skipping exams. It will be a sad day when Fiona leaves our department, as she makes an incredible contribution to student welfare.”