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Two Warwick academics awarded National Teaching Fellowships

Two University of Warwick academics have been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy. 

Dr Paul Raffield, from the School of Law, and Dr Sean Allan, from the Department of German Studies, were chosen from over 200 nominations submitted by further and higher education institutions across England and Northern Ireland. 

In recognition of the outstanding quality of their teaching, both winners will receive £10,000 which may be used for the academics’ personal and/or professional development in teaching and learning. 

Dr Paul Raffield, Associate Professor, joined the School of Law in 2004 and teaches several core undergraduate modules including contract, tort and constitutional and administrative law.  

Managing to combine his personal love of the theatre and acting with postgraduate research into early modern legal history, Dr Raffield devised two optional modules: ‘Origins, Images and Cultures of English Law’; and ‘On Trial: Shakespeare and the Law’; both of which incorporate innovative teaching practices and are taught in performance-linked teaching spaces (the Reinvention Centre and the CAPITAL Centre at University of Warwick). 

Dr Raffield also received a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008. 

He said: "I am delighted and greatly honoured to have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.  It is as much a tribute to the enthusiasm, creativity and intellectual curiosity of our outstanding law undergraduates as it is to my skills as a teacher.  

“Since coming to Warwick, I have been given every encouragement by the University to draw on the skills acquired during a career of 30 years as an actor and director, and apply them to the learning environment.” 

Dr Raffield said he hoped to use his award to develop further collaborative enterprises with other departments at Warwick. 

Dr Sean Allan, Associate Professor, joined the Department of German Studies in 2001. Having made extensive use of mp3 technology to enhance the study of German poetry, Dr Allan’s pioneering project ‘Podcasting Goethe’ transformed the study of poetry for first-year German students. They now have access to specially commissioned readings of Goethe’s early work and can study this in the context of other more contemporary material such as, Rammstein’s Dalai Lama.  

And it is not just students at Warwick that have benefited; the online archive of poetry podcasts is an open resource that is regularly accessed from all over the world. Since the site went live in October 2007, it has received over 68,000 hits. 

Despite his enthusiasm for new technologies, Dr Allan firmly believes that the relationship between teacher and student remains paramount. 

He said: "I was absolutely thrilled to hear I had been successfully nominated for a national teaching fellowship. In a culture where, quite understandably, most rewards are targeted at research excellence, I think it's important that innovation in teaching and learning is recognised too.

“And like research, teaching is a team activity. My success in winning an award would not have been possible without the help of my colleagues in both the German Department and the Learning and Development Centre.” 

Dr Allan hopes to use his £10,000 to further develop some of the work he has already done on’ Podcasting Goethe’ and on sites of memory in post-unification Berlin. 

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) is part of the Higher Education Academy’s programme to raise the status of learning and teaching in higher education. It has two strands: Individual National Teaching Fellowship Awards, and Projects. It is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland (DELNI).  

Notes to editors 

For further information please contact: 

Natalie Field, Assistant Press Officer

Communications Office, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW


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