Small and specialist

Writtle College

Our awards:

–          Inspiring teaching award

–          Innovative teaching award

–          Best feedback award

–          Best module award

–          Best supervisor award

We felt that the number of awards chosen was appropriate for the size of our college as well as this being the pilot year of the scheme. We received 76 nominations and the number of awards has made a good platform to build upon for the coming years.

We engaged with the College’s Learning and Teaching Group to gain general tips and advice on the process and how to execute the awards whilst marketing were also contacted to utilise the institutions in-house marketing media such as screens and intranet.  We also attempted a simple maximum coverage throughout the main buildings of campus with posters at every convergence point and major doorway.  As our launch of nominations was around the Easter break, the panel also decided to send out part of the logo before the Easter break to try and encourage curiosity and intrigue before they went away.  The logo was posted around social media and by email, with a tag line, in order to raise awareness and intrigue. We publicised and opened nominations straight after the Easter break and soon started to receive nominations in the boxes we posted around campus.

We were glad to receive as many nominations as we did in our pilot year and were glad that a lot of students really put effort into their nominations and to see the passion coming from our students was excellent.  Thus, these results showed that our students do indeed recognise exceptional teaching at Writtle and value it very highly.  It was extremely encouraging to see such positive responses to learning, teaching and the staff at Writtle in our data set.  Whilst it was slightly disappointing that we received very few nominations from our FE students and postgrad students, and we wished for more, we are pleased with the reaction from our student body as a whole considering our small and specialist nature.

We have already identified that as our awards develop and grow next year and, teamed with a slightly more effective time schedule, they can be as good as any unions and will be bigger and better in years to come.  Our first aims are to reach out and include more of our student body – our FEs and postgrads.  Adding an FE category and a postgrad category would extend our reach in the awards and also expand the range of staff that can be recognised and thus more areas can be impacted.  Reports would also be able to be compiled during the process and at the end recording the data received and discovering more about what makes great teaching at Writtle College.  This could then be reported back to the institution at meetings that include student representation.  Possible sessions held by the award winners could also be organised and held for other staff to come to and have discussions and listen to others about their teaching techniques.

The project will continue to grow in the coming years. Slowly expanding the categories and outreach to our student body is accomplishable within the next one to three years and this will help to confirm the project as a regular occurrence.  If the union is successful in developing into a more capable body then in 10 years’ time the project could well be one of the standout occurrences and events to the Writtle College calendar.

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