Amazing efforts of inspirational teachers rewarded

Inspiring students in challenging circumstances has seen two members of our university community recognised in a prestigious awards scheme.

Liam Taylor and Dr Christopher Randall celebrated success in this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. June 2021

The latest in our feature series – profiling winners in all 14 categories of this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards – highlights the outstanding accomplishments of recipients of the Inspirational Teaching and Postgraduate Researchers Who Teach or Demonstrate accolades.

The coveted awards celebrate those people who truly put into practice the Leeds Partnership – an agreement setting out our shared commitment to work together to support all aspects of our University community.

And with nearly 2,200 nominations, there has been plenty to celebrate.

Inspirational Teaching Award

Inspirational teachers use their passion and dedication for a subject area to inspire others to be ambitious and enthusiastic, and to challenge them to develop new ideas.

This year’s winner is Dr Christopher Randall, Lecturer in Microbiology and Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Medical Microbiology degrees in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Grace Pountney, a second year BSc Microbiology student, was among those to nominate Dr Randall for the award.

She said: “Chris goes above and beyond for all his students, always looking out for them.

“He works incredibly hard – and has worked even harder this challenging year – to ensure we are happy, supported and achieving our full academic potential. He is the most inspirational lecturer, tutor and teacher I have ever met, and my experience of my course and university would not have been the same without him. His teaching, be it in a lecture or a lab session, is always engaging.

“I cannot thank Chris enough for all the effort he puts in to ensure we get the most out of our degrees and university lives.” 

Dr Randall said: “I’m still finding it difficult to put into words how thrilled I am to win this award and how grateful I am to the staff and students who nominated me.

“It has been a challenging year to deliver any form of teaching, even before considering how to make it inspirational, and I feel the only way I’ve managed to achieve this is through the advice, support and collegiality from academics, technical staff and postgraduate demonstrators in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

“I also have to say a very big ‘thank you’ to my students this year for remaining so enthusiastic as I tried (and failed several times!) to teach in an entirely new way.”

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. June 2021

Dr Christopher Randall, winner of this year’s Inspirational Teaching Award

Postgraduate Researchers Who Teach or Demonstrate Award

This award recognises a registered postgraduate researcher who, while undertaking their own study, has also actively and exceptionally contributed to other students’ education as a module assistant, seminar leader or demonstrator.

This year’s winner is Liam Taylor, a PhD student in Glaciology.

Professor Paul Chatterton, from the School of Geography, was among those to nominate Liam for this award.

He said: “Liam has risen to the challenge of teaching and researching on geo1000.

“He has developed some of the best pedagogical material I have seen for years and converting this online was superb. He has been an inspiration and even mentor to senior colleagues in terms of teaching practice, and the student feedback directly named him as the most popular and effective member of the teaching team!

“Our module reported satisfaction rates above 95%, as a result of Liam’s input. His teaching input and materials have been the highest quality I have seen from a postgraduate researcher in my 25-year career!”

Liam said: “I’m incredibly shocked!

“I’d like to thank the brilliant students in the School of Geography, who have risen to the challenge of remote learning this year and have engaged with creativity and enthusiasm. I feel very lucky to be able to work alongside such talented minds – it’s a complete joy to talk with them about the solutions to climate change, and I come away from every session more positive about the future of our planet.”

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. June 2021

Liam Taylor, winner of this year’s Postgraduate Researchers Who Teach or Demonstrate Award

Further information

More in-depth profiles of each of the winners will appear on the For Staff website during the coming weeks. These will also be promoted via the weekly All Staff enewsletters and the Staff Twitter account.

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