Prestigious teaching fellowship for Leeds academic

A Leeds academic has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to higher education with a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF).

Dan Trowsdale

Dan Trowsdale, Deputy Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering, has worked at Leeds for seventeen years, having joined the University with more than 20 years’ industry experience in his field of product design.

The National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.  

Dan’s work focuses on human-centred methods of design-for-learning – using scientific insights to improve teaching and learning.

This is something which has been accelerated by his fellowship of the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence (LITE), where this work has involved co-design with staff and students using Lego Serious Play®, and the creation of a module design tool called EdVee – which uses systems engineering and visual thinking to represent pedagogical approaches within a module’s design. 

Since 2015, Dan has been involved with the expansion of online learning at Leeds, including developing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with over 100,000 enrolments and a recent flagship module for the fully online Masters in Engineering Management. 

Dan said: “I’ve been inspired for many years by the work of colleagues who are already NTFs, so I’m thrilled and proud to be recognised alongside them. The award has boosted my confidence enormously. 

“The support of colleagues in the school, LITE and the Teaching and Learning in Engineering Network (TALENT) has been significant in supporting my development leading up to this fellowship. I was humbled that senior colleagues believed in my teaching and scholarship. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generous help from the NTF support team at Leeds – Peter Hartley and Kate Exley have been remarkable and very patient during the application process.

“As a result of the application process, I have a very different personal view of my scholarship and teaching and my motivation as an educator.”

Dan Trowsdale presenting and gesturing towards a computer screen

The awards – managed by Advance HE – reflect Leeds’ commitment to creating an inclusive student experience and demonstrates our reputation as a leader in student education.

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, said: “I’d like to congratulate Dan on his fantastic achievement of being chosen as a National Teaching Fellow. His success shows us the importance of working together and sharing ideas when it comes to student education and the benefit that this can have on students’ academic and personal development.

“Dan also demonstrates how crucial creativity and innovation are in higher education, and it was great to be able to support his nomination for the Fellowship.

“The University of Leeds is home to inspiring staff who are committed to creating a truly exceptional learning experience for our students to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need to make a positive impact in the world.”

‘Real privilege’

This year, 55 new Fellows have been appointed and more than a thousand people have now been awarded the Fellowship since the scheme began in 2000.

Dan added: “Thanks also to Bee Bond, who reviewed round three of my ‘final’ draft and encouraged me to be bolder and more confident in my text. It’s a real privilege to work alongside such colleagues at the University, to be able to enjoy the mental space to develop and to have such world-class support.”

Professor Bond, from the University’s Language Centre, was one of three Leeds academics who received Fellowships last year. Leeds has one of the highest numbers of NTFs in the UK. 

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