Twenty members of staff have been recognised in this year's President's Awards for Excellence in Education.
The awards celebrate staff who have made outstanding contributions in teaching, research supervision and supporting the student experience.
They are one of three sets of awards given to Imperial staff as part of the President’s Award programme with similar prizes being given for research and societal engagement.
The Medal winners for the three education categories – Teaching, Research Supervision, and Supporting the Student Experience - are detailed below. The full list of award winners is available in the College Notice.
Awards for Excellence in Teaching are presented annually to members of academic staff judged to have been most outstanding in the quality, organisation and presentation of their teaching.
Dr Mirabelle Muuls, Business School/The Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment
"I love teaching, and it is even more inspiring to teach young people who are passionate about the purpose of reaching a zero-carbon society." Dr Mirabelle Muuls
Dr Muuls is the Programme Director of the Climate Change, Management and Finance MSc Programme. She led on the launch of the programme in 2016, starting with a blank sheet of paper just 18 months before the first students arrived.
Now in its second year, this MSc has exceeded expectations and has quickly established itself as a very special interdisciplinary and forward-facing programme. It is characterised by a student body with excellent gender, nationality and subject distributions, an instant positive student experience and a fledgling but highly active student alumni programme.
Dr Muuls said, “I am extremely grateful to all those that worked together to achieve setting up the MSc, as well as the different teams in the Business School and in the Grantham Institute who supported and inspired each other.
“It’s great to see collaboration from different parts of College to make a positive impact on climate change. I also feel very grateful to all the students: I love teaching, and it is even more inspiring to teach young people who are passionate about the purpose of reaching a zero-carbon society.”
The President’s Awards for Excellence in Research Supervision recognise staff who have made exceptional contributions in the supervision, encouragement and support of research students.
Dr Krysia Broda - Department of Computing
Dr Broda has made diverse contributions to research supervision, integrating research and teaching, pastoral care, and research leadership.
As Programme Director of the HiPEDS (High Performance Embedded and Distributed System) CDT from its inception in 2014 until 2017, Dr Broda introduced activities which created a stimulating environment and supportive community.
To provide an industrial dimension, Dr Broda arranged the group projects to be led by a different Industrial Partner each year. The Partners (so far MathWorks, Dyson, Ocado and Microsoft) visit Imperial twice and give feedback to students, and then invite the students for a day at their headquarters.
Dr Broda has completed 15 PhD students and is currently supervising four PhD students.
A colleague commented, “Krysia devotes immense energy to teach, give feedback, and improve PhD students’ work. It is not surprising that her alumni include one Lecturer and three Professors.”
Professor Yun Xu - Department of Chemical Engineering
Professor Xu has supervised 34 PhD students to successful completion in the last 20 years at the College, and she currently supervises 8 PhD students as the sole or principal supervisor.
A distinct feature of her research is interdisciplinarity, which often involves collaborations with the Faculty of Medicine. She has created a unique system and environment which allows effective communications between her research students with an engineering background and their collaborators (radiologists, cardiologists, and vascular surgeons). The interdisciplinary nature of their research also means that students require a high level of guidance, encouragement and support, which Professor Xu provides.
One of her former students commented: “I decided I wanted to pursue a PhD partly because I wanted her to be my supervisor, I knew this when sitting in her classroom five years ago. The passion for research and teaching that she was transmitting to us is what encourage me to pursue a PhD in her research group."
Supporting the student experience
The President’s Awards for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience recognise the importance placed by the College on the contribution of all staff (academic, professional and technical) to underpinning the College’s learning environment for students.
Mrs Clare Drysdale - Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Mrs Drysdale has led on a number of initiatives that have supported the student experience at the College, including: setting up a robust, efficient and student friendly system to support the industrial placement in the 3rd year; supporting the setting up of a new student society, the SparkiEEE Ladies that is aimed at bringing the female student cohort together and supporting them in a department where they have been a minority for many years; and supporting students’ career development via redevelopment of the Department’s career webpages that now include 7 mini training videos made in collaboration with industrial partners.
Dr Wayne Mitchell - Department of Medicine
Since joining the Department, Dr Mitchell has developed many new teaching approaches and ways to support Imperial students. Within two academic years, Wayne has worked with three programme directors to entirely replace their laboratory teaching from traditional protocol-lead sessions to the Mini-Research Project (MRP) approach first developed in the MSc Immunology.
During the MRP, students develop their own scientific aims and experimental plans, timetable their bench work and present their data analysis in an authentic manner, giving them a real experience of the scientific method.
Imperial's ambition to transform learning and teaching
The College’s Vice Provost for Education, Professor Simone Buitendijk, said: “I offer my warmest congratulations to colleagues that have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the education experience at the College this year.
“Such considerable change cannot happen without the professionalism, commitment, expertise and creativity of teachers across the entire College. The winners of this year’s awards exhibit these behaviours in abundance.”
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