From creating virtual reality simulations in teaching to managing 4,000 student enrolments, we honour this year’s winners’ achievements.
The President's Awards for Excellence in Education recognise staff members who have made outstanding contributions in teaching, research supervision and supporting the student experience.
“Reading through the nomination forms for this year’s awards was truly inspiring,” said Professor Simone Buitendijk, Imperial’s Vice Provost for Education. “The winners are all integral to the transformation of learning and teaching at the College which we’ve begun over the past couple of years and will continue over the years to come.”
Below, we talk to some of the award winners.
Mr Kartik Logishetty: “This is a great time to be involved with digital education”
Kartik, a Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, won a President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
He studied at Imperial as an undergraduate, and returned in 2013 to take up a clinical academic role. It was when he started a clinical PhD here – focused on improving outcomes after hip replacements – that he became interested in education.
A surgeon himself, Kartik knew that good training translates to better patient outcomes. He said: “One of the problems in surgery is we want to protect patient safety as much as possible by moving the early stage of the learning curve – when novices make their mistakes – outside the operating theatre.
“Some very effective simulation training has been developed for keyhole surgery – but in fact, most operations are open surgery, and previously there’s been no real way apart from using cadavers or models to train people before they start in theatre.”
Working with industry partners, the Royal College of Surgeons, and Imperial’s Digital Learning Hub, Kartik developed a virtual reality simulation to help students develop surgical skills. He said: “Often virtual reality just puts people in an environment as an observer. Our simulation enables students to interact with the environment – they can pick up instruments to perform surgery and safely practise and measure their skills.”
Commenting on the award, Kartik said: “This is a great time to be involved with digital education and I’m really pleased the College has picked this up as part of its strategy for learning and teaching. This is only the beginning.”
Jackie Twitchett: “It’s really nice to know you’ve helped the students along their way”
Jackie, the Imperial Horizons Administrator in the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, won a President’s Award for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience.
The Imperial Horizons programme allows undergraduate students to follow a range of other interests alongside their core subject, from philosophy, to Korean, to prototyping. Jackie said: “I started at Imperial the year Horizons was first introduced as a pilot – so I’ve been involved from the very start. It’s great to see how the programme has grown and changed.
“One of the main challenges is the volume of students – we now have 4,000 students enrolling each academic year, across the four undergraduate year groups. But it’s a good challenge to have!
“I enjoy the feedback we get from students about Horizons. It’s usually extremely positive. It’s really nice to know you’ve helped the students along their way, even if they don’t always know it was you!
Reflecting on the award, Jackie said: “I knew I’d been nominated but I hadn’t expected it to come to anything. It’s great to be recognised for my role in the background – it’s not often the administrators that get the recognition.”
Dr David Pugh: “Being able to use the knowledge and experience I’ve built up to help others is the most rewarding part of the job.”
David, a Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry, won a President’s Award for Outstanding Assistant Supervisor. A new category for 2019, these awards celebrate the valuable contribution that postdocs make towards the supervision of PhD students.
David currently works in Tom Welton’s research group. However, he first joined Imperial to take on some of Paul Lickiss’ research group and teaching commitments while Paul was working on the Molecular Sciences Research Hub project, the new building for Chemistry at White City. David said: “We were told to expect some disruption due to the move, but I don’t think any of us expected quite how much! It was quite a difficult balancing act to try and keep doing the normal stuff in a considerate way, with all the chaos going on around.”
Reflecting on the assistant supervisor role, David said: “I still like being in the lab and interacting with students. Being able to use the knowledge and experience I’ve built up to help others is the most rewarding part of the job.”
David continued: “The Assistant Supervisor role is an additional responsibility to the standard postdoc position, so it’s great to be recognised for being good at it. Paul and Tom have both been very supportive of obtaining extra qualifications like this – it’s been great to have that support from people I’ve worked for.”
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