2015/16 Student-Led Teaching Awards


The University has several awards for staff which we offer annually.

We get a huge kick out of hearing about the fantastic work that our staff do, and enjoy being able to show students’ and staff appreciation of their efforts.

This post outlines one of these awards and gives some highlights from the Student-Led Teaching Awards in recent years.


What are the Student-Led Teaching Awards?

Our Student-Led Teaching Awards are the University’s way to recognize staff who:

  • make a significant difference to students’ learning experience
  • go the extra mile to support students’ learning
  • use innovative ways of teaching and assessing students
  • show outstanding teaching and assessment

We engage students throughout the process in deciding who should receive these awards. Any student can nominate staff for a Student-Led Teaching Award and Student Reps are on the decision panels who make the final call on these awards.

In 2015/16, there were five categories of award available:

  • Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching
  • Outstanding or Innovative Postgraduate Teaching
  • Outstanding or Innovative Assessment and Feedback
  • Outstanding Support for the Learning Experience of Students
  • Outstanding Professional Services Support for the Learning Experience of Students

In total, we received 188 nominations from a mix of undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students (although not all nominations were eligible for consideration).

The decision panels – made up of Student Reps and the Students’ Union Officers – awarded 34 staff with a Student-Led Teaching Award (see winners below).

The winning staff were a mix of teaching staff, research supervisors, associate tutors, technicians, administrators and support staff.

Quotes from successful Student-Led Teaching Award nominations


The best thing about the awards process is hearing examples and stories of fantastic work being carried out around the campus. We get to hear about staff supporting students in their time of need, staff going the extra mile to explain concepts to students, and staff working hard to deliver a top learning experience for a cohort of students. Students’ clearly appreciate the work of these staff, and it is a privilege to be involved in recognising the efforts of those staff.

To highlight some of the best comments – and to give students some guidance when completing the nomination form – we have published some of the supporting comments from successful nominations:

Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching

“What makes her lectures so interesting is that she does not read off the seminar slides but is able to provide with a wealth of information. Her open, warm and empathetic approach makes her extremely approachable and is well liked and highly respected by my cohort.”

“XXX divides the group up into smaller groups. I have found this a very positive experience, as it has helped me to consolidate my learning further. Whilst in our small groups, XXX helps to facilitate further discussion by listening tentatively to each and every one of us and also by joining in and using her own knowledge and experience. I feel this has been motivational and also found that this way of teaching makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. To me, it is clear that the way XXX teaches makes everyone get involved and also makes everyone interact as part of a larger group.”

Outstanding or Innovative Postgraduate Teaching

“…thank him: – for his infectious enthusiasm – for making complex concepts and technicalities seem simple – for taking so much time to help and advise us individually – more than we were used to from most other teachers we’ve had – and – for ensuring that we take our ideas and creative vision seriously – making us feel that anything is doable – as well as helping us explore them playfully and curiously.”

“…committed to the learning of her students. She took an interest in us as individuals and was supportive and happy for us when we seemed to be grasping the material. She is engaging and extremely knowledgeable on the topic and I feel lucky to have had an expert teach me. The way she presents information is accessible and thought-provoking.”

Outstanding or Innovative Assessment and feedback

“I look forward to his lectures, he’s always cheerful and extremely helpful when you need it. He put up quizzes on study direct which were a very useful revision resource. Immediate feedback was given which straightened out any misunderstandings that I may have had.”

“…encouraged us to be critical and innovative in our work, which reflected her own approach to the subject. The feedback we got was abundant and valuable for our dissertations this term. She also encouraged us to give feedback to each other during the presentations. The whole module was really enjoyable.”

Outstanding or Innovative Professional Services Support for the Learning Experience

“She is not judgmental and is very calming – offering practical solutions at times of stress and worry. During my assessment periods and other high-stress periods of the term, she offers practical solutions in a way that is not patronising but shows understanding of the challenges we face as students.”

“Just knowing that – when it felt like I was lost in the anonymity of university – I had a member of staff who really seemed invested in me finishing my education has kept me engaged and motivated.”

“She always finds a way to make things possible and has a brilliant can do attitude to requests made by both staff and students alike. The office staff all love her and she has created a very welcoming atmosphere in the XXX office. She has the attitude where everything can be improved and all suggestions are taken seriously.”

Outstanding or Innovative Support for the Learning Experience

“…an element we all greatly appreciate XXX is her way of subtly pushing students not simply towards the right answers, but towards asking the right questions in order to draw from a wide scope of perspectives on any given topic. For us, following XXX classes ensures more than just acquiring knowledge, but learning how to apply this knowledge into our future careers.”

“He also follows up his lectures with a concise set of written notes – I’ve not had a lecturer do this with the exemption of him. These are incredibly useful for revision and getting your head round the complex content. I hope to have him teach next year.”

“he is very interactive with his lectures and workshops; during lectures he would get us to question his lecture materials and discuss about it and during the workshop he will get us to show our answers on the board and as a group would discuss if it’s right or wrong and why it’s wrong.”

Winners of Teaching Awards at Sussex

The winners were presented with their certificates by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at our Annual Teaching and Learning Conference.

The complete list of winners from previous years can be found on the Winners of Teaching Awards webpage.

You can find a selection of photos from the 2016 Teaching and Learning Conference below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Awards in 2016/17

The Student-Led Teaching Awards process for 2016/17 has already kicked off and are now open for nominations from students.

Students can complete the nomination form online via the Students’ Union website before the 17th March 2017.

At the time of publishing, we have received over 129 nominations for the 2016/17 awards!

We’re hoping this will be a bumper year for nominations, which should hopefully lead to many awards (and some very chuffed staff members).

More details about the Student-Led Teaching Awards, as well as information about our other awards available, can be found on the ADQE webpages.

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  2. […] can read the full description of the awards and categories on our blog post on last year’s awards, or on the ADQE […]

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