This year, EUSA (Edinburgh University Students’ Association) has received nearly 3,000 nominations for their Teaching Awards, up on 2,500 nominations received the previous year.
The EUSA Teaching Awards recognise excellence in a number of fields and are a really valuable way of getting student feedback on positive academic experiences, in order to improve the quality of teaching. Although not formally integrated into the quality process, Teaching Awards can now play a part in the promotion prospects of great staff members since the awards share best practices in teaching methods. In the context of research universities, where promotion is primarily based on research output, this is great news for the student learning experience, as equal emphasis is starting to be placed on great teaching.
Although categories like ‘Overall Teacher’ and ‘Best Personal Tutor’ are established and rightly coveted, new categories have been making an appearance. From ‘Best Student who Tutors’ to ‘Best Learning Community’, the move to recognise the student contribution really brings forward the concept of students as experts in their own learning and how working in partnership can harness their capacity to improve the learning experience.
The Teaching Awards also represent a positive collaborative relationship between the students’ association and the University, and many students and staff members are excited to attend the prestigious Teaching Awards Ceremony in April. The students who nominate shortlisted teachers are always invited to the ceremony, which really contributes to making it such a fantastic event to recognise good teaching at the University.
Finally, Teaching Awards get students excited about their teaching, they start discussions and set the ball rolling to improve it. They reward dedication and innovation and put the student experience right at the centre. They are about giving something back to a community in which students and staff must work together to achieve success. After all, that is what students’ associations are all about.
Record numbers are enrolling as class reps or volunteering at EUSA, and this year’s election cycles saw record numbers in terms of both candidates and votes. It is, therefore, little surprise that students’ associations like EUSA have found a highly effective way to collectively give a little back.