By Chloe Sladden Turner
At the Times Higher Education awards, on 29th November, two awards were won by the University of Hertfordshire in a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The first award won was in the Most Innovative Teacher category. It was awarded to Dr Theo Gilbert, an Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning from the University of Hertfordshire with over 23 years of teaching experience. This is a national award, given to teachers who could transform student experiences, through their passion and imagination for the job.
It was revealed by the judges, that Theo was chosen due to his: “Sustained commitment to advancing and positivity influencing the student experience was inspirational, and his work shows him to be a truly exceptional educator.” In particular, this can be seen in his Compassion focused Pedagogy project.
The winner of the award, Dr Theo Gilbert talked about the work that won him this very award. He said: “I am delighted, very appreciative and hopeful of HE’s potential for change. The University of Hertfordshire has been instrumental in allowing me to develop my framework for crediting compassion as part of the Higher Education curriculum.
Dr Theo Gilbert also commented on why his winning compassion project, with staff from over 40 universities, is so important. He said that it shows the influence of: “Training students in a range of caring, supporting and compassionate interpersonal skills to apply in academic work. Results are clearly indicating that students are becoming more confident in sharing and collaborating in their learning and problem solving, less shame-prone and more critical and creative in their thinking. This is what employers want”.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who is Professor Ian Campbell, from the University of Hertfordshire, spoke about Theo and his project. He commented that: “Theo is a passionate and talented teacher whose work is original and transformational, inspiring students and staff he works with”.
Professor Ian Campbell also spoke about the impact of Theo’s project. He said that the project that is: “offering advice on best practice in the HE sector for reducing the BAME attainment gap has been life-changing in his own institution and beyond.”
He added that Tejos compassion project works because it: “Enables students success and was highlighted in our recent Gold TEF award.”.
The second award came from the Research Project of the Year: STEM category. It was a result of the University’s hard work in their innovative research, based on decontamination techniques after this year’s chemical attacks.
The University of Hertfordshire’s Head of Toxicology, Professor Rob Chilcott led this study, which also helped in developing new guidance with the US about decontamination after chemical attacks. It was the great potential and impact of Rob’s work that helped in significantly enhancing any guidance for decontamination to the first responders of chemical attacks.
Professor Rob Chilcott spoke about how delighted he was at achieving the award and the public acknowledgement for this research: “Should a large scale chemical exposure occur, clear communication from first responders can save lives by speeding up the decontamination process and reducing toxic exposure, especially for children, older people and the most vulnerable victims”.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, from University of Hertfordshire, Professor John Senior; spoke about this award. He said: “I am extremely proud of Rob and his team; this research is an example of the impactful, innovative and multidisciplinary research”.
John Senior went on to say that: “As a leading business-facing University, we pride ourselves on creating and developing ideas, products and processes to meet the future demands of business and society. The legacy of the bespoke research facility created through Rob’s research is novel research in wider fields, including forensics, drug testing and non-invasive clinical diagnostics”.
Both of these prestigious awards are nationally recognised, and well deserved by those who won. Congratulations to Dr Their Gilbert and Professor Rob Chilcott and his team on winning these awards at this year’s Time Higher Education Awards.