OUSU Teaching Awards 2017

Tutors Nazila Ghanea, Janet Dickinson and Nigel Medhi are recipients of 2017 Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU) Teaching Awards. They were honoured in a gala ceremony, held 11 May 2017 at Oxford Town Hall. A total of 11 Departmental tutors were shortlisted.

The annual student-led award showcases those tutors who are recognised as going that extra step further in their teaching, tutoring and supervision.

The nomination criteria list abounds with superlatives: best, most acclaimed, outstanding. Nominees must stimulate and challenge, and must also be able accommodate the different ways people learn. Ultimately, an award-winning tutor, lecturer or supervisor is one who instils in the student a desire to learn more.

This year OUSU received more than 890 nominations from students across the entire University: lecturers, tutors and supervisors. OUSU then drew up a short-list of nominations, from which one individual was selected for each of Award.

Nominees and winners pictured backstage (left to right): Sandie Byrne, Cathy Oakes, Nazila Ghanea, Janet Dickinson, Nigel Mehdi, Christine Jackson and Jocelyne Hughes.

Outstanding Graduate Supervisor

Among the qualities required for the Outstanding Graduate Supervisor award, nominees must serve as a resource about their discipline, research methods and current developments, and must be engaged with their own and their students’ subject matter, both in personal discussions and the wider scientific community. Their feedback must be prompt, as well as thoughtful. They must create a stimulating and consistently challenging research environment, encouraging the student to consider new or alternative perspectives and to push boundaries.

Short-listed for this award:

And the winner: Nazila Ghanea was selected for this year's Award.

Most Acclaimed Lecturer

The nominees for this category, according to the OUSU website, “have the unenviable task of leading a group of students through often complicated material at a pace that is engaging to everyone yet leaves no one behind. This award recognises those that do this particularly well, and who make that 9am lecture that much more palatable. The ideal nominee leaves the student with a strong grasp of their subject area and a desire to learn more”

Short-listed for Most Acclaimed Lecturer were:

  • Janet Dickinson (History), specializes in the history of early modern politics and culture, especially court history. She currently teaches for New York University in London as well has here in the Department, on our MSt in Historical Studies, and on our weekly and online classes programmes. She has twice been named 'most acclaimed lecturer' by her students.
  • Heather Falvey (Local History) teaches on our Diploma, MSc and DPhil in English Local History. Her research interests include early modern riots and eighteenth century recipes, and she has co-edited two books of fifteenth century wills.
  • Nigel Mehdi (Sustainable Urban Development) is a Departmental Lecturer in Sustainable Urban Development. Nigel is part of our Sustainable Urban Development programme, where his teaching sits at the intersection of information technology, the built environment and urban sustainability.

And the winner: Janet Dickinson was selected for the Award.  A truly inspiring lecturer, Janet won the same award in 2014 and 2016 – and it was her second nomination this year – she was nominated for ‘Outstanding Tutor’ as well.

Outstanding Tutor

To receive the Outstanding Tutor nomination, the nominee’s must run a stimulating, enthusiastic and consistently challenging tutorial, all the while demonstrating an awareness of the different ways learners learn.  Flexible methods, along with an emphasis on discussion, debate, co-operation, and peer-to-peer assessment among students are encouraged.

Short-listed this year:

  • Sandie Byrne (English Literature) is Associate Professor in English Literature & Creative Writing and author of a number of books and articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing. She teaches broadly at the Department: on our weekly classes programme, day and weekend events, Diploma in Creative Writing and the Foundation Certificate in English Literature
  • Janet Dickinson (History), mentioned above.
  • Peter Dobson (Nanotechnology), has had a broad career covering a wide range of disciplines from physics and chemistry to materials science and engineering. He teaches across the range of courses in our Nanotechnology programme.
  • Nigel Mehdi (Sustainable Urban Development), mentioned above
  • Christiane Norenberg (Nanotechnology). Christiane was awarded the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship for her work on the growth and characterisation of nanostructures on semiconductor surfaces. Her interests and expertise are in the areas of surface science, growth and characterisation of nanostructures on surfaces, and nanotechnology in general. She teaches on our Nanotechnology programme.

And the winner is: Nigel Mehdi. Nigel was also shortlisted for the Most Acclaimed Lecturer award. 


Professor Angus Hawkins, who attended the event as Acting Director of the Department, said “It was an excellent occasion and I am very proud of all our colleagues who were nominated and short-listed. That the nominations and awards all came from students makes the success of colleagues especially gratifying."




Published 27 June 2017