Teaching at Brookes recognised in national awards

Friday, 25 June 2010


Two Brookes academics have received National Teaching Fellowships in the Higher Education Academy's (HEA) annual awards.

Two Brookes academics have received National Teaching Fellowships in the Higher Education Academy’s (HEA) annual awards.

Every year 50 lecturers and learning support staff are chosen from over 200 nominations. These are submitted by higher education institutions across England and Northern Ireland.

Professor Janet Beer, Oxford Brookes’ Vice-Chancellor, said: “This award recognises the determination and commitment of our academic staff to work tirelessly to enhance the learning experience of our students.

“I would like to thank our two new fellows for their ground-breaking work. I know that they will continue to inspire students through their teaching.

“It is an enduring pleasure to me that Brookes has such a strong reputation for innovative teaching as well as a growing international research profile.”

The two Brookes fellows are:

Dr Jane Spiro, Leader in Learning and Teaching Development in the Westminster Institute of Education

Dr Spiro’s pioneering work has come through combining creative writing with language learning so that students of all ages and levels, with English as a first or second language, develop their skills through story-writing and poetry.

This has fed directly into her work at Brookes. Dr. Spiro has been highly active in developing online resources for international students and teachers to support their transition into UK study.

She has also led university policy on internationalisation of the curriculum and has developed an online MA programme for international teachers of English with innovative forms of assessment.

In reporting on the impact of this programme, teachers have said: “(The programme) has inspired a culture of change throughout my language institute.”

Professor Martin Haigh, Professor of Geography in the School of Social Sciences and Law

An integral part of Professor Haigh’s academic career has been his work in the community. He served as team leader for biannual Earthwatch-funded field camps for 13 years. These were created to teach adult graduates how to rebuild damaged lands. He received international recognition for this work from the University of Forestry, Bulgaria, and the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation.

For six years, Professor Haigh was Co-Editor of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE). This publication aims to promote better learning and teaching in the study of Geography. Professor Haigh was extremely influential in emphasising an exploration of sustainability, internationalisation and global citizenship during his time as Co-Editor.

At Brookes, Professor Haigh helped set up course evaluation in the 1980s. He then promoted the cause for sustainability education, for which he was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship in 2003.

He is an avid developer of out-of-classroom learning experiences. One of his signature exercises is tree planting as a stimulant for ethical reflection upon personal responsibilities. He was recently awarded the Royal Geography Society’s Taylor and Francis award for Excellence in Teaching in Geography Higher Education.