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The Student Choice Awards recognise outstanding staff members and allow students to show appreciation for their hard work. For the 2023 awards, Students’ Union UCL received a total of 936 nominations, comprising of 478 staff members from 68 academic and professional services departments.

The report features the most valued practices in nine award categories, highlighting the exceptional learning experience at UCL. It showcases common and emerging themes and aims to benefit staff by sharing examples of excellent support, supervision, and teaching practices.

Across the 9 award categories, these were some of the most valued practices that were highly cited:

  • Valuing open communication and incorporating student feedback.
  • Leading with kindness and taking a genuine interest in students’ personal and academic development.
  • Prioritising student support by providing practical academic and career guidance in an efficient and reliable manner.
  • Being approachable, trustworthy, and supporting student mental health.
  • Being passionate, engaging, empathetic, and effective communicators.
  • Fostering an inclusive, supportive and collaborative atmosphere.
  • Providing timely, detailed and personalized feedback, along with additional resources and guidance.

Given Students' Union UCL's deep understanding of the most valued practices as identified by students, we are well-positioned to collaborate with the university in sharing these best practices and enhancing the overall student experience.

Awards Categories and Winners

Our wonderful panel of student judges read through all of those nominations and narrowed it down until they had their winners. Read on to found out who they are...

Active Student Partnership

The award for Active Student Partnership recognises staff who are committed to listening to and working with students and their representatives to improve and change education in their module, programme, or department. This category received 74 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Valued and encouraged open communication
  • Incorporated student feedback
  • Cared about their students’ personal and academic development

Winner: Jean-Christoph Mauduit

“[Jean-Christophe Mauduit] has been an incredibly accommodating teacher, promptly adjusting his curriculum and deadlines according to student feedback. He has ensured that, throughout term, we have not encountered any issues with unmanageable workloads and that we have consistently been taught the most relevant and useful content.”

Amazing Support Staff

The award for Amazing Support Staff thanks staff who are not in teaching roles but still make a huge difference to students’ learning at UCL by going the extra mile. This category received 66 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Led with kindness
  • Acted efficiently
  • Provided practical guidance and support

Winner: George Burridge

“[George] goes above and beyond to personally check our booked lecture rooms and that everything is working. We constantly receive reminders about assessments, module and timetable changes, Extenuating Circumstances (EC) and Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA) are promptly sorted. He even brings home baked cake for us all when he realizes the pressure and stress we are under. Truly appreciate all his hard work.”

Brilliant Research-Based Education

The award for Brilliant Research-Based Education is for staff who educate students about the latest, cutting-edge knowledge, or who enable taught students to create knowledge by conducting their own research. This category received 45 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Fostered an innovative learning environment
  • Provided individualised guidance
  • Encouraged student engagement and collaboration

Winner: Louise Cramer

“Her new module CELL0022 allowed undergraduate students a chance to do high level microscopy using TEM, Opera Phenix and ZEISS Airyscan Microscopes that we would normally not get a chance to use. Considering how COVID-19 disrupted many of my lab work in previous years this module allowed me to actually interact with high level research without just reading about it. Louise herself was continually helpful and considerate of our needs throughout the module.” 

Diverse & Inclusive Education

The award for Diverse & Inclusive Education highlights staff members who work to ensure their curriculum or research recognises marginalised scholars and shines a light on diverse perspectives. This category received 19 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Prioritised student support
  • Created an inclusive and supportive atmosphere
  • Spotlighted underrepresented voices

Winner: Kristen Kreider

“[Kristen] has brought the PhD cohort into a critical feedback-loop that shapes the ethos and practices of the Slade PhD programme and researchers, to have a global perspective that embodies equitable forms of learning and critical thinking. [Kristen] in a short period of time has incorporated the voices of all PhD students including BME, LGBT+ and disabled students into the development of a mutually developed code of practice, which both pragmatic is also aspirational as to the outward looking and inclusive research environment and critical creative space we want to build together. It was difficult to choose a category to nominate [Kristen] since she has demonstrated a commitment to he students that fits many of the criteria, but this category necessarily embodies many of these whilst importantly highlighting her specific contribution to this important area of work.” 

Excellent Personal Tutoring

The Excellent Personal Tutoring award recognises members of staff who are always there to provide students with pastoral support and academic guidance. This category received 100 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Were approachable and trustworthy
  • Supported student mental health

Winner: Jess Bailey

“Throughout her short time at UCL, [Jess] has made an incredible contribution to the History of Art community. Being my supervisor, she has inspired and engaged with my work and studies at UCL in a completely unique and full-hearted way. Her enthusiasm for helping her students has no limits, as she always works to provide a support for whatever you approach her with and has been my source for both pastoral support and academic inspiration. Her relationship with students is based on respect and trust, and she actively goes beyond her role with her individualised support, and in doing so has helped me realise my academic interests whilst helping me look forward into my future. Some examples include putting me in touch with professionals in my projected field, as well finding future masters courses that she thinks would best further my learning. [Jess] has also continued to include me in her own classes extra-curricular learning opportunities, going out of her way to include me in as many opportunities that she can. Most importantly, she continually dedicates this support to many of her students.”

Exceptional Feedback

The award for Exceptional Feedback is aimed at staff who provide constructive and useful feedback on students’ assessment and learning., helping students to progress and succeed. This category received 40 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Provided detailed and personalised feedback
  • Were supportive and encouraging
  • Offered additional resources and guidance

Winner: Joana Jacob Ramalho

“I had two comparative literature courses with Professor Ramalho. Her feedback was incredible (for midterm abstracts and the final essay) which made me genuinely excited about my papers. I felt she appreciated my creative inspirations (for example when I brought in texts from outside the programme, she motivated me to justify how these enriched our discussions of the gothic and musical satire) and encouraged me to develop these through a critical framework, which made me feel intellectually capable and above all independent in approaching masters level writing and potentially a doctorate in the future. Her feedback is absolutely meticulous, and she offers motivation/room to improve in each line through comments.”

Inspiring Teaching Delivery

The award for Inspiring Teaching Delivery recognises staff members who deliver exceptional teaching using innovative and engaging methods to hold students’ interest and help them learn regardless of the circumstances. This category received 180 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Were passionate and engaging
  • Were supportive and empathetic
  • Practised knowledgeable and effective communication

Winner: Damian Phelan

“[Damien Phelan] is an exceptional tutor who is dedicated to his students' success. His innovative teaching methods are engaging and effective, making even the most challenging material accessible to learners. He goes above and beyond to ensure that his students have all the resources they need to excel, spending significant amounts of his own time creating supplementary videos and materials and extending office hours for one-on-one support. His passion for teaching is evident in everything he does, and his commitment to his students is unwavering. It is a pleasure to learn from such an outstanding educator.”

Outstanding Research Supervision

The award for Outstanding Research Supervision recognises staff who help postgraduate research students to succeed, balancing providing support and fostering independence. This category received 63 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Remained supportive and approachable
  • Possessed sector leading expertise
  • Supported academic, career and personal development

Winner: Matt Fisher

"[Dr. Matt Fisher] is my second supervisor since August 2022, and I cannot be luckier to have him on my team. After meeting [Matt] for the first time, I had no doubts that I want to have him as my second supervisor.  He is diligent, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and dedicated. On top of it, I can always rely on his support. When I felt completely lost with my research and down because of it, Matt has provided me with immense moral support and managed to motivate me to keep going.  He also gave me space to deal with my personal issues, when I couldn’t focus on my PhD due to the war raging in my country.

Whenever I submitted written parts of my work to Matt, he came back with thought-through and helpful comments on how to improve them. He is always direct and precise. This gives me a clear path of how to develop my writing further.”

Sustainable Education

The award for Sustainable Education recognises staff who are leading the way in embedding sustainability into the curriculum and shaping our future climate leaders. This category received 4 nominations.

Nominations favoured staff whom:

  • Provided community outreach opportunities
  • Embedded sustainability into the curricula
  • Inspired student interest

Winner: Chris Howard

“Chris is passionate about sustainability and solving the climate crisis, which over the years of me completing my PhD, I feel he has been working to embed increasingly into his own research activities. In our supervisory meetings, we have often discussed the big picture of how my research into better materials for batteries fits into solving the climate crisis, and what the potential pitfalls are in terms of sustainably sourced raw materials etc. It is clear he wishes to inspire as many young talent as possible to champion work in sustainability and to facilitate those career ambitions as much as he can if that is what the student desires.”