31 August 2017

Two University of Hertfordshire lecturers - Dominic Bygate and Dr Suzanne Fergus - have been awarded with prestigious National Teaching Fellowships for their outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession within higher education.

The original nomination came from the University, with submissions having to demonstrate evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.

They are among fifty-five new NTFs - selected from hundreds of initial submissions across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – to be announced by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), alongside the fifteen team finalists for the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

Undeniable talent for teaching

Dominic Bygate is a Mathematical Physicist by training and has previously worked in the financial and software fields. He started his teaching career working in Further Education Colleges before moving to the University sector. Over a nearly 30 year career in education he has taught a range of subjects from GCSE mathematics to masters’ supervision.

Dominic’s work puts the student at the heart of the learning experience. He enables small-scale changes in practice that are effective and sustainable. At the heart of his practice is a deep understanding of the various subject and particular pedagogic contexts that academic staff and students work in.

Dr Suzanne Fergus joined the University of Hertfordshire in 2006, where she is now a Principal Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Suzanne is exceptionally passionate and has an undeniable talent for teaching. In 2016, she received the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Higher Education Teaching Award for her sustained innovations in chemistry education.

Suzanne has transformed and enhanced the chemistry learning experience through innovative learning activities that support the full diversity of students’ learning needs. An online collaborative tool with student-generated content resulted in increased student engagement and 8% improvement on coursework scores.

Her context-based case studies, including the published classroom activity incorporating the psychoactive substance mephedrone, inspired students to integrate and apply their chemistry learning.

The very best teaching in higher education

Dr Sal Jarvis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience), said, “We are incredibly proud of our teaching staff, and delighted that both Dominic and Suzanne have been nationally recognised for their expertise, passion for teaching and desire to make a real difference to students’ learning. We thank them for their huge contribution to the University and extend our sincere congratulations to both of them.”

HEA Chief Executive, Professor Stephanie Marshall, said, “A National Teaching Fellowship is the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education. These awards represent a fantastic achievement by all 55 new NTFs. I am sure the whole sector joins me in applauding them in their success.

“The new NTFs and CATE finalists represent some of the very best teaching in higher education and I am sure they will inspire others as we share their innovative practice and ideas across the sector. The UK is justifiably proud of its higher education sector and its reputation is enhanced by the examples of excellent teaching highlighted by these awards.”

The NTF and CATE schemes are run by the HEA on behalf of the award funders: the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland (DfE).

There are now over 800 NTFs. Institutions can nominate up to three individuals per annum. The schemes are open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience.