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WELS Awards 2022: Winners announced

Three glass star trophies are pictured on an aqua background. The text overlaid says: WELS Awards 2022

The winners of this year’s WELS Student, Tutor and Teaching Excellence Awards were announced at the virtual WELS Teaching Excellence Day today (Tuesday 15 November). In total, 33 awards were made across the three categories.

Mychelle Pride, WELS Associate Dean for Teaching Excellence said:

Our students are hugely inspirational and I am so impressed by what they achieve and how they help one another. I am in awe of our tutors who work so hard to support our students to achieve to the best of their abilities. And we have a fantastic range of work in the Faculty that is changing our practice to improve student outcomes. The WELS Awards celebrate all of this.”

Students must be nominated by their tutors to be eligible for the WELS Student Awards. The Student Inspirational Achievement Award recognises WELS students who have achieved a significant career milestone, overcoming challenges or barriers to succeed in realising their aspiration. The Student Mentor Award recognises the invaluable work of WELS students who support others in a formal role as mentor, ambassador or buddy. The winners of this award have gone the extra mile to act as a positive role model for other students.

The WELS Tutor Awards provide students with the opportunity to nominate their tutors, recognising their dedication and skill. The OU’s tutors, also known as Associate Lecturers (ALs), provide essential support and guidance that enable students to succeed. The judging panel included representation from students, tutors and central academic staff.  

Judged by a panel of students from the Faculty of WELS, the WELS Teaching Excellence Awards were established to recognise outstanding teaching that promotes the success of students. Nominees must demonstrate the positive impact of their teaching, in particular for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who are at greater risk of not achieving positive outcomes.

The winners are listed below.
Please note, only those winners who have agreed to publicity are featured.

WELS Tutor Awards

Student nominations spoke of the support and encouragement they received from their tutors, expressing gratitude for their input, and the difference their tutors have made to their OU journey. One student described their tutor as giving them “much needed confidence and the motivation to carry on when times have been hard”.

Ten tutors received a WELS Tutor award, and a further eleven were highly commended. More details are available in the WELS Tutor Award story.

The 2022 WELS Tutor Award winners from the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport are:

  • Dr Renu Bhandari
  • Dr Caroline Bligh
  • Dr Katharine Jewitt
  • Rosaleen Lynch
  • Dr Lorraine Moore
  • Jeremy Wilcock
  • Chris Gilbert (Highly Commended)
  • Alistair Smillie (Highly Commended)

The 2022 WELS Tutor Award winners from the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care are:

  • Siobhan Johnston
  • Margaret Gough (Highly commended)
  • Dr Esther Ramsay-Jones (Highly commended)
  • Dr Deborah Steele (Highly commended)
  • Dr David Stonehouse (Highly commended)

The 2022 WELS Tutor Award winners from the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics are:

  • Dr Michael Courtney
  • Professor David Jacques
  • Eva Estrany (Highly commended)

Read more about the winners and hear from the students who nominated them in the WELS Tutor Award story. 

WELS Student Awards

WELS Student Inspirational Achievement Award winners

The 2022 WELS Student Inspirational Achievement Award winners are:

Jamila (ECYS- Level 3). Despite dealing with her child’s ongoing health conditions, setting up a new home and managing her own health needs, Jamila continued to work hard and has achieved amazing results in her studies.

Kate (Nursing- Level 3). Kate has consistently demonstrated phenomenal determination and commitment to her studies, despite her personal circumstances and poor mental and physical health. Following an extremely challenging break up, Kate has juggled working in the NHS with studying, home schooling, lone parenting and supporting a close family member diagnosed with cancer.

WELS Student Mentor Award winners

The 2022 Student Mentor Award winners are:

Charon (ECYS- Postgraduate). Charon is the driving force behind a team of peer mentors. She leads the development of other peer mentors as well as supporting students. Charon is a carer and has a declared disability; she role models how these personal circumstances neither hinder her ability to study nor her support for others. Charon has made her voice heard so that others from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported.

Jennifer (ECYS- Level 2). Jennifer has been a positive role model for all students in her group, but in particular providing specific, targeted support and encouragement to one student for whom English is a second language, in addition to the support provided by the student’s tutor. The support and encouragement that Jennifer provided to others clearly demonstrates how distance learning can be successful.

Jo-Anne (ECYS- Level 3). Jo-Anne is a proactive student who often started conversations, led discussions in the forums and encouraged student engagement. Her collaborative attitude and generous peer support were instrumental to helping another student at risk of academic failure.

Nichola, Kitty, Yasmin and Natalie are active and reliable members of the ECYS Student Voice and Wellbeing group. They are strong advocates for student voice, providing peer support to each other and students studying on their programmes. They have demonstrated leadership and effective collaboration to promote positive wellbeing support for ECYS students.

More details are available in the WELS Student Award story.

WELS Teaching Excellence Awards

The 2022 Teaching Excellence Award winners are:

Sarah Mander and the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Student Voice and Wellbeing Group* for raising the profile of student voice within ECYS and providing opportunities for students to participate at the highest levels as authentic co-creators. Members of the group (both staff and student ambassadors) work in partnership to promote positive wellbeing and strengthen student voice; empowering students in order to ensure student voice is heard, listened to, and acted upon.

Karen Storey (HWSC) and fellow module tutors on KYN210 (Understanding nursing: knowledge and theory)** for adopting an enquiry-based learning (EBL) pedagogy in their teaching, helping to bridge the theory-practice gap and encouraging students to take the lead in directing their learning. Compared to traditional learning models, EBL emphasises a nurse’s role in the learning process and asks them to engage with an idea or topic in an active way; it involves peer collaboration and builds a community of learning.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick (HWSC) for her work across several projects and initiatives working to enable access to OU courses for students by removing barriers, as well as her overall work towards improving student outcomes and closing awarding gaps. Deirdre is particularly commended for her work, alongside Paulette Johnson (HWSC), exploring the barriers faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students applying to the postgraduate social work programme. A series of recommendations from this project have been produced to improve the assessment and selection process for students across all four Nations, several of which are already being implemented in England and Scotland. 

*Full list of ECYS Student Voice and Wellbeing Group members:
Sarah Mander (Staff Tutor & Group Chair)
Dr Kate Breeze (Associate Head of School, Students & Nations)
Steph Doehler (Staff Tutor)
Dr Amber Fensham-Smith (Lecturer, Childhood & Youth Studies)
Dr Alison Fox (Associate Head of School, Research & Knowledge Exchange)
Dr Helen Hendry (Senior Lecturer, Education Studies - Primary)
Carys Jennings (Primary Curriculum Tutor, PGCE Wales)
Dr Josephine Josephidou (Programme Lead, Early Childhood)
Dr Jessica Pinchbeck (Programme Lead, Sport & Fitness)
Student Ambassadors from all ECYS programmes

**Full list of KYN210 module tutors:
Karen Storey (Staff Tutor)
Margaret Carlisle (Associate Lecturer)
Jacqueline Johnstone (Associate Lecturer)
Mabel McKinley-Doherty (Associate Lecturer)

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