Every year the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) recognises students and projects that have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. This year, for the first time, the WELS Tutor Awards provided students with the opportunity to recognise the dedication and skill of their tutors.
The OU’s tutors, also known as Associate Lecturers (ALs), provide essential support and guidance that enable students to succeed. Over 850 nominations were received, representing more than 420 WELS tutors across all of the Faculty’s Schools. Most notably, one tutor, Dr Katharine Jewitt, received nominations from 19 of their students.
Student nominations spoke of the support and encouragement they received from their tutors, expressing their gratitude for their input, and the difference their tutors have made to their OU journey. One student described their tutor as “an absolute credit to The Open University! They will always remain in my learning journey memories as an inspiration”.
Overall, ten tutors received a WELS Tutor award, and a further five were highly commended, selected by a judging panel featuring representation from students, tutors and central academic staff. The winners are listed below.
Please note, only those winners who have agreed to publicity are featured.
“Elly is a great example of someone who is passionate about learning, about the learning journey, and about the people that she nurtures along the way. I feel privileged to have crossed her path and the impact she has made on my educational views are vital for me to move forward in my career. Thank you, Elly.”
“Elly was completely down to earth, approachable and amazing. She was always there to answer any questions promptly and honestly. She went above and beyond to make sure all of us students were reassured and confident in what we were doing.”
“Throughout the year, Ola has been very supportive, encouraging and motivational. He sends our tutor group videos to check in with us to see how we are getting on; it shows that he goes the extra mile to support his students which creates a happy learning process."
“Ola has been really helpful and approachable well above what I expect OU tutors should be. He's recorded video responses to our assignments showing him going through the text and given us direct feedback. This has been very helpful.”
“A very kind, approachable tutor.”
“Rhiannon has consistently been helpful but above all, human. Every week, she posts a general wellbeing message on our tutor group forum, checking in with how we have all been that week, how we are doing, not only with work, but in our personal lives too. Rhiannon is the best tutor I have had in my time with the OU and I think she is an absolute credit to the university. She made a really difficult year feel much easier because of the relationship she helped create.”
“Rhiannon has made this module one of the most enjoyable I have ever studied with The Open University. She has been so supportive consistently and if it wasn’t for that support, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the last year.”
“Stuart really encouraged me to work hard and keep improving. His feedback was so positive that instead of feeling down about mistakes, I would feel motivated to work on them for my next TMA. The OU are incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful tutor on their team.”
“Stuart is a huge advocate for keeping mental health as the number one priority and will always advise us to relax and have a cuppa if we go into panic mode, as well as reminding us to be kind to each other.”
“Stuart started a thread on our forum just to see if we were ok during the pandemic. He provided a space where we could talk and give advice to one another which didn’t even have to be related to studying. This to me showed he genuinely cares about his tutor group as people.”
“It made me feel at ease knowing Stuart was so approachable and friendly. I knew I could always ask his advice. His understanding during the pandemic made me relax because he was more ‘a fellow human trying to survive’ rather than ‘a tutor’.”
“The support from Stuart right from the start until the end of the module impacted me in a positive way. I don't think I would have gotten through the entire module given what is going on in the world without the encouragement of Stuart pushing us along. He really is a great tutor and I hope he realises that.”
“Frank has been a phenomenal support from the beginning of my module. He has been responsive at all times, reassuring everyone that there is no such thing as a silly question, and that we are never bothering him, regardless of when we make contact.”
“He is open to all questions and conversations with students, and always ensures that everyone has chance to speak and is involved in tutorials. He provides valuable and in-depth feedback to all work submitted. I personally feel he has gone above and beyond for his students.”
“Frank has a lovely manner about him, offering genuine and kind support and is very inspiring and reassuring to talk to.”
“Responded quickly to messages, planned extra tutorials before assignments were due, broke information down and explained law in a more simplistic form, gave praise and acknowledgement when I participated in chats, always made me feel that I was capable!!”
“Offered very good support throughout the whole academic year he was also very empowering and empathetic.”
“A massive thank you to my tutor, Frank. He was obviously the best!”
“Kathy has done nothing but supported me and given me lots of praise and encouragement which gave me a ‘I can do this’ feeling. This has shown in my studying and my assignment writing as my results progressed throughout the module. I would just like to say a big thank you to Kathy for being by my side on this journey, I really couldn’t have done it without her. Kathy really does deserve to be recognised for being the wonderful and amazing tutor that she is.”
“Kathy has been an absolute superstar; her tutorials have all been fantastic at helping to break down the structure for each TMA and make them less daunting. Her feedback has been extremely thorough and detailed, enabling me to improve by a significant margin on each successive assignment.”
“Kathy has been so supportive and encouraging this academic year. She knew about how best to support in my studies and was always quick to respond to queries.”
“I will be eternally grateful for the study ethic Katharine has instilled in me. Her words and encouragement, albeit from afar, have made me WANT to do better, and this is something I firmly believe Katharine will instil in all of her students to come.”
“Dr Jewitt provided excellent online tutorials and has been a constant presence on the online tutor group forums, providing advice and guidance when I have required it. I also feel that, even though I don't know Dr Jewitt as a person, I can still approach her and trust that she will support me in my studies.”
“Katharine has been the most thought-provoking and informative tutor I have had on my OU journey so far. Katharine's tutorials are the best - her talk of the 'chocolate elephant' when writing essays, and how to chunk the same down, will sit with me for the rest of my life I think.”
“I love the 'chocolate elephant' analogy and use it in my everyday life - people get bored of hearing me say 'you wouldn't eat a chocolate elephant all at once would you?'.”
“Katharine has provided some of the best feedback to the essays I have submitted – she praises and compliments positive work, but also shares, in a very simple language, where things could have been better, offering examples in support. Katharine’s encouragement in her feedback is incomparable.”
“Bill was not my tutor but I went to all his tutorials. He was always clear, concise, helpful and trustworthy.”
“Bill’s tutorials are always amazing, he makes you feel so comfortable regardless of your ability - everyone can get something out of his classes.”
“Excellent, clear and very instructive tutorials all delivered to cater for individual student's needs. First class!”
“I had Bill as a tutor for my residential trip last year and he was amazing - all the students were keen to attend his grammar classes as he is such a patient and kind tutor. Overall, he is an excellent French tutor, and the only one I’ve met who can make grammar lessons interesting!”
“Please tell Bill that I am so grateful for all his support throughout this module. I’m sad that the face-to-face sessions were cancelled this year as I would have liked to say thank you in person. Thank you Bill :)”
“Bärbel provided superbly detailed written feedback for all my TMAs, responded quickly and efficiently to e-mail and forum enquiries and was unfailingly warm and encouraging in extremely well planned and beautifully delivered tutorials.”
“Bärbel’s TMA feedback is very detailed, insightful and balanced, making me feel that my work is valued and I know that it must take her considerable time to provide such thoughtful feedback.”
“Bärbel is a wonderful tutor, she is helpful, encouraging and patient.”
“Bärbel conveyed the subject matter of the course, which is already very diverse and interesting, in an even more vivid and engaging way. She always tried to look after her students in a very supporting way and always made herself available to her students. No question was ever too much for her to answer and she always did this in a very patient manner.”
“Really informative tutorials, assignments marked and back within super quick time, email queries answered almost immediately. Friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. An amazing tutor.”
“Stephen’s tutorials have been absolutely amazing and of great help. Since the first tutorial I had with him, I knew I didn’t want to miss any in the future, so I booked in advance the following TMAs tutorials to make sure I didn’t miss my place. The slides provided afterwards were of very high standard as well. He’s one of the best teachers I have ever had.”
“Stephen has made me feel I can rely on him at any time, and with any topic. The feedback he gives on my assignments is always thorough and detailed, meaning that I can always make an improvement in future assignments.”
“Amanda has taught me that I can achieve anything that I want to with the right attitude and self-motivation. I have developed as a learner and my confidence has grown enormously.”
“Amanda is an absolute credit to The Open University! She will always remain in my learning journey memories as an inspiration. If I become half the nurse she is, I will be proud.”
“Amanda’s constant support and ensuring that she is available to contact anytime has certainly benefited me. She shows her infectious compassion, kindness, respect and genuine concern throughout our tutorials. I cannot speak more highly of her.”
“Amazing is an understatement of the support that Anita has provided me this year. I’ve had amazing tutors every year, but Anita is on another level! She is a gem and I am so blessed to have her as my tutor this year."
“Whenever I thank her she says something like ‘don’t worry one bit - it’s part of my job’. I personally think that she has gone above and beyond what her job requires of her. SHE IS AMAZING.”
“Always good and detailed feedback, passionate about his taught subject, easy to contact – what’s not to like?”
“Dr Tulloch’s support has enabled me to continue my studies when I may otherwise have given up. He has maintained his faith in me as his student and has encouraged me to have faith in myself too. I have obtained consistently high grades in my module this year and I wish to assign some of the credit to him.”
“The advice given was explained in such a way that it was easy to follow, and also very encouraging. Ian was spot on with my strengths and weaknesses and I never felt patronised one bit. Ian, I want to thank you for your advice and encouragement. It has meant so much.”