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WELS Tutor Awards 2022

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

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.  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. 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 giving them “much needed confidence and the motivation to carry on when times have been hard”. 

Mychelle Pride, WELS Associate Dean for Teaching Excellence said:

"More than 400 nominations were received for our tutor awards and it was incredibly difficult for the panel of 10 judges, staff and students, to agree the winners. Reading the nominations made me proud to work in WELS with such fantastic driven and supportive tutors across all three schools." 

Overall, 10 tutors received a WELS Tutor award, and a further eleven 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.

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

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

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

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

The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony, where the winners of the WELS Student and Teaching Excellence Awards were also revealed, with tributes paid to individuals and project teams who have excelled in supporting others.

Quotes from some the nominating students have been published anonymously below.

School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport

Dr Renu Bhandari

“Dr Bhandari not only helped us throughout the module as her job demanded, but she always had gone beyond academic support by caring for our well-being throughout the module and building positive relationships between students and tutors.”

“My Tutor was positively encouraging and stretched my learning. Even when I would get things wrong Renu would be sure to rectify it in an encouraging and positive way.”

“Dr Bhandari reassured me that I am capable of attaining my objectives, and she offered guidance on how to manage my workload in light of my personal circumstances. I didn't feel alone or anxious since I knew she was always there for me, and I never felt like a burden.”

Dr Caroline Bligh

“Caroline not only goes above and beyond for her students, but she also really cares about their wellbeing and their progress in life. Caroline is so passionate about her subject area and this shows in every discussion I have had with her”

“She has given me much needed confidence in myself and motivation to carry on when times have been hard or when I have fallen behind.”

"The way she breaks down the info is like an art form."

Dr Katharine Jewitt

“There have been tears, self doubt, and utter despair, Katharine has saved me from giving up.    I come away from her tutorials with reinvigoration and self belief that getting through the assignment is achievable”

“Katharine has been extremely supportive during my studies as my tutor. Her recorded tutorials have been extremely helpful and full of guidance on how to tackle assignments”

“Her faith in me always spurred me on. Her way of teaching helped me to understand what was required from me and prevented me from getting overwhelmed.”

Rosaleen Lynch

“I know I can rely on Rosaleen. She has been always kind to me and extremely supportive, which really helped my mental wellbeing through these difficult times.”

“It is not only her fully informative tutorials, tutor forums and extensive knowledge, but also the mental support she offered. Even when Rosaleen was busy with marking and everyday life, she always find the time to call me, reply to my emails.”

Jeremy Wilcock

“Jeremy's tutorials were also always so well put together and informative, and his enthusiasm and knowledge for the subject was clear to see. He was always so positive and encouraging during the tutorials, which was just fantastic.”

“Jeremy’s newsletters are excellent and contain golden nuggets of tips and hints on how to improve our knowledge of this module.  The newsletters have been an absolute asset in helping me understand the learning and also how to construct and develop the assignments.   This practical support has been invaluable.”

“Jeremy's positivity has been wonderful, and I feel genuinely grateful that I had him as my tutor.”

School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care

Siobhan Johnston

“Siobhan was there every step of the way.”

“As a mature student with a family, work, and busy life at times you need support with understanding modules and what is required and knowing you have a tutor who is friendly, supportive, and cares for her students is so important.”

“Siobhan gave me the confidence to believe in myself.”

School of Languages and Applied Linguistics

Dr Michael Courtney

“Dr Courtney is a passionate and dedicated tutor who encourages their students to do their best.”

“Having someone so kind and understanding has boosted my confidence and enabled me to take the plunge with some of my unique ideas and thesis' due to the extensive, helpful feedback that has been provided by Michael after each assignment.”

Professor David Jacques

“David has made me feel like I am capable and my work is worthy. He has massively built my confidence in my writing”

“David has been a fantastic tutor this year and last. He is always available with quick responses, gives great feedback and even when giving criticism he is careful and considered in his wording”

“He is kind, patient and a wealth of knowledge and nothing is too much trouble.”

Highly Commended

Alistair Smillie (ECYS)

“If I am lucky enough to pass this module, it will be thanks to Alistair- he has been a fantastic support system and it has felt that he believed that I was capable of completing the module, which gave me added confidence and clarity  I have attended a 'traditional' university and completed an Honours Degree with Distinction but I can honestly say that the level of support I received from Alistair surpassed the 'in person' support I experienced before- a real testament to him as a tutor.”

Chris Gilbert (ECYS)

“Chris has been such a fantastic tutor this year, I am amazed by the support I have received from him! I love how active he is on the tutor group forum, he made a thread called 'ask Chris' so that students could ask him questions which may come in handy for others.”

Margaret Gough (HWSC)

“She is a wonderful, caring, compassionate and a supportive individual, who is willing to help anyone and everyone. She has always encouraged us to do better and believed that her students can do exceptional things. A tutor like herself deserves to win this award as she is truly amazing. I cannot thank Margaret enough; what a remarkable individual, who is making a difference in people’s lives.”

Dr Esther Ramsay-Jones (HWSC)

“I have never felt alone doing this extremely sensitive module. Having the initial email of support in my poor health meant the world. Always so encouraging and supportive. I feel really confident in my studies thanks to her encouragement.”

Dr David Stonehouse (HWSC)

“David just went above and beyond for my learning. He explained everything so clearly and had the patience of a saint with me. He was extremely supportive of any issues and most importantly so approachable.”
“David took his time to explain, and relate all his input to the real world, having been a Paediatric Nurse he was able to relate to the theory and how this is put into practice.”

Dr Deborah Steele (HWSC)

“Overall, I think Debs should be nominated for her passion, drive and commitment to her students. She always had a wealth of knowledge to share and gave us great pointers to develop academically. Her calming presence made me feel less anxious and built on my confidence in presenting to a group with my findings. Her ongoing support and compassion for developing us as students was exceptional. As I grew personally and professionally, Debs inspired me to never give up.”

Eva Estrany (LAL)

“Really helpful and supportive. The ability to give criticism in a way which highlights areas that need improvement but always recognising strengths and what me as a student, is very capable of doing. This inspires me to focus on the areas that I still need to work on, with confidence that I'm not as lost or stuck as I sometimes think!"

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