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High-flying Prof scores a hat-trick for Teesside

01 June 2002


High-flying Professor Alan Clements has made it three-in-a-row for the University of Teesside by being recognised as one of this year’s top 20 lecturers in the country and winning a £50,000 fellowship as reward.

His success in the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, organised by the Institute of Learning and Teaching, puts the teaching staff at the Middlesbrough-based university in the premier league. Teesside is one of only five universities in the country, and the only one in the North East, to have won the award every year since the scheme began three years ago,

Alan is known as Teesside’s flying professor because of his fondness for piloting light aircraft and is a specialist in computer hardware. He has lectured at Teesside’s highly rated School of Computing & Mathematics for 25 years.

As well as being a top lecturer, Alan is the best selling computer author with Oxford University Press and organiser of one of the world’s largest student computer competitions through his membership of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society.

He said: “I’m overjoyed to be recognised as one of the country’s best lecturers. I’ll be using the £50,000 grant to develop web-based teaching tools and a web site to explain the history and development of the physical design of the computer. This will feature essays, diagrams and an animated simulation of what goes on inside a computer.”

Professor Graham Henderson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & Development) said: “I’m delighted for Alan and extremely proud that the University of Teesside has had a winner in every year of the National Teaching Fellowship Awards. The success is another endorsement for the teaching standards here and our commitment to teaching excellence. I hope Alan continues to inspire our students in the class room and I’m confident that his computer architecture web site will become a valuable tool by students around the world”

Teaching Fellowship Award for Head of Maths

Dr Patricia Egerton, Head of the Maths section at the University of Teesside, has been recognised as one of the top 20 University lecturers in the country and was awarded £50,000 in the first National Teaching Fellowship Scheme.

She was presented with the award by Education Minister, Baroness Tessa Blackstone, at a special ceremony in London. Organised by the Institute of Learning and Teaching, the £1m Teaching Fellowship scheme recognises and promotes excellence in higher education teaching and student learning. Each of the three-year £50,000 Fellowships will be spent at the holder's discretion. Dr Egerton, of the University's School of Computing & Mathematics, has taught at Teesside for 14 years. She said: "I am naturally delighted - not to say thrilled - because these National Teaching Fellowships give recognition to the quality of teaching in our universities.

"Mathematics is embedded at the heart of our culture, from time-keeping and calendars to business, trade and the new computerised technologies and my plans are to use the money for a project investigating how well we, in higher education, support students in learning mathematical subjects. Here, on Teesside, we teach Maths in a wide range of degrees and have students coming to us with a variety of entry qualifications, from a good A'level in Maths to a GCSE in the subject. My project will explore how successfully we are supporting students learning mathematics across different degrees, from computing to business and science, and compare and contrast the approaches and successes of different institutions in different countries."

She was made one of the first of two University of Teesside Teaching Fellows in 1998 in an initiative which, in many ways, was a fore-runner of the national Institute of Learning and Teaching scheme.

The University of Teesside's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson, nominated her for one of the first 20 National Teaching Fellowships. He said: "Dr Egerton is clearly a teacher of the highest calibre. Student feedback is excellent, with comments such as 'she makes mathematics come alive for me' being frequently made. We are all delighted that she has been chosen for one of the first 20 national fellowships and we are sure her project will help our understanding of the best way to approach student learning in this very important academic area."

Teaching Fellowship Award for Head of English

Professor Ben Knights, Head of English at the University of Teesside, has been recognised as one of the top 20 lecturers in the country and awarded £50,000 in the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme.

Organised by the Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILT), the £1m Teaching Fellowship Scheme recognises and promotes excellence in higher education teaching and student learning. Twenty National Teaching Fellowships have been awarded in a selection process managed by the ILT. Each of the three-year £50,000 Fellowships is spent at the holder's discretion.

The £50,000 Award will fund an innovative project, designed to develop student writing. Professor Knights said: "The project will take the study of English in the University onto a different level. We will cross between two different forms of writing, creative and more formal academic English, such as essays and reports.

"One way in which to do this is to write an essay in a more imaginative way, or to draft a poem instead of an essay. Students will produce a portfolio of work, and work collaboratively, learning more about the drafting process and becoming more aware of the craft of writing. This could give them valuable learning skills for many professions, including journalism and Public Relations."

An element of creative writing has already been introduced into the University's BA (Hons) English Studies this year. "Students have used existing literature for their own imaginative writing, for example taking a minor character in a short story and transforming it into a major one in their own work. Some have found this quite daunting initially, but then became enthusiastic as their work is very carefully structured."

Professor Knights has a BA (Hons) degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Before joining the University of Teesside, Professor Knights worked at the University of Durham for 18 years. He was based in the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, which promoted higher education to adult learners throughout the North-East. He taught in a variety of settings, including to women's groups and to residents of Frankland and Durham prisons.