Writtle College academic Dr Anya Perera has today (12 June 2014) been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship – the most prestigious award for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning.
Anya is one of only 55 higher education staff across the country to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by The Higher Education Academy (HEA).
The successful fellows were chosen from over 180 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Anya will receive an award of £10,000 which will be used to support her professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.
Anya, who lives in Chelmsford, is Interim Head of the School for Sustainable Environments at Writtle College – which encompasses undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Agriculture, Conservation, Horticulture and Floristry – as well as being Postgraduate Coordinator.
She was recognised for her passion for enhancing student learning in a way that inspires and facilitates adjustment to higher education study.
Anya said: “This award is a reflection of the importance that Writtle College places on providing inspiring educational opportunities of the highest quality, as well as the supportive community we have on campus.
“With higher tuition fees, students rightly expect the very best standards of learning and teaching from us.
“We are a small and specialist institution and have seen three of our staff awarded National Teaching Fellowships in recent years, which is a huge achievement and shows that Writtle College is exemplary in the sector.
“It is a huge honour to receive this award, and I am excited at the opportunity it will give me to develop my teaching ideas, but this accolade reflects the hard work of all my colleagues at Writtle College; I am proud to be part of a thriving teaching community that is very much focussed on enhancing the students' learning experience."
The scheme, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience.
Institutions nominate their staff and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.
Dr Stephen Waite, Principal of Writtle College, commended Anya, saying: "Anya has worked tirelessly to enhance the quality of the student experience, giving undergraduates and postgraduates the support they need to excel academically, professionally and personally - this is fundamental to what we do at Writtle College.
“She received a student-nominated teaching award in 2013 for Overall Excellence and a Writtle College Learning and Teaching Award in 2012 for the Innovative Use of Technology and Student Support, reflecting how her work makes a difference to students and how she is highly regarded by them. She has also received a University of Essex Excellence in Teaching Award for her significant teaching achievements.
“I am pleased Anya's outstanding and highly valued commitment to supporting student learning and delivering inspiring higher education has now been recognised by the wider sector through the National Teaching Fellowship.”
Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “Each year I look forward with great anticipation to the announcement of our new National Teaching Fellows. It is always such an inspirational time as we welcome 55 outstanding teachers in higher education to our growing family of NTFs. This year is no exception.
“While their fields of expertise are many and varied, what they each hold in common is their commitment to learning and teaching, their dedication to their students, and their tenacity in sharing their expertise with others. What also strikes me about our National Teaching Fellows this year is their willingness to learn from others, showing us that learning is an ongoing process from which we can all benefit.
“Our students deserve the best possible learning experience and it is colleagues like those we celebrate today who can make a real difference to their futures. I congratulate all the successful Fellows and wish them every success in their own learning and teaching experiences.”
For more information about Anya, please visit her staff profile at http://www.writtle.ac.uk/pge_MainDisplay.cfm/id/328/empid/151/format/O