Stornoway lecturer honoured in student awards

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A Stornoway-based lecturer has been honoured by students in the fourth annual University of the Highlands and Teaching awards.

Dr Eddie Graham, a meteorologist and lecturer at Lews Castle College UHI, was named as most engaging video conference tutor. He was nominated for his fun and engaging style.

One student explained: “It was when Eddie pulled out a buoy he found on the beach tied to a rope and started swinging it around his head shouting explanations of the Coriolis effect that I realised this was a video conference lecturer unlike any other! His tone draws you in, his excitement about the subject is palpable even across a screen and his demonstrations are hilarious and informative.

“He includes photos, videos and the latest information, keeps the class engaged and encourages participation. We even had a University Challenge style competition about what we’d learned with a ‘virtual prize’ for the winner.

“All of this makes him the best video conference lecturer I’ve had and I’d take any module he taught just because I know it’ll be great.”

Dr Graham grew up in Ireland, but moved to Stornoway in 2009. He was delighted to receive the most engaging video conference tutor award, saying: “What magnificent news! I feel deeply honoured. Please may I first and foremost thank UHISA and all University of the Highlands and Islands students for bestowing this splendid award upon me. I feel an enormous sense of pleasure and I want to say also what a wonderful experience it has been for me to teach over the past year. Thanks also to Lews Castle College UHI and everyone else across the university partnership who has supported me over the past year, not forgetting my family at home too.”

Organised by UHISA, the UHI Students’ Association, the awards recognise excellence in eight categories. The other winners were:

· Most inspiring lecturer, Reverend Hector Morrison, Highland Theological College UHI

· Outstanding student support, Martin Cameron, Highland Theological College UHI

· Best personal academic tutor, Jane MacIntosh, North Highland College UHI

· Most engaging online tutor, Dr Elizabeth Ritchie, Centre for History

· Best preparation for the workplace, Catriona Johnston, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI

· Best assessment feedback, Matt Sillars, Inverness College UHI

· Best dissertation or research supervisor, Dr John Howe, Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI

The University of the Highlands and Islands was one of the first institutions to work with the Higher Education Academy and National Union of Students to introduce student-led teaching awards. They have now been adopted throughout Scotland and were introduced to the rest of the UK last year. The university is now aiming to have the country’s first student partnership agreement, which will cover joint working by staff and students on issues of common interest such as student health and wellbeing, in place by this summer.

UHISA president Katrina Paton said: “The awards celebrate and highlight teaching excellence at the university, enabling students to commend the dedication of staff. We received a record number of nominations this year which demonstrates how much students value being able to provide positive feedback.”

Dr Iain Morrison, dean of students at the university, said: “These awards are tribute to the hard work and excellence of the staff. All those nominated, as well as the eventual winners themselves, have demonstrated commitment to our students and a high level of professional expertise that has been rightly recognised by those who appreciate it most.”

The winners will all receive a trophy and certificate.