A Middlesex University academic has won a prestigious national award which recognises excellence in teaching and learning in Higher Education.
Dr Barbara Workman, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at Middlesex’s Institute for Work Based Learning, is one of just 50 people across the UK to receive a National Teaching Fellowship Award from the Higher Education Academy.
Each UK University can nominate up to three teaching staff from any subject area for the annual awards. As well as the title, winners receive £10,000 to be used for personal and professional development in teaching and learning.
She said: “I’m delighted that our expertise in Work Based Learning has been recognised with such a prestigious national award. The things I’ve been able to achieve are the results of working with a great team of dedicated colleagues, who really pull out all the stops to enhance the student experience, so the award is about the whole team, not just one individual. There are lots of excellent teachers at Middlesex so it’s a real privilege to gain recognition for this.”
Professor Margaret House, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic at Middlesex University, said: “Dr Workman’s award is very well deserved – we’re delighted to see her expertise and achievements recognised. The Institute for Work Based Learning plays a crucial role within the University, helping to share its knowledge and develop really tailored and challenging student programmes, so it’s a real boost for them too.”
Dr Workman was appointed Director of the Work Based Learning CETL at Middlesex in January 2008, having been Head of Academic Operations there. Before this, she taught nursing and work based learning in the School of Health and Social Sciences. In her role in the CETL she supported a number of projects across schools which funded initiatives that facilitated students in learning from work, whether that was full time, part time or as work placements.
The CETL director said she sees the award as an opportunity to share expertise and ensure that Work Based Learning continues to be student focused.
She added: “We recognise many forms of training and workplace learning as being equivalent to Higher Education, and that’s quite radical - we recognise that students bring experience and learning with them which we can acknowledge through project work and accreditation”.
One of the most satisfying parts of her role has been working with colleagues, students and employers to develop new programmes. “We discover so much from our learners about what they need to help them learn. Students don’t just want to learn the facts – they need to know how to explore topics and find answers. I’m really pleased that we play such an important role in unlocking enquiring minds and equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in both their studies and the workplace.
“Employers want workers who communicate well, problem-solve and are literate – and we need to meet these criteria for our students at every level. Our part-time students are full-time workers – we recognise that a degree or qualification isn’t the end - the worker-learner goes on learning throughout their whole career”.