Eleven University of Cambridge lecturers have been recognised for their excellence in teaching, at an award ceremony for the 2006 Pilkington Prizes on July 6.

All of the lecturers have made outstanding contributions to the development of teaching in their departments. The benefits of their work have reached not only students at the University, but also other students and professionals world-wide, and school pupils too.

Christine Counsell of the Faculty of Education has been nominated for her work in transforming the History Postgraduate Certificate in Education into a leading teacher training education programme. She has been invited to lead sessions for teachers and scholars in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Estonia, the Netherlands, Italy and Cyprus. In 2004 she led an experimental, all-day practical teaching workshop for 60 Turkish and Greek Cypriot history teachers who, for the first time since the island was divided, came together to explore classroom history teaching.

Several of the Pilkington prizewinners are involved in not only providing inspirational teaching for their University students, but also in encouraging school pupils’ interest in their subject, and raising their aspirations to apply to the University of Cambridge.

Dr David Pyle of the Department of Earth Sciences, has managed to combine an extensive research programme with playing a major role in the Department’s teaching and pioneering ‘master classes’ in geology for sixth formers, especially from state schools.

Allan McRobie of the Department of Engineering is nominated for his popular lectures in topics in civil engineering such as environmental and water engineering. He also plays a leading role in engaging the public with engineering, through public lectures on the Millennium Bridge vibrations and other topics. He was awarded a Fellowship in 2003 by NESTA (National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts) to explore the connections between engineering and mathematics on the one hand, and the emotions, imagination and the humanities on the other.

Dr Keith Johnstone of the Department of Plant Sciences was recently awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for his work in developing 3-D computer models to help first-year biology students understand complex molecular structures. He also plays a leading role in the Department of Plant Sciences’ contribution to the Cambridge Science Festival each year, attracting over 2,000 members of the public to interactive exhibits on the science of plants.

Further outstanding prize-winners hail from the field of arts, humanities and social science. Dr Nicholas Bullock, of the Department of Architecture, is nominated for the enthusiastic way he shares his knowledge of the history of architecture and Dr William Burgwinkle of the Department of Modern and Medieval Languages has brought creativity and verve to teaching French medieval literature, Occitan and critical theory. Dr Nick Hopwood of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science brings the history of medicine to life for hundreds of students at undergraduate and postgraduate level alike and he is innovative in the way in which he uses visual material such as X-rays in his teaching.

Other gifted teachers in science and clinical medicine who are recognised include Dr Mark Arends, of the Department of Pathology, who has refreshed Pathology teaching and initiated problem-solving exercises for students and Dr John Benson of the School of Clinical Medicine, whose educational skills have been demonstrated in curriculum development and student support. Dr William Nolan of the Department of Chemistry has made a substantial contribution towards the development of organic and inorganic chemistry practical classes and has been a driving force behind the refurbishment of teaching laboratories.

In the field of business education, Dr Philip Stiles of the Judge Business School adds a Pilkington Prize to his “Best Teacher of the Year” title awarded for the last four consecutive years by students on the MBA course and the ranking of his MBA Organizational Behaviour course as fourth best in the world in the Financial Times Ranking 2003.

The Pilkington Prizes were set up by the late Sir Alastair Pilkington, former Chairman of the Cambridge Foundation. The Prizes are supported by Cambridge University Press, and are awarded annually by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard.

Stephen Bourne, Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press, said:

‘Cambridge University Press is delighted to be hosting the annual Pilkington Teaching Prizes award ceremony. The Press first offered to play a part in 1997, to signify the conviction we share with the University that the outstanding quality of the teaching afforded to students at Cambridge directly contributes to their success and, indeed, to the reputation of the University. Today’s prizewinners have been selected by their own students and peers; we know of no better testimonial to their talents and we congratulate them on the recognition they are now receiving.’

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