National Teaching Fellowships

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education. The awards support professional development in learning and teaching of an individual and success depends only on excellence, not the stage you are at in your career.

We are therefore delighted to have three National Teaching Fellows at the University of Westminster: Dr Frands Pedersen, Dr Jennifer Fraser and Professor Coral Dando

 

Dr Frands Pedersen

Dr Frands Pedersen is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster, where he holds a University Teaching Fellowship. He has a track record of engaging with colleagues to share his leading practice in a supportive manner that enables them to develop their own work in the field. In doing so, he combines a passion for his discipline with a strong commitment to student learning.

His ultimate goal is to give students the best possible, engaging, informative and enjoyable educational experience.

He is a strong advocate of active, experiential and immersive learning, which he argues generates a deeper understanding of theories and concepts, an improved understanding of empirical political phenomena, and enhanced student engagement and understanding by bringing issues to life. In his teaching, he employs such approaches to build students’ critical awareness and confidence in applying theories and concepts in the analysis of domestic and international political events. He has made a very significant contribution to innovation in learning and teaching in the discipline, especially in the use of simulations and games and community engagement (see Archive on Simulations and Games).

Of special note is the interdisciplinary nature of his innovations, such as engaging journalism students in producing video reports on simulated UN negotiations and collaborating with colleagues in computer science and other disciplines in developing virtual simulation packages. He is co-founder of Serious Games@Westminster (SG@W), an inter-disciplinary research and game development group, and has contributed with his expertise and experience on simulations to summer schools, workshops and the European Youth Event at the European Parliament. His own cutting edge work with students has been shared with colleagues from other UK and overseas institutions through presentations and workshops, including Political Simulations and Gaming Workshops, conference panel presentations and scholarly output, at Political Studies Association, as well as through his promotion of students as co-creators and partners across the university and beyond.

Frands’ future plans include the dissemination of evaluations of students-as-co-creators projects, the initiation of projects on technology-enhanced active learning through the development of simulations and gaming tools and institutional innovation through co-creation and partnership.

Dr Jennifer Fraser

Dr Jennifer Fraser is Principal Lecturer at the University of Westminster and University Director of Student Partnership in the Westminster Centre for Teaching Innovation.

Jennifer says ‘I was delighted to be named a National Teaching Fellow in 2016 for my work at Birkbeck, University of London where I worked first as a teacher of Latin American Studies and Spanish language, then as a Learning Development Tutor and finally as Deputy Director of the Centre for Transformative Practice in Learning and Teaching. The award was based on my work with students and staff to develop communities of practice through online platforms, such as, the Birkbeck Learning Skills module, and in person encounters, such as, Academic Writing Days and the Critical Pedagogies Group.

My approach to higher education is shaped by a commitment to working towards inclusion and social justice. Three principles frame how I approach teaching. First, my work is motivated by a desire to create inclusive practices that make higher education accessible to learners from non-traditional backgrounds through creating institutional and classroom cultures that embrace development, instead of deficit, models of learning. Second, I believe that transformation requires relationships of mutuality in which everyone – students, teachers and institutions – are open to learning and changing. Third, I am committed to a feminist and queer ethos of teaching that is grounded in collaborative practices and non-hierarchical methods, which, in turn, require attentiveness to power and how it shapes classroom and institutional relations. It is sometimes a challenge to learn and teach in these ways because institutional cultures historically have been designed with other priorities. Receiving a National Teaching Fellowship is important to me because it recognises and values alternative ways of working and being in higher education. I hope to use the award to open spaces and foster conversations about how we can transform our institutional cultures into spaces in which students and teachers work together and re-vision what it means to engage in transformative education’.

Professor Coral Dando

Professor Coral Dando is a Forensic Psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster. Having left school at 17, Coral returned to education in her mid 30s, completing a BSc in psychology, immediately followed by a PhD in Forensic Cognition. Coral’s teaching practice quickly evolved, experientially shaped by her own learning experiences as a mature student and a former police officer. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2012 for her widening participation agenda, providing access to diverse learning opportunities, in the community and the workplace, as well as in traditional learning environments.

Coral’s overarching priority is to empower and enable learners, whatever the environment and whatever their situation. In doing so she has developed an animating theory approach to teaching, driven by the symbiotic relationship between teaching and her research interests, supporting students to become theoretically literate in a manner appropriate to their needs. Coral’s three-stage animating theory approach to teaching lends itself to both small and large group teaching, and can be adjusted to meet the needs of individual student groups and the time available. This method has been fundamental to her teaching success, and has assisted students to accept and value the intellectual challenges associated with understanding theory and the associated empirical literature, while at the same time engaging their interest and enthusiasm, and demonstrating what they will gain as a result of their studies.

In addition to teaching at the University of Westminster, she also teaches Cognitive and Forensic Psychology worldwide (USA; Malaysia; Finland; Japan; Norway) to undergraduates and postgraduates, professionals of all ranks and positions (e.g., US Department of Homeland Security, the International Criminal Court, US and UK intelligence agencies).