Teaching and Learning Awards 2023 winners
Our Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of LJMU staff who support teaching and learning, as well as the broader student experience.
The award recognises a particularly significant teaching contribution and leadership potential in Teaching and Learning.
Award winner: Susanne Zajitschek
School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science.
Susanne is a Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, and Module Leader for two multi-programme undergraduate modules. She approaches her teaching with flexibility and quickly adapts to changing requirements – mirroring her research and teaching subjects on behavioural variability and environmental change. As a passionate mentor and tutor she looks after personal tutees, year level, sandwich year and placement students, as well as research volunteers. As a new member of staff at the onset of the pandemic, Susanne wholeheartedly embraced the opportunities presented by online teaching and learning, which allowed her to guide and help other team members who felt less confident in the digital landscape. She also developed new online courses for both staff and students alongside customisable and relevant Canvas rubrics for use within the School. Susanne joined the Digital Champions Network for best practice in student engagement, and is currently looking forward to help shape LJMU’s 'Digital Agenda'.
Individual Teaching Excellence
These individual awards recognise an outstanding, transformative or inspirational impact on the student learning experience.
Award Winner: Áine Mac Dermott
School of Computer Science and Maths, Faculty of Engineering and Technology
Áine is a Senior Lecturer specialising in Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity. She is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion committee in her department, and is an active supporter of women in STEM, representing LJMU at women in science events. Áine is also a member of marketing and outreach working groups aimed at improving student applications supporting, for example, LJMU Northern Ireland Applicant Days. Additionally, Áine has conducted impactful research in digital forensics and cybersecurity, resulting in practical, real-world learning experiences for her students and contributing to the development of new analytical approaches in these fields. She collaborates with external partners such as Merseyside Police DFU and Ontario Tech University, whilst engaging in continuous professional development to enhance her teaching practices. She was awarded £10000 from the FET QR Policy Fund to explore forensic techniques for identifying manipulated digital media, and delve into the numerous scenarios faced by law enforcement.
Excellence in Digital Education
These individual or team awards celebrate the use of technology to enhance teaching and student learning.
Award Winner: Will Swaney
School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science
Will Swaney is Senior Lecturer in Epigenetics who integrates digital education across his teaching in multiple subject areas to ensure it stays current and effective. Will employs novel teaching, assessment and support methods to encourage and engage students, such as the use of model simulations, student participation in data generation and analysis, weekly online micro-assessments, and online step-by-step guides. He has championed top-to-bottom changes in the teaching of statistical analysis across BES subjects and students have embraced these, with high levels of achievement and satisfaction despite the supposed challenges of learning statistics. Both students and staff have praised Will's contributions in BES, and he has achieved consistent high evaluations for his teaching and the modules he leads. His approaches are grounded in a belief, based on theory, observation and evaluation, that embedding digital education is essential to keep curricula current and maximise student outcomes. He uses technology and digital tools to equip students with the transferable skills needed for future success in an ever changing world.
Commended: Mohamed Qabshoqa
School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering and Technology
Mohammed 'Mo' Qabshoqa is a dynamic and innovative force in digital education, leveraging cutting-edge technology to revolutionize teaching and learning experiences. His initiatives, ranging from conducting online drawing classes using overhead cameras and Panopto, to establishing the first Microsoft Teams module for collaborative projects, demonstrate his creative application of technology. Mo's work with high-end technologies, including the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and the development of an immersive lab, has had a profound impact on student outcomes. His current digital exam pilot project and planned integration of AI in research exemplify his commitment to educational progress. In his role as chair of the Teaching Learning Innovation Committee, he continuously fosters innovation and collaboration. Mo's achievements are grounded in his unwavering dedication to enhancing digital education. He advocates for embracing the power of AI to create innovative solutions and achieve high-end, swift results. His forward-thinking approach inspires students to explore novel solutions and prepares them for a future where AI is an integral part of many industries.
These individual awards recognise an outstanding contribution to academic leadership.
Award Winner: Andrea Mallaburn
School of Education, Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies
As the ITT Partnership Lead for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Andrea’s main duties align with her leadership role of developing and managing the LJMU primary and secondary partnership. The LJMU Partnership works with over 300 schools across the Liverpool City Region and beyond. The school-based training element of the programme accounts for two thirds of the programmes allocated time (apart from UG), whilst the remaining time is spent studying for the academic modules. Thus, in conjunction with the Head of ITE, Programme Leaders and the wider ITE team and partnership, Andrea plays a key role in approximately 400 teachers’ recommendation for QTS annually. In LJMU’s OfSTED report of 2019 (page two), it was stated that the partnership is developing teachers that are 'well-qualified, committed and socially engaged'. This aligns with Andrea’s commitment to civic and social engagement across the Liverpool City Region and LJMU’s vison and values.
Commended: Ian Sadler
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Science
Since receiving an Individual Teaching Excellence Award in 2019, Ian has gone on to play a significant role as an academic leader in learning and teaching at LJMU. He has led an extensive curriculum review in the School and, more widely, has contributed to the delivery of staff development and review of policy on assessment and feedback across the institution. Alongside this, Ian has developed a national profile through his work on academic standards with AdvanceHE and his involvement in shaping the criteria for sport science course endorsement with the professional body, BASES. In addition, his published research on assessment and feedback has supported innovation in the curriculum and teaching and learning at LJMU and beyond.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
These individual or team awards will recognise outstanding contributions to advancing opportunities for marginalised and underrepresented groups.
Award Winner: Journalism and Sports Journalism Team
Liverpool Screen School, Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies
The Journalism and Sports Journalism team has recently redoubled its long-standing commitment to embedding EDI in its teaching, outreach work and research, building partnerships within industry, academia and the third sector to do so. This is reflective of its conviction that journalism education at an institution like LJMU can be a powerful force in creating a media workforce that is more representative of UK society. Journalism remains disproportionately white and middle class and - in certain fields including sport - male (NCTJ 2022; Cairns 2023). It also remains London-centric, presenting challenges to would-be journalists from our region. The team’s approach is to recognise that industry is also making positive efforts to change, and to empower our students to make the most of these efforts, rather than feel excluded or marginalised. They strive to train socially conscious, EDI-aware journalists, and work with schools in the city and beyond to encourage young people to understand that a career in journalism can be for them.
Visit the Liverpool Screen School page to find out more.
Commended: The Schools’ Observatory Team
Astrophysics Research Institute, Faculty of Engineering and Technology
For over 15 years, the Schools' Observatory has served as a reliable resource for educators and students alike. They provide free educational materials and aim to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for all. A noteworthy initiative is the residential EDI program, offering astrophysics work experience to underrepresented groups. Participants of the programme have reported positive feedback and have noted a significant increase in skills, resilience, and confidence. Staff and PG students get valuable outreach experience aiding the week, and participants get to work with professional astrophysicists and use real scientific data.
The Schools’ Observatory also organise 'Making Space' for female and non-binary students, a Primary Christmas Lecture, Eco-Coders, and Astronomy for Remote and Island Schools. Each project has its own EDI agenda and aligns with the institution's strategic priorities, such as digital accessibility and decolonisation efforts. Furthermore, the Schools' Observatory is actively involved in institutional boards and contributes to institutional APP priorities.
Visit the School's Observatory website to find out more.