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Vice-Chancellor's Education Excellence Awards

The VC's Awards reward those individuals who make a marked impact on enhancing the student learning experience.

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About the awards

The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards aim to raise the status of education at Newcastle University by rewarding individuals and teams who have made a marked impact on the student educational experience.

The deadline for submission of applications is 12.00pm Wednesday 19th April 2023.

Categories and eligibility

The award is open to all members of staff at Newcastle University, NUIS and NUMed whose work enhances the student educational experience. In addition, applications are welcome from staff of associated employers with direct and substantive involvement in the delivery of the student experience at Newcastle (e.g. staff of INTO). Groups of colleagues who work closely together are invited to apply for the team award.

Up to 5 awards of £3000 will be made across the following two categories:

Category One: Individual Award

  • Individual members of staff (academic or professional) whose contribution to education at Newcastle University is exceptional.

Category Two: Team Award

  • Teams of staff (either academic or professional services staff, or teams consisting of both) whose contribution to education at Newcastle University is exceptional.

2022 Winners

Individual Award

The two winners of the ‘Individual Award’ have developed innovative and creative approaches to education, delivering an excellent student experience alongside a strong commitment to scholarship, CPD and peer support. 

Dr Joanna Matthan, Senior Lecturer in Dental Sciences 

Dr Matthan received her award in recognition of: 

  • Her innovative teaching approaches and the educational transformations she has led in both MBBS and the School of Dental Sciences. 
  • A passion for the student experience, clearly evidenced by strong student feedback and the Teaching Excellence Awards she has received. 


Dr Stephanie Holton, Senior Lecturer: Classics & Ancient History, Classics and Archaeology 

Dr Holton receives her award in recognition of: 

  • Her innovative teaching and assessment approaches, with the “Unessay Projects” highlighted as particularly noteworthy 
  • A passion for improving the student experience, resulting in significant increases in student attainment and student satisfaction scores 
  • Her highly commendable outreach work with schools on a national level, delivering online ‘Classics Sixth Form Study Days’ joined live by 300+ pupils
  • Her excellent work on a local level co-designing enrichment activities, resources and workshops on ‘Romans and the Latin language in the Northeast’ at no cost for local primary schools 
A photograph of Dr Stephanie Holton

Team Award

There were two winners of the Team Award in 2022:

The NU Anatomy Team

The NU Anatomy Team received their award having demonstrated a sustained, and much valued, record of achievement in supporting student learning across Newcastle University. The awarding panel commended their range of innovative approaches to education, both before and during the pandemic, and the consistent reflection and development of their educational practices. The transformation of the student learning experience through live streaming of anatomical lectures to Malaysia was particularly noteworthy. The team were also highly praised for their dedication to their work, with students clearly valuing the support provided. 

(Pictured from left to right: Joanna Matthan, Iain Keenan, Pam White and Meena Swamy)

The Psychology EDI Team

A photograph of Karen Morley, Sarah Thwaites and Romana Farooq

The Psychology EDI Team received their award having demonstrated significant improvements in the equality, diversity and inclusion aspects of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme. The awarding panel commended the team on the transformation that has taken place in a short timeframe following the EDI initiatives in the programme. There are obvious challenges undertaking these initiatives with only one teaching day per week and a geographically diverse cohort, but these difficulties have been managed to the clear benefit of the programme’s diversity. The team were also highly praised for the provision of culturally sensitive mental health support. 

(Pictured from left to right: Karen Morley, Sarah Thwaites and Romana Farooq. Not pictured: Chelsea Addy)

Previous Winners

  • Dr Vanessa Armstrong, School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences
  • Dr Stacy Gillis, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literature & Culture, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics
  • Combined Honours Centre, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Team)
  • Patient Pathways, Graduate School, Faculty of Medical Sciences (Team)
  • Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the VC’s Education Excellence Awards did not take place in 2020.
  • Dr Phil Ansell, School of Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics
  • Dr Kirsten MacLeod, School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics
  • Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences
  • E-Learning Unit, School of Maths, Stats, and Physics (Team)
  • Specialist Learning Team, Student Health and Wellbeing Service (Team)
  • Dr Alison Graham, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Dr Patrick Rosenkranz, School of Psychology
  • Dr Simon Tate, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
  • School of Biomedical Sciences Professional Services Team
  • Dr Sara Marsham
  • Ms Louise Campbell (Professional Staff Award)
  • Dr Clare Guilding
  • Dr J C Penet
  • No awards were made in 2015.
  • Dr Lindsay Marshall, School of Computing Sciences
  • Dr Sue Thorpe, School of Psychology
  • Dr Alison Tyson-Capper, Institute of Cellular Medicine
  • Dr Christie Harner, SAgE Faculty Office (Professional Staff Award)
  • Dr Alison Dunn, Newcastle Law School, HaSS
  • Dr James Field, School of Dental Sciences, FMS
  • Dr Patricia Oliart, School of Modern Languages, HaSS
  • Ms Katie Wray, SAgE Faculty Office (Societal Challenge Award)
  • Ms Sandy Alden, Student Wellbeing (Professional Staff Award)
  • Dr Debra Bevitt, Senior Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences
  • Dr Jean Hall, Lecturer, Civil Engineering & Geosciences
  • Dr Venda Pollock, Senior Lecturer in Art History, Arts and Cultures
  • Dr Peter Hopkins, Reader in Social & Political Geography, Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Professor John Kirby, Professor of Immunobiology, Institute of Cellular Medicine and Faculty Postgraduate Tutor
  • Dr Jane Webster, Senior Lecturer in Historical Archaeology, Historical Studies
  • Dr Sue Haile, University Sustainability Advisor, Chemical Eng & Advanced Materials (Societal Challenge Award)
  • Dr Jarka Glassey, Senior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
  • Dr Tom Joyce, Senior Lecturer, Mechanical and Systems Engineering
  • Dr Franck Michel, Lecturer in French, School of Modern Languages
  • Professor Julia Newton, Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine, Institute for Ageing and Health (Societal Challenge Award)