ALDinHE Annual Awards 2024

This page celebrates and publicises exceptional work taking place within the learning development community, highlighted through the ALDinHE Annual Awards nominations. Here you can read about the nominees’ work from the 2024 awards.

2024 Winner: Kate Normandin, Abertay University

Nominated by Kerith George-Briant, Abertay University

Kate matches her enthusiasm for supporting students with excellence in project creation and application to enable student learning. Kate joined the Learner Development team at Abertay in March 2023 having previously worked as a Student Advisor; within months she had created two projects for placement students, a first for our service. The projects focused on using the lived experience of students and research literature to evaluate our online study skills resources and one of our online microcredential (5 credit) offerings, with the end goal of ensuring that what we offer is a best practice fit for a neurodivergent student population. As Kate supervised these projects, she also joined the ALDinHE Neurodiversity/Inclusivity Community of Practice and upskilled her practice by completing the Future Learn courses on Understanding ADHD and Supporting Adult and Adolescent Students with Dyslexia. The project recommendations highlighted a number of areas for improvement and Kate has already implemented changes to the microcredential, which is running this term. The placement students are thrilled that real change has happened thanks to their input, and in terms of the changes made, Kate has already received the following feedback “Really good micro credential, good layout, easy to follow, good online resources and I really like the option of drop-in sessions. I feel very supported and able to do the course”. Kate’s current work, alongside the daily work of appointments and workshop delivery includes being a part of our new Autism and ADHD working group in Student Services, as well as supervising two more placement students, this time to consider how to promote ourselves to the student population, and how to strengthen our study skills guides for a specific cohort of students – those studying Law. I believe that this work shows Kate would be a worthy winner of this year’s ALDinHE award.

2024 Nominations

Javeria Khadija Shah, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, nominated by Riadh Ghemmour

Javeria has created the Learning Skills Programme at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2014 to ensure students receive additional, human-centered and tailored learning development support for free. As the only staff member on the programme at that time, she proposed this Programme to deanery in order to shape and enhance the student experience at the institution. Thanks to her extensive experience as an educationalist, Javeria really pushed the boundaries of what learning development ‘is’ and ‘should’ look like. Grounded in her love ethics, passion, decolonial and inclusive informed praxis, Javeria has inspired students to act upon their agency and achieve emancipation in their learning. For example, she set up a generic 1:1 booking system so students can book tutorials with our national visiting lecturers. Students are exposed to different practices, learning development epistemologies and expertise of learning developers from all around the UK. In addition, she has also been working collaboratively with other departments and services to support at-risk students through referral systems, offering bespoke and personalised 1:1 sessions. Thanks to this referral system, many students have gained back their confidence to progress onto their courses and pass their units and assignments successfully. In order to expand the remits and scope of the Learning Skills Programme, Javeria has also launched BH365 which introduces CSSD colleagues and students – and beyond – to the contributions of Black scholars and practitioners in the fields of Arts, Education and Research, inviting speakers for public talks and workshops. Her recent contribution to learning development and BH365 is Learning Skills collaboration with London Arts and Humanities. Javeria’s inclusiveness, sharp intellect and versatility to (re)imagine what learning development is is truly inspiring and award-deserving.

Dr Rachel Webster, University of Birmingham, nominated by Mike Stanford

My nomination is for Dr Rachel Webster, Head of Learning Enhancement (Academic Skills) at the University of Birmingham. Over the past 2 years, the Academic Skills Centre (ASC) service growth shows: • a 41% increase in the number of embedded workshops (c.300 workshops in 23-24) • a 113% increase in the number of students reached (c.12,000 students in 23-24) • a 26% increase in the number of 1:1 student appointments (c.1500 students in 23-24) Rachel oversees the daily operations of the ASC and has managed this added demand on the service and consequently her own role, with consummate professionalism. This has included navigating tricky conversations with senior stakeholders around capacity or unlocking out of hours support for students in distress. Rachel will often backfill teaching requests, including weekend teaching, and covering 1:1 student appointments, rather than let anyone down. Rachel never makes the easy decision; she makes the right decision putting students at heart of her thought process. She receives consistently positive feedback from students for her teaching and 1:1 support; an inspiring role model and leader to the wider team. The past 12 months has seen the explosion of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI). In additional to sustaining the service excellence noted above, Rachel also took the lead on writing the student facing guidance on how to use GAI ethically for study. This was a particularly high- profile piece of work involving several hours of unplanned for work that was turned around very quickly. It has been extremely well received by the academy. Rachel is now heavily involved in a GAI project which involves co-creating an interactive canvas resource with students, for students which Rachel will showcase at the forthcoming ALDinHE conference. Rachel leads by example and is universally liked and trusted by her colleagues, peers, and stakeholders.

Sal Consoli, The University of Edinburgh, nominated by Samantha Curle

Sal’s commitment to nurturing healthy and sustainable developments in higher education is reflected both in his research and pedagogical practices. His empirical and theoretical research on the psychology of education spotlights the need for all HE stakeholders to consider and value the impact of learner motivation and strategies to sustain learner engagement. His concern with the theoretical notion of ‘life capital’ , a concept used in various sub-domains of education, is also indicative of his commitment to supporting both students’ and teachers’ well-being. All these insights clearly inform his approach to guiding students and mentoring staff in higher education. Significantly, Sal is extremely passionate about student education, and this is evidenced by his director role at the University of Edinburgh where he leads a large postgraduate programme and supports a large team of staff. His programme is one of the largest postgraduate provisions in the UK and students are clearly satisfied given the student number retention and yearly in-take. It is clear from Sal’s international publications and knowledge exchange activities that he is dedicated to fostering a pedagogy guided by an ethics of wellbeing for both students and teachers. This includes recognising that students and academics hail from unique personal and professional trajectories and ensuring that these idiosyncrasies are discovered and celebrated throughout the various pedagogical processes.

Sal Consoli, The University of Edinburgh, nominated by Gale Macleod

Sal Consoli is programme director of a very large cohort of postgraduate students (800+), and works with a large team of staff to ensure students have a fulfilling university experience. To do so, he operates through a number of dialogical modes – he communicates with students weekly via email, via short bite-size videos, organises discussion forum activities. This wide range of communication channels and modalities allows all students to participate as they get to choose the form of communication that best suits their learning orientation and psychological wellbeing. Similarly, Sal designs a variety of teaching activities to be used consistently across this large cohort. This is very critical for Sal as he realises the importance of students’ coming from a range of educational trajectories and experiences. One core aspect of Sal’s approach to postgraduate learning is that students are placed at the centre of the pedagogical processes. They are supported by tutors who facilitate activities that involve students in group discussion, pair presentations, individual writing and seminar tasks. Sal’s research on the notion of ‘life capital’ means that students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning experiences and they get to be engaged at all times through the scaffolding support of a workshop tutor. Sal’s research is primarily concerned with student motivation and classroom engagement and these insights clearly inform his approach to supporting students and mentoring staff in higher education. His research on pedagogy also takes a highly reflexive approach which means teachers and students are constantly encouraged to express and exercise their own agency within the institutional landscape. Sal’s commitment to higher education through his other research exploring teacher education, for example, via international virtual exchange is also very supportive of colleagues who work in other settings outside the UK.

Ourania Varsou, University of Glasgow (self-nomination)

At the University of Glasgow, Ourania has led learning innovations in bioscience and healthcare programmes through strategic curriculum enhancements in the subject of human anatomy with her full professional profile available from: As the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Anatomy Year 3 Lead Coordinator (120 credits) and the Anatomy Programme Lead for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Ourania works in partnership with students and peers to promote student learning. For example, it was raised in course feedback that the BDS Year 3 Anatomy Course required modernisation. Ourania redesigned this course, in the academic year 2023-24, focusing on collaborative skill acquisition, through active learning strategies in anatomy labs, linked to real-world dentistry challenges. This learning approach led to the highest anatomy exam performance in a decade, while also 68% of students found the new course intellectually stimulating and 72% were satisfied with its quality. Such learning development initiatives have better aligned my courses with standards from external bodies like the General Dental Council and Royal Society of Biology. Ourania has also spearheaded the integration of ultrasound teaching across multiple programmes, including the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) and BSc in Anatomy. This technology innovation has enhanced students’ real-life imaging skills, while also further consolidating their 3D anatomy. In a 2024 survey, 55% of students rated this innovation’s quality as “Excellent” and 40% as “Good,” while 43% found the hands-on ultrasound scanning experience “Very Effective” and 47% “Effective.” Parallel to the above, Ourania has also developed and delivered several local and national faculty upskilling workshops on ultrasound teaching and mentored colleagues in real-life teaching adopting a peer-to-peer preceptorship model. The workshops have a quality rating of 10/10 with the teaching resources being OA through the NTR, reflecting Ourania’s scholarly output and long-standing commitment to openly sharing her professional expertise.

Martin Toye, University of Edinburgh, nominated by Gale Macleod

Dr Martin Toye is a lecturer at Moray House School of Education and Sport at the University of Edinburgh. Martin teaches at all levels (UG, Master’s, PGR, and CPD). His areas of expertise are broadly within the area of Inclusive Education. He is most closely associated with the MSc Inclusive Education which he has worked to support for over a decade. With colleagues in information services he transformed our provision from our bespoke online learning platform to our use of Learn. As programme director he worked closely with students to improve aspects of the programme (e.g. developing a strong cohort identity through extra-curricular activities, developing the support offered at Dissertation stage, improving the user-friendliness of the VLE). He has been successful in diversifying the student cohort on this largely international programme, with students now coming from a wide range of countries. He has adapted teaching materials and practices to reflect this diversity and has also ensured that deaf students and those with visual impairments of various degrees have been able to access all teaching materials. He is the most collegial of colleagues, often stepping in to help, without having to be asked, when he sees others struggling with workload. He ensures junior colleagues have a full and meaningful induction and supports their career development, ensuring their time is protected to develop their own research careers and mentoring their assessment and feedback practices. He often carries out peer observation of teaching to develop his and others’ practice. He mentors less experienced colleagues through PhD supervision and has been instrumental in helping some PGR students remain on programme despite facing adversity outside of their studies. All of his teaching is heavily informed by his own research, most recently into the social consequences of being diagnosed with a disruptive behaviour disorder (e.g. ADHD).

Simon Cuddihy, City University of London, nominated by Pam Parker

Simon is currently the only English for Academic Purposes (EAP) tutor here at City, University of London. He was based in one school but since joining us in the learning enhancement and development centre his support has extended to all students across the University. He works with colleagues in the international office and programme administration teams to ensure students know about his service. He discusses with students their needs focusing on a collaborative partnership approach when planning his offer. Simon provides courses in both academic writing and Grammar, Vocabulary and punctation and offers these in both in-person and online to support student learning and meeting their needs. This year Simon has provided 26 courses for students and provided online material as well. In addition to this he provides individual one-to-one appointments which he again offers both in-person and online to suit student needs and this year has provided over 300 appointments to date. Simon regularly reviews the literature and sector practice and this led to Simon taking a central role in a working group who have reviewed the information provided for prospective students about English language requirements. Simon has been focused on making this clearer and more accessible to students. Simon also reflects on his practice and engages in personal and professional development to keep up to date and this has enabled him to use the most appropriate pedagogic approaches to his classes. This was evident in a recent peer review which highlighted his use of inclusive and engaging approaches to encourage students to contribute. He refers to examples from a range of cultures to share the diversity of language. Students commend his approaches in their evaluations.

Tunde Varga-Atkins, The University of Liverpool, nominated by Gita Sedghi

Tunde, a Senior Educational Developer in digital education, has significantly impacted the HE sector through various initiatives aligning with the award criteria. Treasure Island Pedagogies podcast series is a culmination of Tunde’s work to champion best practices to adapt, share and advocate effective learning development. The series led to launching an annual global conference, the Islands of Innovation Festival, connecting and collaborating with the wider community. The festival’s impact has lived on in the form of the resources and activities created by the global festival committee on Padlet (Islands Index) and the ripple effects of lasting collaborations between participants (2022, 2003 websites), contributing to the broader discourse on effective learning development, continuing in 2024. Tunde’s contribution through strategic leadership and innovative practices was taking the lead in advocating for digital fluency to be included as a graduate attribute into the design and implementation of the university’s curriculum framework. Her work adopted a partnership approach with extensive consultations with stakeholders fostering a collaborative ethos, working alongside colleagues and students to tailor learning experiences that meet diverse needs. Tunde’s work has been highlighted nationally as an exemplar to inform practice across further and higher education. Tunde’s approach to learning development is underpinned by scholarship and research, as evidenced by her publications and academic outputs, enhancing both teaching and learning outcomes. As committee member, then chair of Evaluating Learners’ Experiences of e-Learning Special Interest Group, she has advocated for the effective use of evaluation of the learner experience to inform enhancements in learning development, as well as building capacity of others to undertake their own evaluation through activities, resources, community of practice approach, and more recently via ELESIG’s Scholars mentor scheme. Tunde is committed to ongoing professional development and critical reflection, whether it is undertaking doctoral study or engaging in internal and external.

Lauren Regan, City University of London, nominated by Pam Parker

Lauren is the digital literacies coordinator for City, University of London based in the learning enhancement and development centre. Lauren set up a student digital community on Teams which when she started her role in 2021 grew to 248 members but now has 601. This has been achieved through signposting students to relevant guidance to support them with digital skills, promoting one-to-one support and sharing members stories with insights from students on different courses and the digital skills they have learnt. Using this collaborative partnership approach enables other students to identify the relevance of this community them. Lauren is also a champion for students using Linkedin Learning to develop their digital skills. This has been truly successful with 477 students in November 2021 to 2726 in November 2022. Lauren then worked with IT, to automate the licence invitation emails which has further increased participation by a further 24%. This growth has continued and currently there are 9218 students on the platform. Lauren has achieved this through consistently recommending relevant content on the platform through multiple channels, ensuring students are aware of the platform through face-to-face induction events and through working with academics to run bespoke sessions with students to provide opportunities to explore the platform. Lauren’s knowledge of students diverse needs and her understanding of pedagogic practice has underpinned her various approaches to reaching students to support their learning. Lauren was involved in induction workshops and freshers fair at the start of the year where over 6,000 students attended. Lauren is committed to promoting enhancing student digital skills and regularly engages with literature and research to underpin her practice but also reflects on the provision. Lauren has also recently been recognised a Senior Advance HE fellow for her influence on colleagues to support developing student digital skills.

Edmond Sanganyado Northumbria University Newcastle (self nomination)

I am pleased to nominate myself, an assistant professor in forensic science at Northumbria University for the ALDinHE Award for my work on improving assessment literacy in authentic assessments through generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) dialogues. During my classes, I invited students to use genAI to answer scenario-based questions. Together with the students, we critiqued the genAI responses, and I asked the students to ask further questions to the genAI. This process helped students understand what was required of them in the assessments. Additionally, the prompt engineering practice helped the students to manage their cognitive load management, which helped in their metacognition while improving their assessment literacy. While lauded for giving students opportunities to transfer their knowledge and skills to real-life scenarios thus improving their employability, I have found that authentic assessments inadvertently perpetuate inequality by favouring students with high socio-cultural capital as they have access to resources, languages, and processes essential for navigating the assessment. By using human like language to answer scenario-based questions, GenAI tools such ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and Claude AI gave students with low socio-cultural capital access too. In addition to improve equity in authentic assessments, GenAI tools helped improve student participation as students were more open to critique responses given by an inanimate object compared to their peers. To share and advocate this learning development, I presented at a departmental Learning and teaching Forum at Northumbria University, and a video of the work is featured as a best practice by Northumbria AI Hub as well as externally by Advance HE through their AI Garage. I demonstrated commitment to scholarly engagement by presenting the work at the Chartered Society of Forensic Science Autumn Conference in Leeds, where I received a travel bursary.

Melike Bulut Albaba, Sheffield Hallam University (self-nomination)

I would like to nominate my practitioner project titled “Empowering Multilingual Potential: Exploring Multilingual Pedagogies to Enhance the Learning Experience in Higher Education” in recognition of the original contribution to learning development. In this project, I addressed a critical gap in higher education pedagogy by focusing on the often-overlooked aspect of linguistic diversity. Despite the growing presence of multilingual learners in academia, traditional teaching methods primarily cater to monolingual English-speaking students. My project sought to rectify this disparity by empowering multilingual learners and promoting inclusive pedagogies. Through collaborative research with postgraduate taught students, I facilitated an exploration of multilingual pedagogies. My approach involved students taking on the role of researchers, examining their own language repertoires to support their learning. Utilizing focus-group interviews and reflective journals, the project produced valuable insights into the experiences and needs of multilingual learners. My students and I shared the insights drawn from this study at our university via a project publicity event where the students presented their own experiences. The impact of my project extended beyond the confines of my institution. By presenting my findings to the wider teaching and learning community at national and international conferences and informing local university-wide curriculum restructuring and EDI policies, I have catalysed positive change at both institutional and systemic levels. Another implication has been the foundation of the Multilingualism External Network based at Sheffield Hallam University which facilitates networking around the topic of multilingualism. In summary, I believe I embody the spirit of the ALDinHE Annual Award through my innovative project, collaborative approach, and commitment to promoting equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students. My efforts have not only made a tangible difference in the lives of multilingual learners but have also contributed significantly to the advancement of learning development practice in higher education.

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