MPLS Teaching Awards 2023

MPLS Teaching Awards 2023

It is with great pleasure that we announce 2 members of our department have won awards in the MPLS divisional Teaching Awards scheme. The scheme celebrates success and recognises and rewards excellence in innovative teaching practice. Congratulations to both Tamarah King and Ally Morton-Haywood who were nominated for these awards by both students and staff of the department. 

Professor Mike Bonsall, Associate Head of Division (Education) chaired the judging panel. He said: ‘The MPLS Teaching Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate teaching talent across the Division and to recognise excellence. We had our work cut out this year, choosing just ten winners from such a competitive field of glowing nominations. They could have all been deserving winners. We were especially pleased to see so many nominees at earlier career stages as well as those who are further advanced in their careers. My warmest congratulations to all of our winners and to all those who were nominated.’  

Tamarah stands with a yellow scarf and black coat infront of a river.

Dr Tamarah King – Department of Earth Sciences 

Earthquake geologist, Tamarah King, received 11 nominations through the MPLS nomination process, plus two additional nominations in letters sent directly to the Associate Head of Division (Education).  These recommendations came from both faculty members and undergraduate students and all recognised Tamarah’s enormous efforts in classroom, tutorials and field teaching this year. The Department strongly endorsed her nominations. All of her student nominations touched on her passion for the subject being taught and the interactive teaching delivery, with simplistic explanations. Tamarah is recognised for being a fantastic science communicator who uses her platform for good, for knowledge and for change. 

Tamarah said of the award “It’s an incredible honour to receive this award, and very flattering to hear that many colleagues and students took the time to submit a nomination. It’s been a pleasure working with such a wonderful cohort of students who are engaged, thoughtful, and intellectually curious. Even in pouring rain on a field trip, or the depths of Trinity term, the Earth Sci students have collectively and individually been a delight to teach. I really appreciate being part of a teaching team committed to progress, a huge thanks to the academic and admin staff who provide such fantastic support and collegiality. I’ll be forever grateful for this experience.”

Ally sits looking up at a thin section to the light next to a microscope

Ms Alexandra Morton-Hayward – Department of Earth Sciences 

Alexandra is a graduate student and early-career teacher. She received two nominations from undergraduate students for contributions to demonstrating in their first-year palaeontology classes. Alexandra has a personal, inclusive and positive approach to demonstrating. This was recognised in the nominations, where students commented on the additional steps she took to support them, on top of her already outstanding demonstrator ability. The Department endorsed these nominations to highlight the extremely positive effect this has had on first-year students, at a stage when they are still adjusting to learning in a University context. 

Ally said ‘I’m thrilled and deeply humbled to have been recognised for my work in teaching palaeontology to our wonderful undergraduate students! The opportunity to help shape the next generation of Earth scientists has been a huge privilege, and the most rewarding experience of my DPhil: witnessing their growth as they discover new and exciting information has been a source of great joy and inspiration, and I can’t wait to see what they achieve next. Winning this award wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance, support and encouragement of my Department colleagues, and I’m so grateful for their invaluable mentorship. As educators, I believe that we have a responsibility to impart knowledge, skills and values that will empower our students to make a positive impact on the world, and I’ll continue to strive for excellence in my teaching practice.’