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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

The 2022 winners of the Pilkington Prize at Newnham College for the prize-giving ceremony, with Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor Graham Virgo and representatives of the donors Angela Cooper and Julia Clarke

Prize Winners 2022

Congratulations to this year's Prize Winners! We were delighted to be able to welcome not only the 2022 Prize Winners but also those from 2021 and 2020 to a joint celebration at Newnham College in July.


Dr Neil Davies

Department of Earth Sciences・Churchill College

It is often said that the best geologist is the one that has seen the most rocks, and Dr Neil Davies has probably seen more than most, having spent over 39 months performing field-based research since 2000! The Department is incredibly fortunate to be able to draw on Neil’s vast field experience to develop innovative and exciting field teaching that compliments his equally innovative and popular lecture courses. Designing and leading a field trip is one of the greatest responsibilities we ask of our staff. Neil designs and leads multiple trips each year, continuously refining and adapting them to create a rich educational experience for our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The pandemic created unprecedented disruption to field teaching across the world, yet Neil rose to the challenge, immediately designing bespoke day trips that could be safely achieved within strict Covid constraints. Our students were amongst the very few in the UK to receive any field education during the 2020-21 academic year, which is reflected in the glowing feedback that Neil receives for his efforts. As our Deputy Director of Teaching, Neil’s work will ensure that Cambridge’s reputation for producing world-class field scientists will continue, whatever the world throws at us!


Dr Robbie Duschinsky

Department of Public Health & Primary Care・Sidney Sussex College

Dr Robbie Duschinsky is a passionate and inspiring multidisciplinary educator. Colleagues and students describe him as adept at building and supporting learning communities, through the sincerity of his care for students and teaching colleagues and his infectious enthusiasm. Robbie is egalitarian in his approach and he seeks opportunities to learn from and with everyone, regularly co-publishing with students and colleagues.

Robbie is active in equality, diversity & inclusion work within the Clinical School and these values figure strongly in his teaching and committee contributions, such as to the MVST Curriculum Review and the Clinical School’s Racism in Medical Education Student-Staff Liaison Group. Robbie has collaboratively redeveloped the structure, content and assessment of the Social & Ethical Context of Health and Illness paper taken by first-year medical students, with transformative effects for student learning and seminar leader retention. He is regularly described by students as a generous and empowering educator.


Dr Owen Griffiths

Faculty of Philosophy・Churchill College

Dr Owen Griffiths has been teaching for the Faculty of Philosophy for over a decade. He teaches in all areas of theoretical philosophy and, in several papers, supervises a large proportion of our students. His lectures are often praised by students for their clarity, their variety of teaching methods, their humour and their pop-cultural references. He has a strong belief in research-led teaching and there is close interaction between his research and teaching in areas such as the philosophy of logic, the philosophy of language and metaphysics.

Owen has developed various textbooks for the Faculty and written an open access textbook for a first-year course, which can easily be modified for the accessibility requirements of students. As IT liaison for the Faculty, he has created resources for colleagues on all aspects of online learning, and has led sessions to educate postgraduate students in how to best adapt teaching for an online environment.


Dr Susan Jones

Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience

Dr Susan Jones contributes to an impressively broad range of the interdepartmental teaching portfolio in Medical, Veterinary and Natural Sciences, where she delivers an exceptionally high quality of teaching. She has shown a sustained and outstanding commitment to improving and developing courses with a record of introducing innovative approaches. These innovative methods have transformed challenging topics, with universally positive feedback from the students, have enhanced clinical integration and have successfully incorporated modern technologies.

Beyond her teaching, Sue has led initiatives to improve library facilities and provision for students and has played a key role in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. All her colleagues are unanimous about the enthusiasm and creativity that she brings to all of the activities that she undertakes and especially to the remarkable contributions she makes to all aspects of teaching.


Mr Stephen McDonnell

Department of Surgery

Stephen McDonnell has been instrumental in redeveloping the musculoskeletal teaching programme within the Clinical School. He has shown excellent educational leadership, over several years, coordinating with orthopaedic colleagues across the region, as well as with the broader surgical faculty and the rheumatology teaching team. Leading a team of orthopaedic teachers, he has developed a teaching programme that is valued by the clinical students, and he has been pivotal, during the pandemic, in moving a lot of this teaching programme to virtual platforms. As the pandemic impacted on care, he ensured that student access to musculoskeletal problems and procedures was maintained and that consultant teaching was available, introducing the “Surgeon of the Day” lecture series.

Stephen delivers undergraduate teaching at several stages, integrating surgery into the pre-clinical anatomy course alongside responsibilities in all three clinical years. As current Chair of the Cambridge Surgical forum, he has incorporated undergraduate student presentations into the meeting, alongside lectures delivered by practicing surgeons. Despite his own responsibilities in surgery and research, he delivers high quality undergraduate teaching, described as inspirational and enthusiastic by colleagues, and dedicated and approachable by students.


Dr Peter McMurray

Faculty of Music・Queens' College

Dr Peter McMurray has transformed teaching in several areas in the Faculty of Music and wider collegiate University since his appointment in 2017. His work culminated in the academic year 2020-21 with outstanding achievements in four separate areas of course design, course delivery, student-staff collaboration and equality, diversity & inclusion, in the course of his work on a full Tripos reform. He re-designed courses in all three years of the Tripos to include learning through creative practice, engagement with critical theory and contributions from scholars working in marginalised areas; introduced formally assessed ethnographic study in new formats; convened a reading group to provide students with the opportunity to debate issues related to the Tripos reform; coordinated efforts to expand representation in each course in the new Tripos.

Peter took a leading role in all these aspects of the re-design, resulting in changes to teaching practice that have become formalized across the new Tripos, which is being introduced in the Faculty of Music in stages beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.


Dr Ella McPherson

Department of Sociology・Queens' College

Dr Ella McPherson’s hands-on approach to teaching about technology and her continual development of inclusive ways to teach with technology is exemplary. It is exactly the kind of teaching we want to promote within Sociology – innovative, caring, forward-looking, attentive to social inequality and always aiming high. Her courses – the Media, Culture & Society paper, the MPhil pathway in Media & Culture and the core second-year ‘Digital Societies’ module – are among the most popular in the Department. Student feedback on Ella’s teaching has consistently rated her as a caring, engaging and exciting lecturer whose lectures have remained influential to their thinking well beyond their time as a student in her classes.

Ella’s contribution, moreover, reaches beyond excellent teaching to her incredible administrative contributions to the teaching work of the Department through the challenges of Covid. As Director of Undergraduate Education, she performed admirably, with her clear communicative style and attention to the smallest detail. Ella shows us how 21st-century teaching should look – accessible, engaging, technologically-savvy and aimed at addressing the most intractable global problems.


Dr Dai Morgan

Department of Engineering

Dr Dai Morgan has become a mainstay of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, delivering excellence, innovation and leadership in teaching, and continually developing new material and activities for the benefit of students. Beyond his formal duties he has an outstandingly generous, sensitive and unselfish approach to supporting student welfare, and is always very highly regarded in any feedback surveys.

Dai has also taken a wider interest in the pedagogy of teaching issues of sustainability to engineers, contributing to International Conferences in this field, and has co-led innovative summer schools in Spain for postgraduates selected from a wide range of engineering programmes across Europe and North America. His commitment to the special ethos of the Engineering for Sustainable Development MPhil is exemplary and he is able to inspire future generations of engineers to change the way they think.


Dr Amanda Prorok

Department of Computer Science & Technology・Pembroke College

Dr Amanda Prorok single-handedly introduced an entirely new programme of robotics teaching in the Department of Computer Science and Technology when she joined in 2017. Her robotics courses are highly innovative both in their content and in their delivery, combining advanced theoretical concepts with practical components that enable the students to put theories into action and apply them to real mini-robot systems. The advanced topics that Amanda teaches include approaches to coordinating artificially intelligent agents (e.g. robots, vehicles, machines) to achieve common goals in shared physical and virtual spaces.

She has recently started collaborating with colleagues in Engineering to create modules in robotics which are genuinely shared between the departments, as opposed to simply being borrowed. In addition to advanced undergraduate and Master’s modules, Amanda has also co-taught a foundational computer science course to first-year undergraduates (Computer Science and Natural Sciences Triposes) and supervised around twenty Master’s and third-year undergraduate projects over the last three years. Her teaching is exemplary throughout, and is much admired by her colleagues as well as greatly appreciated by her students.


Prof. Christopher Tout

Institute of Astronomy・Churchill College

Prof. Christopher Tout is nominated for his outstanding role in leading the undergraduate teaching programme of the Institute of Astronomy over a decade. In this role he has been extremely effective at evolving the programme while keeping the education and wellbeing of the students and the maintenance of educational standards as an absolute priority. He has promoted a culture in which he is personally accessible to all undergraduate students and is thoughtful and proactive in response to concerns raised. His pastorally sensitive approach to education is extremely well received: student feedback especially attests to his key role in supporting students during the pandemic.

At the same time, he has overseen an extremely well-run programme whose efficiency is much welcomed by students and teaching staff alike. This smooth operation has been maintained over a decade of change in which he has proactively promoted course-sharing with the Mathematics and Physics Departments. The calm and constructive way in which he has progressed interdepartmental discussions has been highly effective. Alongside this role, Christopher has maintained a heavy load of teaching at both departmental and College level.


Prof. Stephen Watterson

Faculty of Law・Trinity Hall

Prof. Stephen Watterson is an outstanding teacher who is held in the very highest esteem by students and colleagues alike. He teaches difficult and complex legal subjects with enviable clarity and contagious enthusiasm, securing plaudits from students year after year. However, Stephen is not merely a gifted teacher. He has been a transformative Director of the Law Tripos, implementing significant organisational changes, overseeing a major review that will shape aspects of undergraduate education in the Faculty of Law for years to come, and providing extraordinary leadership of our 700-student undergraduate programme during a period of unparalleled challenge and change.

Alongside all of this, Stephen led the Faculty’s pathbreaking Exploring Law project — a highly innovative online course that aims to democratise access to the study of Law as an academic subject. As well as forming a central plank of the Faculty’s Access & Widening Participation Programme, this nationally significant initiative is intended to demystify the subject for the benefit of all prospective students considering a Law degree at any UK university, irrespective of social or educational background. Stephen’s remarkable contributions to teaching, to pedagogical leadership, development and innovation, and to outreach mark him out as an utterly exceptional colleague.


Dr Tim Weil

Department of Zoology・Pembroke College

Dr Tim Weil has shown sustained excellence in teaching and its management across three separate roles, as University Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology, Deputy Head of Department (Teaching, 2017-2020) and as the first Deputy Head of School for Undergraduate Strategy. Tim is a natural communicator and has brought his unique blend of energy, empathy, clear-headedness, persuasiveness and diplomacy to each of these roles. He is an inspirational teacher, excelling at enthusing undergraduates and postgraduates with cell and developmental biology. He regularly receives glowing reviews for his lectures and practicals.

As Deputy Head of Department, he initiated a number of important innovations such as the novel Research Project Proposal in the Part II Zoology course, which was well-received by students. As Deputy Head of School, he has shown extraordinary skill in organising the School’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. He has dealt with the enormous challenges presented with great aplomb and tact, being a strong advocate for the School while keeping colleagues onboard and informed in a timely fashion. In a major project in the current year, Tim is spearheading the pilot introduction of Inspera software for Part I NST examinations, to streamline the online examination process. He is immensely respected both within the Department and across the wider School.

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