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University of Bradford educator honoured in 2020 Teaching Excellence Awards for Higher Education

University of Bradford educational developer Ruth Whitfield, who has dedicated her professional career to helping improve teaching and student outcomes, has been honoured with a National Teaching Fellowship in the 2020 Teaching Excellence Awards for Higher Education.

She is one of 56 new fellows announced by Advance HE on what is the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme.

Ruth said: “I am over the moon with this award. It’s a real honour to have the impact of your work recognised in this way. I’m hugely grateful to the University of Bradford for the opportunities and support it has given me over the years.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice Chancellor and newly appointed Chair of Yorkshire Universities, said: “Ruth has worked tirelessly to improve pedagogic practice, enhance the students learning experience and raise the profile of learning and teaching both in the institution and the sector more broadly.

“The University of Bradford is well known for its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, a commitment recognised by The Times and Sunday Times naming us as University of the Year for Social Inclusion 2020. This award reflects our strategic commitment to teaching excellence and, more precisely, a model of educational inclusivity that enables students from socially and economically diverse backgrounds to maximise their talents.”

Ruth is a Senior Educational Developer who is highly respected by colleagues at all levels across the University of Bradford and beyond. Her skill and passion for supporting colleagues to enhance their practice as professional educators and improve the outcomes of student learning has been evident throughout her long career.

During a career spanning three decades at the University of Bradford, Ruth has created and seized opportunities to move from training staff in IT and pushing the boundaries of technology for learning as a highly effective part-time lecturer, to major leadership roles in national development projects and initiating and disseminating strategic change as a professionally qualified and nationally-known educational developer.

Early in her career, Ruth used her learning technology expertise to inspire local school children through outreach initiatives. She also designed and delivered a suite of credit bearing modules to support key skills development in undergraduate programmes.

She is well known for her work on Programme Assessment Strategies (PASS). She is a Senior Fellow of both Advance HE (formerly Higher Education Academy) and SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association), and has received institutional awards in recognition of her outstanding commitment to student learning.

Ruth’s most notable recent achievement is the development of Bradford:Fellowships, a coherent, whole career framework to support the development of those involved in teaching and/or learning support from induction through to national teaching awards.

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, said: “All of the winners should be extremely proud of their achievement of what are prestigious, national teaching awards. Their work epitomises the outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector, which this year has been more demanding than ever before. Well done to each and every one of them.

“On the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, we really wanted to celebrate the diversity of the outstanding individuals teaching or supporting teaching, and focused on applicants’ impact on EDI issues in the awards process. We will continue this focus in the years to come as we ensure that the awards reflect the diversity of academics and teachers across the sector.”

Due to Covid-19, the 2020 winners award ceremony has been postponed. All the 2020 winners will be recognised at a joint awards ceremony in autumn 2021 for winners from this year and next. There will also be an online celebration in the week beginning September 27.