Royal Holloway Teaching Prizes 2022


Introduction from Professor James Knowles

The College Teaching Prizes aim to raise the profile of teaching and to underline our commitment to it by recognising initiatives which have had a beneficial impact on student learning. The scheme’s objective is also to share good practice across our schools by publicising initiatives which have the scope to influence support for student learning more generally. This year’s entrants had to include a specific focus on inclusive education. Winners presented at the annual Teaching and Learning symposium on Tuesday 14 June and their achievements were recognised at a reception after the symposium. Find out more about the winners below, congratulations to them and thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the 2022 Teaching Prizes.

Excellence Teaching Prize 2022

Click below to discover more about the winning entries.

Santander Open Minds Scheme

Santander Open Minds_Lisa Medd

Lisa Medd from Careers (pictured above) and David Hannaby from Alumni Relations delivered a cross-College scheme, with Santander UK funding, offering a supportive, paid placements programme tailored to students with a mental health condition and/ or a social communication impairment. The scheme aims to ensure participants feel empowered and educated on how to navigate the world of work and recruitment processes in an inclusive and focused way. Offered in collaboration with our alumni network, industry professionals and the Students’ Union.

The Santander Open Minds Scheme was introduced as, according to the College’s Access and Participation Plan, students with mental health conditions or social communication impairment are currently 15% less likely to progress to further study or graduate-level employment than students without a disability. Feedback from participants has been positive with seven students who took part in the scheme, going on to be offered paid work, another placement or the opportunity to engage further with the placement provider in the future. Placement providers have also been positive and many have offered to take part in 2022.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

Embedding site-specific video lectures in teaching for EN2001 and EN3021: Middle English Poetry

Site-specific video lectures Middle English Poetry_Dr Alastair Bennett

Dr Alastair Bennett from the Department of English created a series of site-specific videos relating to his course on Middle English Poetry. Alastair filmed in locations that would allow students to visualise the world of late medieval England, where the poems on the course were written and read. These included at the tomb of the poet John Gower in Southwark Cathedral and at the site of the Tabard Inn where Chaucer’s pilgrims set off for Canterbury.

The videos were used for flipped learning, achieved significant engagement, and made the locations and archival materials accessible to students who might not otherwise be able to visit them. Filming at heritage sites, and in museums and archives, not only enhances students’ understandings of the texts on the course, but also works to break down some of the perceived barriers for working class and BAME students.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

Management and Music: harnessing the creative arts and student-led research to create an inclusive co-curated online course

Management and Music_Dr Amal El-Sawad

Dr Amal El-Sawad from the Department of Human Resource Management and Organisation Studies developed an online module and a MOOC by using a teaching innovation that harnesses the creative arts - in particular music and creative writing - to help students critically evaluate core management concepts and theories and share findings from their own original research in engaging ways.

By conducting their own research and creating their own creative case-studies, all students are able to see themselves and their particular cultural contexts represented in their course materials. Students are encouraged to view themselves as co-creators of knowledge and co-curators of aspects of their course, conducting original research, contributing to a unique collection of student-authored examples and case-studies from around the world, representing a valuable shared and inclusive learning resource of benefit to all students (and tutors) and offering an innovative, student-led approach to de-colonising the curriculum.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

Politics in Action: New Parliamentary Placement Scheme for Students from Ethnic Minority Backgrounds

Politics in Action_Professor James Sloam

Professor James Sloam (pictured above) from the Department of Politics and International relations and Doreen Thompson-Addo from Careers noted that the popular and successful Politics in Action programme was failing to place students from ethnic minorities in House of Commons internships. Discussions with MPs including Janet Daby MP (Lewisham East) and the Clerk of the House led to an agreement for the participation of seven ethnic minority students from Royal Holloway each year onto a competitive summer internship programme to gain experience of working in the House. In July 2021, our first cohort participated in this scheme.

In the first year of this new initiative, with Janet Daby’s help and the skilling up of students through the Social Mobility internship, we were able to place four of our students with MPs for two terms (autumn and spring) during the 2021-2022 academic year. Politics in Action students have been invited to participate in the Clerk of the House’s scheme again in 2022. 

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.


Team Teaching Prize 2022

Click below to discover more about the winning entries.

International Collaborative Peer Learning: Constructing an Inclusive Online Learning Environment to Promote Social Responsibility

International Collaborative Peer Learning

Team members

Alex Gilder (Law) (pictured above), Nicola Antoniou (Law), Michelle Bentley (Politics, International Relations and Philosophy), Daniela Lai (Politics, International Relations and Philosophy) and Nasir Ali (Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Hargeisa, Somaliland).

The project is a ground-breaking international learning collaboration between students based in the UK and the Horn of Africa to promote deep peer learning by creating an innovative legal advice website – one that has allowed students to make a real difference to human rights and peacebuilding in Africa as well as generating both stakeholder understanding and international partnerships.

The inclusivity-driven project has created a dynamic international learning collaboration between students at the College and the University of Hargeisa (Somaliland) where participants engage in deep peer learning with students from a different culture and educational experience. The project has also created content on human rights/peacebuilding to directly help local people and civil organisations in Africa, as well as to promote a more inclusive and impactful understanding of Africa amongst UK stakeholders e.g. politicians.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

‘Gaining Confidence and a Growth-Mindset in Preparation for the World of Work’: RH100 Assessment Centres and Training

RH100 assessment centres and training

Team members

Rebecca Johns (Student Engagement Officer) (pictured above, second left), Matthew Searle (Head of Student Engagement) (pictured above, third left), Lucy Thomas (Student Engagement Officer) (pictured above, first left) and Stephanie Anderson (Student Transitions and Events Officer).

The RH100 Panel is a platform for students to help co-design large-scale projects within the College, enabling them to directly influence student life at the College. The newly appointed Student Engagement Team have worked to innovate the recruitment process for these panels, using it as an opportunity to prepare students for the world of work, with the hope of widening access, and growing students’ aspirations and confidence.

The team’s focus was to reward efforts towards effective critical thinking, communication, teamwork, motivation and mutual respect. Introverts and extraverts were actively considered when designing the inclusive assessment centre by ensuring a mix of networking, group tasks and one to one chats to counter and reframe the idea that assessment centres are ‘intimidating’.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

Establishing transparency and inclusivity in accessing and developing research experience.

Establishing transparency and inclusivity in accessing and developing research experience

Team members

Dr. Saloni Krishnan, Psychology (Careers and Employability Lead) (pictured above, middle), Dr. Ilham Sebah, Psychology (2020/21, Undergraduate EDI Lead; 2021/present, Senior Tutor), Dr. Nura Sidarus, Psychology (2021/22 Undergraduate EDI Lead), Prof. Victoria Bourne, Psychology (Director of Teaching and Learning), Prof. Dawn Watling, Psychology (School PGR Director) (pictured above, left)

Students from non-traditional backgrounds do not always see research as a viable career option for themselves. This is partially due to the lack of role models “like them”, but also due to other systemic barriers like challenges gaining appropriate experience. Through this project the team takes a creative approach to demystify the path to PGR research and to establish a transparent and inclusive process to gaining research experience within the Department of Psychology.

The team took a department level approach to a) identify systemic barriers to further research study (e.g., PhD) and b) established formal transparent processes to remove barriers to seeking departmental research placements.

This work is built around inclusivity through a) engaging in wide and open discussion of barriers to studying for a research degree and b) providing opportunities for gaining research experience while minimising bias -- including providing funding support to take part, anonymising applications for short-listing, focusing on skills rather than marks and providing feedback to help people improve future applications.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.

Head Start to University Study

Headstart to University

Team members

Stuart Wrigley, Katie Shaw (pictured above, left), Dr Kinga Zaczek (pictured above, middle), Gerard Clough, Dr Jan Kosecki, Dr Zohreh Moghimi, CeDAS.

The new two-day Head Start to University Study course was designed to complement existing transition activities by adding a novel focus on facilitating the social, psychological and cultural adaptation to university study of new undergraduate students with a Royal Holloway contextual offer flag (i.e. meeting one or more of the following criteria: mature entrant, declared disabled, care leaver, attended a 'low performing' school, lives in a quintile 1 POLAR 4 postcode, has parents with no HE experience).

The course was developed, delivered, and overseen by Learning Developers from the Centre for Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS), with valuable contributions from current students, academic colleagues from all six schools, and other professional services colleagues. Students were encouraged to attend in person, but were also permitted to join online if they preferred. One novel aspect of the course was the inclusion of three discussion panels / Q&A sessions to provide insight into different aspects of university study. Student and academic staff panel members were selected to ensure diverse representation, including of ethnicity, neurodiversity and gender-identity, as well as academic discipline. Course participants reported finding these panel discussions particularly interesting and useful.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.


Postgraduate Teaching Prize 2022

Click below to discover more about the winning entries.

Resource inequalities in tech-dependent teaching

Team members

Elise Plans and Daisy Henson, Department of Music

The team solved the problem of how to introduce students to music technology in a blended, unpredictable, large-class pedagogical context, whilst ensuring that no student had an intrinsic advantage. Working with Pure Data gives students a grounding in the principles of digital audio which allows them to understand the tools they work with in the rest of the degree.

The crucial innovation was in designing a system that would not penalise students with access issues and would also not force well-resourced, experienced students to work on less-capable platforms. Pure Data levelled the playing field without compromise.

Read the complete Teaching Prize entry here.


Be inspired by a range of case studies on teaching, learning, assessment and embedding technology in the curriculum from across the College by exploring the examples contained within each of the themes on the Teaching and Learning Space.