A number of staff members who recently received UAL Teaching Awards have attended Graduation and celebrated their achievements. Among them was Elizabeth Staddon, Head of Arts Education at the Exchange. The UAL Teaching Award, run by UAL’s Student Union, allows students to nominate staff who have demonstrated excellence in their teaching. Elizabeth teaches on our MA Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication.
Her students’ comments included:
Elizabeth was right there with us through our course. She was genuinely interested in all our projects, and shared our many trials and triumphs as we stumbled our way through the difficult MA dissertation process. As a tutor she manages to strike the perfect (difficult to pull off) balance between support and challenge. She is a fount of pedagogic knowledge, but wears it lightly, as if to reassure the learners that we are all in this together. It truly felt like we were! Beyond that, she is an inspirational female teaching role model – one of the very few people in UAL with whom I am able to share the tedious but very real struggles of managing family, study, research and work. Those snatches of conversation may seem trivial to others, but they are actually a lifeline. If Elizabeth can do it, so can I!
Elizabeth runs the Dissertation unit on the MA. In tutoring our cohort through it last year she created a safe space for the discussion and development of our ideas, allowing us to share our knowledge and research journeys. This was one of the most important aspects of the process for me; and I would speak for my peers here too. Elizabeth was interested in each of our projects: listening, encouraging, questioning, challenging – and even bringing us texts she thought would inspire. Aside from the supportive group seminars she established, she was always willing to meet us to discuss any problems we might be having with our research, so that we felt fundamentally supported. It seemed that she was genuinely interested in what we were doing; and made us feel that it was worthwhile. This attitude to learning and teaching is one which others would seek to model. Elizabeth embodies the qualities I admire, and it was a privilege to spend time under her supervision.
We caught up with Elizabeth to find out how she felt about the award. She said:
It is an absolute privilege to be recognised as a teacher at UAL and I am touched that students have taken the time to express their gratitude. I don’t think we teach for the praise, but it really is lovely when we get it!
Two very talented students, Chin Chin Lam and Kajsa Lilja, from LCC BA Spatial Design created the Teaching Award trophies. They filmed a video showing the design and making of the trophies.
To find out more about staff who received awards in 2015-16, visit the SU website.