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Professor Melanie Giles, Head of School of Psychology at Ulster University, has been named as a 2018 National Teaching Fellow.

The National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in Higher Education. Fifty-four new National Teaching Fellows were announced by Advance HE, alongside the fifteen winning teams in the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

Melanie is a Professor of Psychology and Head of School at Ulster University with over 26 years’ experience of teaching in Higher Education, and has introduced a variety of interactive pedagogic approaches with a particular focus on peer mentoring.

Melanie has transformed the delivery of her own teaching by adopting the SCALE-UP (Student-Centred Active Learning Environments for Undergraduate Students) approach which involves activity-based instruction in place of the traditional lecture format. In 2010, she introduced the PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) peer-mentoring programme to Ulster. Recognising the benefits of peer-mentoring, she has adapted the scheme in a number of significant ways. For example, she has developed several programmes of activity to assist in graduate skill development and has worked in partnership with her students to develop a range of learning resources. The decision to expand the scheme across Ulster to support the widening access agenda reinforces the success of Melanie’s innovations.

Recognising that the absence of a consistent approach to evaluation is preventing the introduction of new peer mentoring programmes and the development of existing ones, Professor Melanie Giles commented:

“I will continue to use my networks to steer the research and evaluation agenda at a national level. As a founding member and Chair of the Research and Evaluation Special Interest Group of the International Academic Peer Learning Network (IAPL), we are striving to share good practice across institutions and create a research culture in the context of peer learning.”

Professor Paul Bartholomew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), adds:

“It is a great honour for Ulster to have Professor Giles named as a 2018 National Teaching Fellow. Engaging students through partnership is critical to Melanie’s teaching philosophy, and her strong desire to actively engage and support students has transformed the delivery of our curriculum.”

Alison Johns, Advance HE’s Chief Executive, said:

“The award of a National Teaching Fellowship is an outstanding achievement and I know that the whole sector will join me in congratulating the 54 new NTFs as well as the CATE winners.”

“Advance HE is very proud to run these awards on behalf of the sector. A key part of our role in this programme is to work with both NTFs and CATE winners to show-case their work so that others can learn and benefit from their success.”

The NTF and CATE schemes are open to all higher education providers in the UK and there are now more than 860 NTFs. The schemes are open to all staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience, and institutions may nominate up to three individuals per annum.  The NTF and CATE schemes will run again in 2019.