'I get ideas from students - They're not just recipients of my wisdom'

May 18, 2007

The law teacher of the year was inspired by her own undergraduate experience to enter academe and teach.

Sandra Frisby, lecturer in company and commercial law at Nottingham University, has been named law teacher of the year by the Association of Law Teachers.

The award, sponsored by Oxford University Press, follows a competition at the ALT's annual conference at Plymouth University. "I'll be quite honest, I didn't think I was in with a hope," Dr Frisby said. "The other teachers shortlisted were so good, I'm still surprised now."

She said she had been inspired to become an academic because of the quality of teaching when she was a law undergraduate at Nottingham. "It was absolutely inspiring. If it had just been straightforward - 'this is what you need to get a 2:1' - I would probably have drifted into practice.

Within three months, I was so enchanted by the process of learning law I thought: I don't really want to stop." She took her PhD at Nottingham before becoming a lecturer seven years ago.

Dr Frisby said the award was as much an endorsement of Nottingham law school as of her individual work. The school gave equal emphasis to research and teaching, and staff discussed teaching techniques.

"I do tend not to think of students as students. I get as many ideas from them as they get from me - they're not just the recipients of my wisdom."

She says her research area, corporate insolvency, "is a very technical area but with really strong policy underpinning it. You can have stand-up arguments in class about it. I can have a student telling me I'm completely wrong, and I really enjoy that."

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