Victory is tweet for the academy's hard-working but unsung heroes

Colleagues laud devotion to duty in our #loveHE competition to find sector stars. John Elmes writes

June 7, 2012

A tutor technician with an "outstanding" work ethic who has successfully bridged the gap between two key university roles has been named the winner of the Times Higher Education #loveHE Unsung Hero Twitter competition.

Jonathan Hunt, who works on the University for the Creative Arts' BA in animation, was described as a "can-do guy" whose "strength lies in his empathy for students and their learning. Nothing is too much trouble for [him]."

The competition was launched to allow members of the higher education sector to champion colleagues who may not always gain the recognition they deserve for their dedication and hard work.

Tim Savage, resource coordinator for media and communication at the university, nominated Mr Hunt, who he said had "pulled out all the stops" to meet the challenges of being a lecturer as well as a technician.

"If you're not careful you end up doing the worst of both. You're doing the donkey work of both and [getting] the glory of neither," Mr Savage observed. But Mr Hunt had "taken responsibility for his own learning...and grown beyond the role to the point where he's rewriting units, marking work, contributing to annual academic monitoring...and teaching at the leading edge of technology".

He added: "His work ethic is outstanding [and] the students love him because he works so hard with them.

"On the one hand Jon will be modifying units, learning outcomes...and on the other he'll be putting up a shelf somewhere or helping someone out with some real bread-and-butter stuff."

Mr Hunt - who, along with Mr Savage, has won a ticket to the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards on 21 June - said he was "hugely flattered" to have been nominated. "I was a bit emotional because I didn't see it coming at all," he added. "I'm hugely passionate about [what I do]. But the environment I am surrounded by is a real help as well."

Others nominated by colleagues included Ann Hubbard, administrator on the Third Sector Internships Scotland project, which aims to give students placements in charity and voluntary organisations. According to her colleague Fiona Boyle, she has "dealt with 3,000 student applications...and organised internship interviews all over Scotland".

Also lauded was John Hilsdon, head of learning development at Plymouth University, whose nominator Christine Keenan - chair of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education steering group - said: "John has been a source of encouragement for learning developers across the UK."

Atif Choudhury, who in 2009 co-founded Diversity and Ability - a social enterprise designed and led by dyslexic and disabled students, was nominated by colleague Adam Hyland for the way he has "changed the lives of many disabled learners in HE".

john.elmes@tsleducation.com.

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