YouTube academic among new teaching fellows

A chemistry professor whose lessons have been viewed on YouTube by thousands of students across the world is one of this year’s winners of the Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowships.

June 27, 2013

David Smith, professor of chemistry at the University of York, whose YouTube channel ProfessorDaveatYork explains the role of organic chemistry in everyday life, is one of 55 higher education staff to be awarded the sector’s most prestigious teaching prize.

Other winners include Julie Hall, director of learning and teaching enhancement at the University of Roehampton and vice-chair of the Staff and Educational Development Association, which promotes good practice in higher education teaching.

The successful National Teaching Fellows were chosen from over 180 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Each will receive an award of £10,000 which will be used to support their professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.

Craig Mahoney, chief executive of the HEA, said: “Our students deserve the best possible learning experience and it is colleagues like those we celebrate today who can make a real difference to their futures.

“I congratulate all the successful fellows and wish them every success in their own learning and teaching experiences.”

Higher education staff from all university mission groups and all three participating countries of the UK – England, Northern Ireland and Wales – had been awarded fellowships, he added.

This year’s fellows include academics from a diverse discipline range – from chemical engineering and biosciences to nursing, theatre performance and psychology.

They also include librarians, and learning enhancement specialists who work across the disciplines to develop innovative approaches to learning and teaching.

“I am sure the new NTFs will be an inspiration to their peers,” Profesor Mahoney said.

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland and is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Here is one of Professor Smith’s most popular YouTube videos, about the organic chemistry of the former “legal-high” drug mephedrone:

The 55 National Teaching Fellows announced this year are:

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