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University of East London academics recognised by Advance HE for outstanding teaching

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Pair awarded status of National Teaching Fellows

Two University of East London academics have been awarded the status of National Teaching Fellows by Advance HE, an organisation which promotes excellence in higher education.

Mr Earle Abrahamson, course leader in sports therapy, and Mr Michael Cole, senior lecturer in health, sport and bioscience, have been recognised in this year’s Teaching Excellence Awards for outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector.

The fellowship scheme, which is now in its 20th year, celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education. The 2020 awards come at a time of upheaval and unexpected challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the University of East London, like other higher education institutions, had to quickly move teaching online and student support became more important than ever.

Earle Abrahamson

Mr Abrahamson, pictured right, was recognised for his innovative and student-centred SMILES mentoring project, which enables the co-creation of communities of practice for learning. In 2019, he was one of nine academics from around the world to receive a fellowship of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 

He said, “I was ecstatic to receive notification that my application was successful. Being recognised and valued for the work I do and realising my influence on others has provided me with renewed optimism in driving forward the teaching and learning agenda. 

“I plan to use this award to continue my teaching and learning activities at the University and beyond.”

Michael Cole

Mr Cole, pictured left, believes he was recognised for his sustained innovation and impact, spanning technology-enhanced learning, inclusive teaching and anti-racist praxis in higher education sport and healthcare. He also designed and led BSc Sports Therapy course (2013-18) bringing the course to international renown.

He said, “This award means a great deal to me, because it recognises my commitment to, and impact upon, students, peers and the wider, national community of lecturers in higher education.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with the Association of National Teaching Fellows, and also to being available to colleagues at UEL for advice and support, particularly those who experience marginalisation.”

Vision 2028

Advance HE named 56 new fellows this year. Judges especially highlighted the impact made by the winners in championing equality, diversity and inclusivity within approaches to curriculum design, teaching delivery and collaborative working. More than 900 fellows have been created since 2000.

Professor Charles Egbu, pro-vice chancellor (education and experience) said, “We’re delighted and proud that Mr Abrahamson and Mr Cole have been made National Teaching Fellows. This is testament to their commitment to their profession and their students.

“As part of the University’s Vision 2028 strategy, we are determined to ensure that our teaching makes an enduring and positive impact on the life chances of our students and these prestigious accolades are further proof that our staff share and enact that belief.”

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, said, “All of the winners should be extremely proud of their achievements. Their work epitomises the outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector, which this year has been more demanding than ever before. Well done to each and every one of them.”