Inverness College UHI staff and students recognised in annual Highlands and Islands Students’ Association Awards
FIFTEEN members of staff and five students from Inverness College UHI have been recognised in regional awards run by the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA).
The HISA Awards recognise the people who inspire and make studying with the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership a special, diverse and inclusive experience for all. This year, over 600 nominations were received across the partnership, with submissions praising staff and students for their support, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HISA Awards allow students to nominate staff and students in various different categories, with entries judged by a panel consisting of staff, students, and student officers from across the university partnership.
Inverness College UHI student Amani Hayat, who studies Oral Health Science, was named Best Class Representative in the HISA Awards, with four other Inverness students Highly Commended. Class representatives help their classmates share their views on their student experience so continuous improvements can be made.
Staff members were Highly Commended in a range of categories including Administration and IT lecturer Heather Buchannan, who received three commendations. Childcare lecturer Julie Jones and History lecturer Tracey Kennedy also received two commendations each.
Florence Jansen, HISA President, said: “The HISA Awards are an opportunity for us to celebrate the staff and students that have gone above and beyond across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership. This year we have encountered new challenges and it has been truly incredible to see HISA record over 600 nominations for the Awards. The HISA team and I could not be prouder of what our staff and students have accomplished this year and we hope that the Awards show our appreciation of the amazing work going on behind the scenes every day. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our winners, but also every staff member and student that has been nominated or highly commended.”
Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal and Chief Executive of Inverness College UHI, said: “More than 35% of the nominations this year came from Inverness College UHI students, which is really testament to the fantastic work staff have been doing to inspire and support students during this challenging period. The comments from students mean so much to all our staff, who are committed to providing the very best experience, even in the most difficult of circumstances, and continue to go above and beyond to help our students enjoy their time with us and succeed.”
Dr Iain Morrison, Dean of Students at the University of the Highlands and Islands, added: “It is hard to think of a more challenging context for the HISA Awards than what we have all been through this year. Despite the changes necessitated by the pandemic, the staff and students at this university have been magnificent in the way they have remained focused on supporting each other, adapting to changes in delivery and continuing to provide a top-quality education. The student comments are genuinely moving in what they say about the contributions of nominees to their wellbeing and success, and provide powerful testimony to what makes this university special: our remarkable staff and students.”
Inverness College UHI winners and highly commended awards:
- Amani Hayat, Oral Health Science student, Winner – ‘Best Class Representative’. One student commented: “Amani has taken a very active role in ensuring all of the students’ voices are heard. She has been an absolute gem of a class rep.”
- Julie Jones, Childcare lecturer, Highly Commended – ‘Above and Beyond Award – Staff’ and ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer.’ One student commented: “She has been a ‘rock’ throughout this past year. She doesn’t just support students academically; she deeply considers every aspect of a student as an individual. She’s kind and inspiring and always goes above and beyond. I could not have done it without her.” Another added: “She is a very engaging lecturer, always providing online catch ups and round up videos. She is excellent at explaining things and very welcoming.”
- Elizabeth Allen, Beauty Therapy lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Above and Beyond Award – Staff.’ One student commented: “She went above and beyond filming reflexology videos and downloading them in her own time just so we could see the movements and get practice in when we were learning from home. She is always lovely to talk to and she gives excellent constructive feedback and really goes out of her way to be approachable and fair and engaging.”
- Stephanie Smart, Acting and Performance lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Above and Beyond Award – Staff’. One student commented: “I could always rely on her to be there for me to help in whichever way she could, not just because it was her job as a lecturer to get her students through, but because she cared as a person. I cannot overstate the difference this has made for me. She is the kind of lecturer you won't forget about; the kind that helps you develop and grow and become the best possible version of yourself.”
- Viv Mackie, a Social Sciences student, Highly Commended ‘Above and Beyond Award – Student.’ One student commented: “She helped me feel less isolated as sometimes it was a struggle being online. She set up a study group which really helped me through each semester. Viv truly puts others before herself.”
- Connor McKee, Psychology student, Highly Commended ‘Above and Beyond Award – Student.’ One student commented: "At every turn he has been there for me to help with every question, thought, worry, and confusion.”
- Heather Buchannan, Business, Accounting and Administration lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Best Assessment Feedback,’ ‘Most Engaging Video Conference Lecturer’ and ‘Most Inspiring Lecturer.’ One student commented: “Heather is a lively and engaging lecturer. I was a student with very little knowledge about IT applications prior to joining her class and she never once made me feel like this would be an issue. She made me feel like I could do everything required and she supported and encouraged me every step of the way.” Another student commented: “She is the type who challenges you to become your very best while also being ready to support and guide you to achieve exactly that. Every new hurdle was met with utter confidence from her that I could do it and through that, I believed more in myself and succeeded. Another student added: “Heather has been a great lecturer this year and her YouTube videos have been amazing! She has appreciated the workload that everyone has had and is always very understanding. Heather is an amazing person, very patient, can deliver the knowledge to the students in many ways.”
- Mandy Haggith, Creative Writing lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Best Assessment Feedback.’ One student commented: “I’ve been struggling to incorporate theory into essays for a while now and Mandy gave me some pointers in the feedback for my first assessment. I incorporated this into my next essay and my grade improved by 15%.”
- Tim Meredith, Business and Accounting lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Best Assessment Feedback.’ One student commented: “He displays an interest in new opinions, teaches without judgement, offers the valuable feedback in a manner that was both personal and professional.”
- Andrew Duncan, Mathematics and Data Science lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Best Assessment Feedback.’ One student commented: “His feedback was always so detailed, positive, informative and constructive. Andrew took time to read and comment on everything I wrote in my code. I felt like he really tried to understand how I did things rather than looking for me to do it the same way as he had shown.”
- Rozaliya Markova, a History student, Highly Commended ‘Best Class Representative.’ One student commented: “She deserves recognition for her role in the history reading weekend, an informative and fun set of activities trying to bring history students together during a time when they couldn’t meet up in person.”
- Donna Wrightson, Personal Development Advisor, Highly Commended ‘Best Personal Academic/Learning Support.’ One student commented: “Nothing is too much trouble. She genuinely cares about the students. She has been like a mother duck, keeping us in line, making sure we are all on the right path best for us. She always lets us know how well we are doing and how proud of us she is, and if we need to talk, she is just a call away and she will always make time. She is always there to give us a virtual pat on the back when we really do need it.”
- Kathleen Murray, Education lecturer and Personal Academic Tutor, Highly Commended ‘Best Personal Academic/Learning Support.’ One student commented: “Whenever I was ready to give up she was always there to reassure me that things would be okay and that I’d get through it, she has been one of the people that have enabled me to finish my degree despite the countless times I felt like giving up!”
- Tracy Kennedy, History lecturer and Personal Academic Tutor, Highly Commended ‘Best Personal Academic/Learning Support’ and ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer’. One student commented: “She went above and beyond to help me through my studies this year. Always replying to my emails, sorting out an extra laptop for me while my kids were home schooling during lockdown, always giving out advice and extra support when I was struggling to continue with my studies while teaching my kids from home, and always making her classes fun and engaging.” Another wrote: “Her continuous love of history is inspiring. She manages to breakdown learning to a personal level even through lockdown conditions. She has helped develop my own personal lobe of History to the point that I will be taking Scottish history at degree level in September."
- Miles Fuller, Supported Education lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer.’ One student commented: “He has managed to take a class of 'not particularly' tech savvy Community Link students and not only persuaded them to go online, but to use the range of software - not easy for a class wide a wide range of mental health issues.” Another said: “He went above and beyond continually adapting and changing the class to improve the learning experience as we went along.”
- Kath MacLennan, Administration and IT lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer.’ One student commented: “Her calm and pleasant manner completely removes the stress of even the most in-depth and intensive tasks and should you still have questions, she's right there for you. Learning with Kath feels like she always has your back.”
- Anthony Luke, Science lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer.’ One student commented: “He is kind and thoughtful but mostly because he has a way of projecting his knowledge to us that is so grasping. He inspires us to be greater because we see how contributions to science are greatly needed and supported. He truly deserves this because he is a lovely man who is the best at what he does!”
- Heather Corpe, Care, Health and Wellbeing lecturer, Highly Commended ‘Most Engaging Online Lecturer.’ One student commented: “She manages to make the classes engaging, is super supportive and genuinely interested in how we were doing.”
- Rosemary Newman, Supported Education and Art lecturer, Highly Commended, ‘Most Inspiring Lecturer.’ One student commented: “I have learnt so much from Rosie and have gone on to have the motivation and self-belief to try things I wouldn't have done previously.”
- Tracy Anderson, Education Support Adviser, Highly Commended, ‘Best Support Staff (Non Teaching)’. One student commented: “She has helped me with my confidence and has been able to keep me motivated during the hardest of times. She has provided so much support with my assessments and been there for me no matter how small or big the problem is.”
- Hazel Urquhart, Creative Writing student, Highly Commended ‘Most Inspiring Student – The Students’ Choice.’ One student commented: “She has been a constant source of inspiration, friendship, guidance, drive, and encouragement during this time.”
- Susannah Harvey, Psychology student, Highly Commended ‘Most Inspiring Student – The Students’ Choice.’ One student commented: “She is on a constant journey for never ending self improvement and shines a light for the way forward. She is committed to her goals and it shows me that I am not daft to not give up on mine.”
- Victor Kolba, Science student, Highly Commended ‘Most Inspiring Student – The Students’ Choice.’ One student commented: “He is so hard working, open and honest. I was also impressed by the way Viktor - when faced with a difficult situation - picked himself up and moved forward in a positive manner. Viktor is always willing to help and was a valued member of my college experience.”
For the full list of winners, visit https://www.hisa.uhi.ac.uk/hisa-awards