Inverness College UHI staff recognised in regional student awards

Inverness College UHI staff and students have been recognised in the annual Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) Awards following a record number of nominations for the College.

The HISA Awards give students the chance to thank the academic staff, support staff and students who have inspired and supported them throughout the year. The annual awards are judged by a student panel and winners are selected on the quality of the nomination.

HISA represents more than 37,000 students across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions.

Of the 14 awards up for grabs, Inverness College UHI staff took five, with two students also winning awards. And of the 900-plus nominations received across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership, more than half came from Inverness College UHI students, with local nominations up more than 40% on last year.

 The Inverness College UHI winners are:

  • Most Engaging Online Tutor Award and Best Assessment Feedback Award - Stephen Duncan, Inverness College UHI

Computing lecturer Stephen Duncan, from Alness, was a double winner, receiving the award for Most Engaging Online Tutor and Best Assessment Feedback. Students described him as a “truly inspiring” and “passionate” lecturer who goes above and beyond to help his students. One student wrote: “His ability to engage students and pass this knowledge on to them is extraordinary.” While another wrote: “He clearly wants to do everything in his power to help students.”

Speaking about his award, Stephen said: “I absolutely love my job and find it incredibly rewarding, so to win two awards from students is truly humbling, I feel ecstatic.”

  • Most Inspiring Lecturer - Ian Blyth, Inverness College UHI

Ian Blyth, programme leader for the University’s BA (Hons) Literature degree, was named Most Inspiring Lecturer for his ability to recognise the potential in people and his engaging, caring approach to teaching. One student wrote: “His support and encouragement are the definition of above and beyond.” While another wrote: “He is always fighting for us, always available and concerned with the wellbeing (both physical and mental) of his students.”

  •  Most Engaging VC Tutor - Nikki Perrin, Inverness College UHI

Nikki Perrin, a psychology lecturer, from Dores, was named Most Engaging VC Tutor for her “brilliant” online video conferencing sessions. One student wrote: “Right from the start she made me feel comfortable and confident in my abilities.” Another said: She is so caring about people, always so helpful and understanding.”

  • Above and Beyond (Staff) - Alan MacLeod, Inverness College UHI

Former RAF serviceman Alan MacLeod, from Inverness, is the College’s cultural and creative industries technician. He picked up the ‘Above and Beyond – Staff Award’ in recognition of his support for students.  One wrote: “He is always in our corner.” While another said: “I cannot remember a time where he failed to support us with his ideas, he always goes the extra mile.”

In addition, 29 members of staff were highly commended.

Meanwhile, two Inverness College UHI students also picked up awards – HND Contemporary Art Practice student Julie Williams won the ‘Above and Beyond - Student Award’ in recognition of her support for fellow students, while Jack Reid, an MRes in Creative Practice student, won ‘Most Inspiring Student Award’ for his work in the creative industries.

Flo Jansen, HISA President, said: “The HISA awards are a fantastic way to showcase the amazing work of our staff and students across the university partnership. This year we have encountered new challenges and it has been truly incredible to see a record number of award nominations despite the external factors we are facing. We hope that the awards show our appreciation of the amazing work going on behind the scenes every day, we’re so grateful to be able to celebrate these successes.”

Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal of Inverness College UHI, added: “The record number of nominations for the awards this year really is testament to the fantastic work our staff have been doing to support our students through this very difficult period. As well as providing real-time support, staff have been building on our experience of delivering teaching remotely via blended learning to enhance the student experience and build the confidence of our students during this period of home study. These awards are particularly special because the nominations have come from the students themselves. Some of the student comments are truly humbling.”

Dr Iain Morrison, Dean of Students at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “The nomination period for these awards coincided with lockdown, with all the disruption to normal operations that entailed. Some of the student comments were profoundly moving and mean so much to all those who were nominated. Our staff have been quite incredible during this time and the fact that a record number of students took the opportunity to voice their appreciation for their hard work, commitment and care is powerful testimony to the core strength of this university: our people.”

 The full list of 2020 winners are:

  • Best Personal Academic Tutor/ Learning Support - Rachel Erskine, Lews Castle College UHI
  • Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor - Antonia Pritchard, Centre for Health Science
  • Best Support Staff - Kathryn Sclater, Orkney College UHI
  • Best Class Representative - Pamela Kennedy, Highland Theological College UHI
  • HISA Society of the Year - Perth Archaeology and History Society, Perth College UHI
  • HISA Sports Club of the Year - Wind and Wave Club, SAMS UHI
  • HISA Hidden Heroes - Caroline Hepburn, NAFC Marine Centre UHI
  • Most Inspiring Lecturer - Ian Blyth, Inverness College UHI
  • Most Engaging video conference tutor - Nikki Perrin, Inverness College UHI
  • Most Engaging Online Tutor - Stephen Duncan, Inverness College UHI
  • Best Assessment Feedback - Stephen Duncan, Inverness College UHI
  • Above and Beyond (Student) - Julie Williams, Inverness College UHI
  • Above and Beyond (Staff) - Alan MacLeod, Inverness College UHI
  • Most Inspiring Student - Jack Reid, Inverness College UHI


For more information, please contact Helen Aird, Marketing and PR Officer, Inverness College UHI at or telephone 01463 273315/07584616252.