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Awards for teaching excellence

28 July 2011

Professor Chris WebsterProfessor Chris Webster

Two Cardiff University academics have received national recognition for their ‘outstanding impact on the student learning experience’.

Professor Chris Webster, School of City and Regional Planning, and Ms Julie Price, Cardiff Law School, have each been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in support of their innovative ways of teaching students and improving the student experience.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Professor Jonathan Osmond, said: "I was privileged to be part of the University’s selection process for nomination to the National Teaching Fellowship awards and I was struck by the strong commitment of staff to improving their students’ educational experience.

"Despite a strong and diverse field of nominees from across the University, we were unanimous in our selection of Chris Webster and Julie Price for their ability to demonstrate outstanding and transformative impact on their student’s experience.

"On behalf of the University, I offer our congratulations".

Passionate about teaching, Professor Webster leads the School of City and Regional Planning, which is recognised for the quality of its research and for its innovations in undergraduate, masters and postgraduate research teaching.

He has published over 150 scholarly papers on the idea of spontaneous urban order and has had over £10.5 million in grants for research and teaching and learning projects. Recent funded research includes two UK Department for International Development/ESRC funded projects on urban property rights and poverty in Chinese cities; and a National Institute for Health Research project looking at the relationship between alcohol outlet density, alcohol policy in city centres and alcohol-related morbidity.

As well as being an active researcher-teacher, Professor Webster has given leadership to the teaching and learning agenda of his subject area on a national and international stage. He has advised UNESCAP, UNESCO and UNDP on educational matters in human settlement planning and was the founding director of the HEA (formerly LTSN) subject centre for the built environment (CEBE) (2000-2011). He has organised and addressed numerous workshops and conferences on educational matters.

As Head of Pro Bono in Cardiff Law School, it is Julie Price’s job to create, develop and manage an evolving portfolio of extra-curricular skills and learning opportunities so students can experience law in action, and acquire and practise transferable skills to enhance their employability. With a background in practical vocational law teaching, Julie previously practised as a solicitor in family and property law.

Ms Julie PriceMs Julie Price

Adopting a philosophy of teaching as "learning by doing" students now work on real murder cases, challenging the NHS on behalf of dementia patients, and working on the frontline of asylum law. With one of the country’s few dedicated pro bono units, under her leadership this philosophy has become a vital component of Cardiff Law School, providing graduates with skills necessary for the workplace.

Julie has recently piloted new pro bono schemes, including a partnership with the charity Asylum Justice, where students train to advise asylum-seekers, and with the Personal Support Unit, where students volunteer at Cardiff’s Civil Justice Centre to assist litigants in person.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) said: "I am delighted to welcome our colleagues in Wales to the scheme this year and would like to congratulate all of the successful nominees.

"During my first year as Chief Executive at the HEA I have been privileged to meet many National Teaching Fellows across the country and have been inspired by their work and achievements. Their commitment and expertise are an inspiration to academics and students alike across the sector.

"The dedication of the new Fellows announced today is to be applauded and provides further evidence of the high quality innovative practices that students paying fees will increasingly expect to experience in higher education."

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is part of The Higher Education Academy’s programme to inspire and celebrate teacher excellence. It is funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England (HEFCE) and Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland (DELNI).

Along with the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, the HEA’s work in teacher excellence includes the accreditation of institutions’ professional development programmes (including Cardiff’s) and individual recognition for staff who meet the criteria of the UK Professional Standards Framework.

The new National Teaching Fellows will officially receive their awards at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 5 October 2011.

The Fellowships are awarded annually. If you are interested in submitting an application for 2012 please contact: Dr Nathan Roberts at