Leeds academic wins top prize as Most Innovative Teacher


Dr James Pickering of the University of Leeds has been named Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at this year's Times Higher Education Awards.

The awards ceremony, held last night (27 November 2014) at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London, recognised the pioneering research and high quality teaching in the higher education sector.   

Dr Pickering, a Lecturer in Anatomy in the School of Medicine, faced competition from five other finalists, including academics from Queen Mary University London, Roehampton, Stirling, King’s College London and Salford.  

The award, which is sponsored by The Higher Education Academy, recognised how his imagination and passion could transform a course and inspire his students.  

Dr Pickering’s use of technology to support his academic teaching both at Leeds and around the globe was a major factor in his success.  

He said: “I am delighted to have won this prestigious national award in recognition for my use of technology in supporting student education. 

“I have always had a passion for education and constantly strive to use technology to support my teaching. Whether it is YouTube, eBooks, iTunesU or MOOCs, students not only here at the University of Leeds but from around the world can now access learning resources to support their education.” 

Dr Pickering was the lead educator on one of the University’s first free online courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) Exploring Anatomy - The Human Abdomen which is available on the FutureLearn platform. The course, which integrated anatomy theory with practical research and clinical scenarios, saw more than 8,000 people sign-up and was very well received, with 99% of participants reporting that Dr Pickering was an engaging educator.  The three-week course runs again next year from 6 April 2015. 

Professor Trudie Roberts, Director of the Institute of Medical Education at the University of Leeds, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for James and highlights the commitment and passion he holds for teaching.  

“His hard work and determination to constantly enhance learning by using alternative teaching methods, including the use of digital platforms, gives our students an engaging and innovative learning experience.” 

The ceremony saw an array of awards presented, including Research Project of the Year, Outstanding Support for Students and Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year. 

The Recognising and Responding to Acute Patient Illness & Deterioration (RRAPID) programme, developed at the University’s Institute of Medical Education, was also shortlisted for the Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year award.

Further information
For interviews with Dr James Pickering please contact the University press office on 0113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

Photo caption: From the left, comedian Jack Dee, Dr James Pickering and Professor Stephanie Marshall Chief Executive at The Higher Education Academy