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Psychology head receives national fellowship

An expert in removing psychological and emotional barriers to learning has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship.

Dr Sherria Hoskins

Dr Sherria Hoskins, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, is one of just 55 higher education staff nationally to receive the honour this year. The National Teaching Fellowship is the most prestigious award for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning.

Each Fellow will receive £10,000 towards their professional development in teaching and learning. Dr Hoskins plans to use the money to set up a centre for evidence-based education, to continue her work developing and evaluating ways to break down the psychological barriers that prevent many young people from applying to university.

The Fellows were chosen by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) from over 180 nominations from universities and higher education colleges across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Nominations had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.

Dr Hoskins said: “I couldn’t believe it. I am over the moon to be acknowledged alongside some of the people that I hold in such high esteem.”

Dr Hoskins was awarded a University Learning and Teaching Fellowship by the University of Portsmouth in 2004. Her work has focused on improving the learning experience for students.

She said: “I see teaching as the creation of an interactive community where you have to acknowledge the emotions of the learners. If you show them it’s okay not to understand something the first time, and that the understanding will come in time, it encourages them to remain open and enthusiastic and more likely to learn and understand what you are trying to teach them.”

She has worked to bring teaching and research together in her department. She said: “When you’re researching, that’s invigorating your teaching, and vice versa. Often the two are seen as separate, but I wanted to show how they could work together as one process, which I believe can benefit both learners and academics.”

Dr Hoskins was involved in the development and evaluation of the University’s process for student personal development planning, and she has evaluated University initiatives to raise higher education aspirations in school children.

Dr Hoskins is one of five members of staff at the University of Portsmouth to have received the Fellowship, including Dr Sara Holmes, Head of the University’s Dental Academy, who received a Fellowship last year for her strong vision and innovative approach to teaching and learning.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “The 55 new National Teaching Fellows announced today are all an inspiration to me. They have each made a significant impact on the teaching at their own institution, and many of them even further afield.

“Our students deserve the best possible learning experience and it is colleagues like those we celebrate today who can make a real difference to their futures.”

The new National Teaching Fellows will attend an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday 9 October 2013, where they will be presented with a certificate.

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

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  1. Great news 🙂

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