Two University of Sunderland academics have achieved the UK’s most prestigious award for teaching and learning excellence.

Dr Adelle Hulsmeier and Dr Shelia Quaid are among this year’s 56 new National Teaching Fellows, announced by Advance HE, on what is the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTF).

The scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.

Advance HE say this year’s award winners demonstrated a particular drive in championing equality, diversity and inclusivity within approaches to curriculum design, teaching delivery and collaborative working.

Dr Adelle Hulsmeier, a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Performing Arts and Programme Leader for Screen Performance, manages the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries’ collaboration with Northumbria Police (a successful seven-year film project) and leads an academic partnership with Live Theatre, Newcastle; extending the reach of HE beyond the parameters of a classroom environment.

Reacting to her award, she said: “I was really shocked and incredibly humbled that my work has been recognised in this way. The work with Northumbria Police particularly means an awful lot to me. The possibility to make a difference drives my work. The opportunity to combine social change with student experience and employability within the curriculum has always been at the heart of what I strive to achieve.

“Moving forward, this win will hopefully open more opportunities to embed the expertise (developed throughout the eight-year nurtured relationship with Northumbria Police) to more areas, forces and disciplines in order to continue to make impact and opportunity for the students, the university and my own practice.”

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Dr Sheila Quaid’s sociological teaching has led to a unique and portable methodology for creating powerful learning spaces with innovative and interdisciplinary professional practice.

Dr Quaid said: “I am beyond delighted to be named as a National Teaching Fellow. Receiving this award for teaching excellence and joining a pedagogical community of ANTF’s, for whom I have the highest respect, means the world to me.

“I want to use this recognition to play an ongoing role in benefitting students and colleagues through curriculum development, innovative techniques for transformative education and to deliver the highest quality learning experience within the university and beyond.

“I want to work with others and creatively diversify teaching methods. I am particularly pleased to be named NTF during the 20-year anniversary of the scheme and look forward to my continued learning and reflection.”

Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive commented; “I offer my warmest congratulations to Adelle and Sheila for being recognised as National Teaching Fellows. This is richly deserved as both of them are leaders in the field when it comes to innovative and compelling approaches to teaching and learning.

“Our students are very fortunate indeed to have such expert teachers assisting them in their learning.”

Advanced HE also announced this year’s 15 winning teams of its Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) awards, which Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries has picked up three times in previous years. This award recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning, highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education.

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, said: “I am sure I am joined by the entire sector in congratulating the 2020 NTFS and CATE awardees. All of the winners should be extremely proud of their achievement of what are prestigious, national teaching awards. Their work epitomises the outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector, which this year has been more demanding than ever before. Well done to each and every one of them.

“On the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, we really wanted to celebrate the diversity of the outstanding individuals teaching or supporting teaching, and focused on applicants’ impact on EDI issues in the Awards process. We will continue this focus in the years to come as we ensure that the awards reflect the diversity of academics and teachers across the sector.”