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Sussex lecturer wins prestigious national teaching award

A University of Sussex senior lecturer has been recognised nationally for her excellence in teaching and for inspiring others in her profession.

Dr Michelle Lefevre, Head of Social Work & Social Care in the School of Education and Social Work (ESW), is one of 55 university teachers nationwide to receive the prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) award this year.

Now in its 15th year, the NTFS celebrates outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education. Competition is fierce for the award, which is organised by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and funded by the three relevant funding councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dr Lefevre was appointed to Sussex in 2000 on the basis of her professional qualifications and substantial practice experience (as a social worker in child protection, as an expert witness and as an arts psychotherapist) to lead education for social work with children and their families in qualifying-level and continuing professional development (CPD) courses.

She has taught and convened courses across all academic levels (BA, MA, doctoral) and led the CPD portfolio at Sussex until 2012, developing courses for social work practitioners and managers in children’s services.

Dr Lefevre says: “Perhaps most important to me in the award is the recognition of the contribution I have been able to make to helping social workers learn how to communicate with the children and young people they encounter in their practice.

“This is such a challenging aspect of the professional role, as practitioners need to know how to engage, understand and help vulnerable, traumatised, angry and frightened children, often in the context of abuse and neglect.

“Building on my own practice experience and the research I have undertaken, I have been able to develop a framework to underpin teaching and learning for both qualifying-level students and those on continuing professional development courses.

The criteria used to select the NTFS winners included their ability to influence and inspire their students, to inspire their colleagues in teaching and to influence the teaching profession as a whole.

Dr Lefevre says: “At an individual level, my teaching has enabled students to develop their confidence and capability so that their practice has been transformed.

“More widely, my pedagogical research in this area has influenced the work of the Social Work Reform Board and the Chief Social Worker in their development of guidelines for social work education and practice.

“This award will enable me to carry the work forward, to help make a difference for social work with children.”

She will receive her NTFS award at a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral in October.

Dr Lefevre will also become a member of the Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF), which facilitates networking among Fellows and promotes innovative practice.

Professor Clare Mackie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), says: “I am very proud of Michelle’s achievement and happy that our School of Education and Social Work has been recognised for excellence in teaching.

“Michelle has made a considerable difference to teaching and learning at Sussex as well as being an important player on the national stage."

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Posted on behalf of: Social Work and Social Care
Last updated: Friday, 12 June 2015