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Sussex professor wins prestigious national teaching award

* 11 June 2003 *

Sussex professor wins prestigious national teaching award

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

Professor Imogen Taylor, head of the university's School of Social Work and Social Care, is one of 20 university teachers nationwide to receive the prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) award this year. She will be presented with a cheque for £50,000 at an award ceremony on July 15, 2003.

"I am really pleased, not just for myself, but for the benefits this will bring to the University of Sussex," says Professor Taylor. "I shall be using the money to develop our new degree programmes in social work in the university's new school, Sussex Institute."

The winners of the NTFS were selected from 81 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England and Northern Ireland. The criteria used to select both the nominees and winners included the nominees' ability to influence and inspire their students, to inspire their colleagues in teaching and to influence the teaching profession as a whole.

Professor Taylor, a former pupil of Lewes Grammar School, joined the University of Sussex in 2001. She had previously taught at the Universities of Bristol and Toronto, where she first developed an interest in teaching professionals. Her 1997 book, Developing Learning in Professional Education, challenged the assumption that professional and higher education were the same and explored more innovative approaches, such as problem-based learning. She argues that, instead of learning primarily through conventional seminars and lectures, students studying for professional degrees should start with case studies that present problems for them to solve, learning how to learn in a way that will continue to be useful in professional practice.

Professor Taylor plans to spend most of the award on developing interprofessional education at Sussex, "As the enquiry into the Climbie case showed, there are huge challenges in practice for professionals working collaboratively with other professionals. For example, in child protection, social workers must work with other professionals including health workers, police officers and teachers. They need to understand each other's working practices and each other's professional language." Interprofessional education can contribute to this.

In nominating Professor Taylor for the NTFS , Dr Mary Stuart, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, says: "Imogen Taylor has made a considerable difference to the climate for learning and teaching at Sussex as well as being an important player on the national and international stage."

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