Sunderland University lecturer honoured with Teaching Fellowship

Dr Diane Westwood of the University of Sunderland's applied sciences faculty.

Dr Diane Westwood of the University of Sunderland's applied sciences faculty.

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A Wearside lecturer has been honoured with a national prestigious Teaching Fellowship.

 Dr Diane Westwood, a lecturer at the University of Sunderland, is one of 55 people who have been announced as the fellows this year.

 Now in its 15th year, the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) recognises, rewards and celebrates individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession.

 Dr Westwood, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, said she was thrilled that her work has been chosen.

 She said: “I have sought inspiration for teaching in my own discipline, psychology, by looking to the arts and that has opened up a whole new world of possibility for me and my students.”

 In her work Diane has developed learning and assessment to encourage curiosity and creativity, drawing on her research on playfulness and taking inspiration from other disciplines, welcoming collaborative working between departments and faculties.

 She said: “I was inspired by working with colleagues and students in documentary film making and finding that many of their topics were similar to those we were teaching in psychology – topics such as attitude change and mental illness.

 “The reasons for using film-making are obviously very different between the two disciplines, but I was impressed by the power of film to engage both makers and audiences, this led me to digital storytelling.”

 Diane supports students to produce and share their digital stories, finding that for many this is a powerfully transformative new mode of expression.

 Interim vice-chancellor at the university, Shirley Atkinson, said: “Diane is a stimulating and adventurous teacher, her approach is really about exciting and liberating both students and tutors so that they can work together, as partners, in producing new knowledge.”

 The awards will be officially presented at a ceremony being held this autumn at Liverpool Cathedral.