Sunderland lecturer set to get national honour

Diane Westwood.
Diane Westwood.
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Exciting and adventurous teaching has led to national recognition for a city lecturer.

Dr Diane Westwood, a principal lecturer in learning and teaching in the University of Sunderland’s department of psychology, has been announced as one of only 55 new National Teaching Fellows for 2015.

I was inspired by working with colleagues.

Diane Westwood

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 said: “At a Higher Education Academy event in Liverpool I became fully briefed, certificated and celebrated.

“Meeting the other 54 new fellows, hearing about their remarkable work and realizing that we all had the same questions, helped make the event lively, interactive, and highly collaborative.”

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

She added: “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 – 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.”

An NTFS spokesman said: “Dr Westwood should feel very proud that her outstanding teaching has been recognised at such a high level, the UK’s Higher Education sector widely recognises that an NTF award is a hard to attain mark of quality.”

Diane concluded: “Now that it has all been made real, I can start on my three-year plan – which will almost certainly involve digital storytelling – and probably Lego.”