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The University of Southampton

National Teaching Fellows reflect excellence in education and the student experience

Published: 5 August 2019
Sally Curtis and Scott Border
Professor Sally Curtis and Dr Scott Border have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships.

The University of Southampton is proud to announce that two of its exceptional educators - Professor Sally Curtis and Dr Scott Border - have been awarded UK National Teaching Fellowships.

The scheme, organised and run by Advance HE, recognises the significant contribution and commitment of Professor Curtis and Dr Border, both from the Faculty of Medicine, in making an outstanding impact on student outcomes, and the teaching profession in higher education.

Professor Curtis and Dr Border join an excellent group of colleagues at Southampton who have also received National Teaching Fellowships, including Simon Kemp (Geography and Environmental Science), Judith Holloway (Medicine), James Wilson (Health Sciences), David Read (Chemistry) and Mike Wald (Electronics and Computer Science).

Professor Curtis is a passionate and committed advocate of widening participation for students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine. Having come from a widening participation (WP) background herself, Professor Curtis leads a 6-year WP medical degree programme at Southampton.

She influences national policy and national guidance for medical schools through her close working relationship with other Universities and the Medical Schools Council, the representative body for UK medical schools, to enrich the learning environment and provide tailored support for students and staff working in this field.

Professor Curtis has also designed and delivered successful outreach schemes for the University and nationally, increasing accessibility and enthusiasm for science, health and higher education for pupils from underperforming schools.

“I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award,” Professor Curtis enthused. “I am aware of the excellent work that’s already been recognised within the University and very inspired by my colleagues who had previously achieved the award.

“Our students are without doubt our best asset and it is essential we continue to support them access, participate and thrive in Higher Education. Welcoming students from diverse backgrounds, including those who have not had the opportunity to realise their academic potential, enriches the learning environment for all. I have learned so much from my students and I am very lucky to be able to support them on their journey to becoming doctors, who will in turn support our students of the future”.

Professor Alex Neill, Vice-President (Education) at the University of Southampton said: “Sally is an excellent role model, and works tirelessly to develop a genuinely transformative learning experience for students both at Southampton and beyond. Her work has driven a development of our understanding of the types of interventions that are necessary to effect successful widening of access and achievement through the use of contextual admissions and the creation of learning environments in which all students - including those from traditionally under-represented backgrounds - are supported to achieve their potential.”

As a scientist and educator in neuroanatomy, Dr Border has revolutionised and transformed the educational landscape of this discipline by partnering with his students to empower them to co-create and become agents of change in their education through his pioneering approaches.

His aim is to alleviate the anxiety associated with studying this difficult subject, and to give neuro-enthusiasts opportunities to develop skills and prepare them for the competitiveness of speciality training.

“Students struggle with neuroscience and fear having to deal with neurological conditions (neurophobia),” said Dr Border. “This is a critical area of medical education with far-reaching benefits to society but If we can equip students with the knowledge and skills early in their training, we can help improve lives.

“This National Teaching Fellowship means absolutely everything to me,” Dr Border enthused. “I’ve always looked up to my friends and colleagues who have been awarded this; it’s such a privilege to even be put forward by the University, let alone actually win.

“My inspiration comes from working with students in a different way,” he continued. “We’re used to typical relationships with students where we supervise and mentor them for a long period of time but I take it to a slightly different level, working with them in true partnership where I share all of the outcomes, the rewards, and take them on the entire journey so they are as much an owner of my projects as I am.”

Professor Alex Neill added: “Scott has successfully developed an internationally renowned centre of excellence for clinical neuroanatomy education and has succeeded in enriching the experience that our students have of learning the discipline at all stages of training. With his infectious ‘can-do attitude’ and passion for working in partnership with students, and his commitment to driving excellence in learning and teaching, Scott is playing a key role in raising the standard of neuroanatomy education.”


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