Lecturers praised for commitment to enhancing the student experience

  • Date

    Thu 20 Jul 17

Dr Leanne Hepburn

Two lecturers from the School of Biological Sciences have received Excellence in Teaching Awards during Graduation 2017.

Marine and ecological sciences senior lecturer Dr Leanne Hepburn was honoured for being a “real inspiration” who shows a firm commitment to enhancing the student experience.

Colleague Dr Radu Zabet, who has been a Lecturer at Essex since 2015, has been honoured for his impressive impact on the education offer within the School.

Dr Hepburn, who has worked at the University for 11 years, was described as being a thoughtful, reflective and student-focused practitioner who embeds employability into her programmes to address skills gaps.

Her teaching philosophy is to be creative and maintain student interest and motivation, and achieves this by engaging students in different styles of active learning methods via group discussions, problem-based learning, debates and using various types of assessment.

With a strong focus on employability, Dr Hepburn is keen to develop and deliver programs of study that respond to the changing needs of students and employers. Since, taking on the role of Course Director, she has significantly changed the curriculum for marine biology and biological sciences in line with student feedback and the employer skills gap.

Dr Leanne Hepburn
“I love teaching and deem it to have equal value alongside research - I am always looking for ways to improve the academic student experience and innovative teaching methods in the classroom and in the field.”
Dr Leanne Hepburn Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences

Dr Julie Lloyd, Director of Education at the School of Biological Sciences added: "Leanne is unquestionably an inspirational teacher, who challenges her students to develop their understanding of marine biology through engaging teaching materials and bringing in outside lecturers from relevant organisations with which she has established links."

Commenting on his award Dr Zabet said: "I am fully committed to sharing knowledge with others to build and motivate a new generation of individuals who are well prepared for both industry and academia. Nowadays, it becomes almost impossible to interpret biological data in general and genetics and genomics data in particular without the aid of computers. This award recognises of our efforts to equip the next generation of biologists with the much-needed computational skills."

Dr Lloyd added: "Radu has made a radical step change to education in the School of Biological Sciences by introducing the first module to teach programming skills to biological scientists. In doing this he has had to show insight into the challenges students will encounter, to ensure he develops teaching materials and approaches that will build confidence and support students entering ‘unknown territory’.

“As the student comments clearly show some have found new insights into their subject and even new motivation and interest in areas they had not previously known.”