Teaching Success for PhD Student Tom Watts

The School is proud to announce that PhD student Tom Watts has been awarded the Social Sciences Seminar Leader Teaching Prize 2017.

The University Teaching Prizes are awarded annually to recongise and reward outstanding achievement in relation to teaching. Individuals, or teams, are invited to apply for the awards and are required to provide evidence of their impact on students and/or colleagues. The quality of applications this year was particularly high, with the panel made up of colleagues across the University, commending the work of all the applicants which was above and beyond the standard requirements of the role.

Tom, a second year PhD student in International Relations and Graduate Teaching Assistant within the School, was awarded the Social Sciences Seminar Leader Teaching Prize for his use of innovative teaching techniques and range of effective engagement strategies, and the effort he makes to share teaching materials and practices to benefit and support colleagues. The panel also felt that Tom inspires and energises students and draws on expertise from other schools to give students different perspectives.

When asked what encourage him to apply for the prize Tom “My module convenor Dr Andrew Wroe was instrumental in my application for this prize. Not only has he been a constant source of advice and support, but gave me the space to try out innovative things in the seminars. Many of my fellow GTAs, past and present, also encouraged me to apply for this prize and I would like to say a big thank you to Eske Van-Gils, Camille Merlen and Rabekah Everett in particular”

Tom’s success follows on from the University’s recent Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), where “Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.”

On winning the prize Tom said “PO617 is different from many modules within the school in that it runs across the entire year. This gives us an opportunity to explore the U.S. political system in its entirety, from the constitutional design through to American foreign policy. There has arguably never been more important to study American politics. The last year has seen the unexpected election of Donald Trump, throwing into question many of the traditional assumptions that underpin the academic study of American politics. With Andy’s support, both myself and Rabekah Everett were able to design a range of different seminar exercises to help our students understand, discuss and debate what, for many, has been a generational defining event. Its fantastic that our collective efforts have been recognised”

The School certainly agrees with the Teaching Prizes panel, that Tom is a valuable and valued team member who engages in community building, and we are extremely proud of his success; congratulations Tom!