Winners of the 2020 Education Awards announced

The awards were launched earlier this year to celebrate innovative approaches to teaching, and significant efforts taken by colleagues to further improve students' educational experiences.

The five winners spanned a wide range of activities from outreach and community engagement to undergraduate teaching and doctorial training.  They also reflected the breadth of Oxford’s educational offer – including computer science, medicine, classics and academic collections.

The entries were judged by a panel made up of senior academics and chaired by Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education).  The winners are listed below along with the lead on each project. There were a large number of colleagues involved in each of these initiatives – and a full list of individuals can be found on the awards website.

An Introduction to Computer Programming for Life Scientists

A course that gives life-science students an understanding of computer programming, the judges were impressed with the way that it broadened students' horizons and with the positive impacts on their studies.

Led by Dr Eoin Malins, IT Manager, Doctoral Training Centre

Classics in Communities

Promotes and encourages the teaching of Latin and Ancient Greek at primary and early secondary level in UK state schools. The panel commended this initiative for its positive impact and impressive collaboration between University colleagues and teachers in schools.

Led by Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, Research Fellow in Classics Education, Faculty of Classics

SmashMedicine and SmashInitiative

An evidence-based educational technology platform that aims to enhance the student experience by making learning fun. The judges commended the ambitious, international project, saying it has immense potential for extension across other knowledge-intensive subjects, such as engineering.

Led by Dr Benjamin Harris, Lecturer in Biochemistry and Medical Sciences, St Anne’s College

The Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a Truly Integrated Chemistry Practical Course for Undergraduates – the first in the World?

The three traditional branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic and physical) have generally been taught independently of each other. The team created a practical programme to strengthen the links between the branches, so that students experience multiple approaches to solving a particular problem. The panel were impressed by the originality of this course which has clear impact upon students’ learning and considerable potential to inform lab teaching in related disciplines.

Led by Dr Malcolm Stewart, Director of Teaching Laboratories, Department of Chemistry and Lecturer at St Hugh's College

Voices in the Gallery

Voices in the Gallery is a joint project with students from Oxford Spires Academy and the Ashmoleon Museum to explore new ways to share a range of voices and viewpoints about objects in the Ancient Near East. The resulting films explore how ancient objects have different meanings which resonate across time and place. The panel was impressed by the high quality outputs and the powerful use of learners and staff as co-creators, genuinely changing the way the museum’s objects are exhibited.

Led by Clare Cory, Learning Officer: Secondary & Young People, Ashmolean Museum


The winners of PGCert Prize were also announced today. The prizes are awarded to participants of the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PGCert) – a one-year, part-time programme for academic, teaching and research staff currently teaching at Oxford. Awards are issues to the participant in each cohort scoring the highest grade in their teaching portfolio. This year they are:

  • Dr Gemma Tidman, Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in French, St John's College
  • Dr Vicky Neale, Whitehead Lecturer at Oxford's Mathematical Institute and Supernumerary Fellow at Balliol College
  • Dr Lisa Mullen, Teaching Associate in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Film, now at the University of Cambridge

Professor Martin Williams said: 'It has been my great privilege to witness the work colleagues across Oxford are doing to push the boundaries of education. In my role, I see first-hand the positive impact that high quality educational initiatives have on our students, and I am pleased to be able to shine a light on the significant contributions to educational innovation and enhancement that these award-winners bring to the University.'

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, added: 'The University is recognised across the world for having the highest standards of education. This is thanks to the commitment of everyone involved in teaching and learning, and the dedication of countless colleagues who devote their time and energy to dynamic initiatives such as those recognised in these awards. I would like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in the successful projects on their contribution to furthering our academic mission.'

To find out more about the winners of the awards, please visit the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.