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Staff honoured by students in RUSU Gold Star Awards 2011

Gold Star Award winners

(From l-r) RUSU President Jess Lazarczyk, Chris Bacon, Viola Nzira, Dr Alan Howard, Dr Patricia Riddell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching) Rob Robson, Julie Cooper

'Congratulations to our winners who have worked tirelessly over the past year and made a huge contribution to so many students' Reading experience.' Jess Lazarczyk, RUSU President

Six members of University staff have been recognised in the RUSU Gold Star Awards 2011 for their outstanding contributions to teaching and learning.

A total of 365 nominations were received within a two week period, from students wanting to show their appreciation to those members of staff who have helped and inspired them throughout the year.

This year Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) took over the running of the ‘Student Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning' whereby University staff are nominated by students for an award. The initiative has been renamed as the RUSU Gold Star Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning.

Short listing and choosing of the winners (one member of staff from each faculty, and one member of support staff) was undertaken by the RUSU Student Officers and Faculty Reps. Many staff members had multiple nominations - some even with up to 19 separate students nominating them for an award. The winners were presented with their 'Gold Star' at a ceremony last week.

Congratulations to the six winners who are listed below, along with a selection of comments that were received from their student nominators...


Support Staff
Mr Chris Bacon, Department of Film, Theatre and Television

  • "He has not only guided me with certain aspects of my course but also inspired me as a film maker."
  • "His constant hard work and enthusiasm has meant all Film and Theatre students have always had someone there to help them whenever they need it."

Faculty Staff
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Dr Matthew Worley, Department of History 

  • "He makes the subjects that he teaches interesting and engages the group with humour and a good level of discussion."
  • "He is always willing to 'go the extra mile' for his students."

Faculty of Science
Dr Alan Howard, Department of Geography and Environmental Science 

  • "He makes lectures very up-to-date and includes lots of relevant information that is currently happening on the world."
  • "He provides drop-in sessions as well as online help forums which are really useful."

Faculty of Social Sciences
Ms Viola Nzira, School of Health and Social Care 

  • "Her enthusiasm, passion and patience are unmatched and she is always there when you need her help."
  • "She has an amazing ability to make even the most complicated piece of work sound straightforward."

Faculty of Life Sciences
Dr Patricia Riddell, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Science 

  • "A truly wonderful woman who has been supportive and exceptionally understanding during difficult problems regarding my dissertation."
  • "The advice she gave was invaluable and knowing that I had her support and encouraging words has made the year so much easier."

Henley Business School 
Mrs Julie Cooper, School of Management

  • "She explains complicated accounting concepts so that we grasp them and excel."
  • "Being completely new to accounting upon arrival at Reading, I have to say I have really learnt a lot through her and developed a real interest for the subject."

Jess Lazarczyk, RUSU President said: "All those involved in the process were delighted to see how many nominations had been received and to read how members of University staff at all levels have positively contributed to our students' university experience. It makes our job at RUSU much easier when students are being inspired by their teachers and enjoying their courses.

"RUSU would like to thank those students who took the time to make nominations, and congratulations to all of the winners. They have worked tirelessly over the past year and made a huge contribution to so many students' Reading experience."

Ms Viola Nzira, from the School of Health and Social Care said: "Receiving this award was so unexpected! I was genuinely moved when I read the students' comments. I just see it as doing my job, so to be recognised in this way is really special and I'm so grateful. It's such a positive end to the year." 

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