Student awards celebrate teaching stars
Photo by Agnes Morgan Photography

Plymouth University students have paid tribute to those who have made their University experience ‘exceptional’ by holding a special awards ceremony on campus. 

Dozens, including the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Petts, attended the SSTAR (Student, Staff, Teaching and Representation) Awards last week, which recognise outstanding achievements in teaching and learning.

The evening recognised the contributions that both staff and students make to the student experience, and categories included Best Student-led Campaign, Exceptional Student School Representative, Outstanding Personal Tutor, and Best Placement Support. 

Organised by the University’s Students’ Union (UPSU) Student Voice Team, the awards were set up in 2011 and celebrate academics and students who have gone the extra mile to help students achieve their learning goals.

Among the winners on the night was Carole Stoddard, an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, whose use of playdough breasts in cellular science saw her scoop the award for Most Innovative Use of Teaching Methods.

Her nominator said: 

“She’s brought in playdough breasts and plastic knives so we can perform dissections on them and find the jelly bean ‘tumours’ of different types. This must have taken her ages to put together in her own time.”

Carole said: 

“I am deeply touched to receive this award. I'd like to thank all the students I have had the privilege to teach over the year for their commitment to class and the excitement they brought through collective engagement to bring these activities alive. I have also learned so much through them in regard to learning processes and their valuable feedback will continue to shape my teaching for years to come.”

Steph Wearne, UPSU Vice-President Education, said: 

“The idea behind the SSTAR Awards is to celebrate and reward some of the excellent University staff members and dedicated course and school reps we have here at Plymouth. It is a process that truly demonstrates the excellent relationships and respect that exists between staff and students here.
“We were so pleased to receive 941 nominations overall, which shows the real difference that students and academics make. The whole evening was fantastic and I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make it happen.”

Mel Joyner, Director of Student Services at Plymouth University, said: 

“The SSTAR Awards are a really special part of the University year, as they celebrate the positive impact that students and teaching academics have on each other’s’ lives. Receiving a nomination is hugely significant to the staff member or student involved and, believe me, just knowing that someone is grateful for your hard work is really moving."

For a full list of winners, visit the UPSU website