Tourism and Hospitality students celebrate teaching stars

Each year UPSU holds the prestigious SSTAR (Student Staff Teaching and Representation) Awards.These awards recognise the many excellent University staff members and dedicated students we have here at the University of Plymouth.

Launched in 2011, the awards have grown year on year and are now a hugely celebrated and special event for staff and students at Plymouth. They are an opportunity for us to say thank you to lecturers, support staff and students for all their hard work and support, whilst highlighting exactly what students think good teaching and support is.

Every year staff and students are nominated in a range of categories, from most inspirational teaching to best use of technology. 

This year the awards were held on 26 April 2018 and a number of staff from within the Department of Tourism and Hospitality received nominations themselves. Discover below what students had to say about our teaching staff.

Most dedicated dissertation/project supervisor

Natalie Semley – shortlisted in this category

"From even before I was allocated Natalie as my dissertation supervisor she was happy to meet with me and discuss potential honours project ideas. She has been a continued support throughout and, on the day of being told our supervisors, she sent an email to all of her students introducing herself and the first steps that we should be taking towards getting our first hand in done on time. I was completely lost with my ideas however Natalie was more than happy to sit down with me and talk them all through and again the following week when I was still confused. She has continually been there through each of the stages in research and has helped me develop my idea into something which I am extremely passionate about. There are no silly questions with her and her patience has been a life saver for me when I have been stressed beyond knowing. Even a quick email late at night gets a response too and I know that if I needed to meet up for any reason she would be there. From developing my first idea to having half my work done and seeing it all come together she has been nothing but supportive and pushing me the extra step each time in order for me to achieve my absolute best. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me! Natalie is an extremely worthy nomination of the 'Most dedicated dissertation' for all of the reasons listed! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Sheela Agarwal

"I honestly couldn't wish for a better dissertation supervisor. Sheela has gone above and beyond in supporting me throughout the year and has helped me to keep focused in times I would normally panic. I can't thank Sheela enough for everything she has done for me. Despite her busy schedule and all the other responsibilities she holds she never fails to meet me when I ask, respond to my emails quicker than anyone else would and always calming me down when I get in a panic. I have never met anyone so dedicated to their students and I know her other dissertation students would 100 per cent agree. I would like to nominate Sheela for this award as no thank you will ever compare to what she does for us."

Nigel Jackson

"I feel that Nigel has been an amazing dissertation tutor going above and beyond to always answer any questions or concerns I may have. He answers his emails quickly with an in depth response even after office hours and while he was lecturing in a different country. I feel he wants the best for me and wants to see me succeed which is very motivational. He has created additional learning materials such as podcasts and help sheets with guidance and frequently asked questions from previous years. Nigel is always willing to help and I am very grateful. Thank you!!"

Jennifer Phillips

"The reason for the nomination is that Jennifer has been very supportive and helpful. She has helped me to develop my dissertation. When I felt like giving up or changing my idea she helped me realise that I should have more confidence in myself and work. Jennifer has also helped with my literature review by suggesting ideas and supporting me, which enabled me to be free to discover new ideas and gaps in the literature. She is inspirational, dedicated and helpful. She gave me advice in year 2 because I had questions on destination image. Jennifer was also very open and allowed us to meet with her regularly if we wished to, and also organised a meeting at the beginning of the year to go through the project. She is just an all-rounded great supervisor that is inspirational.

"Jennifer has given full support and guidance for my dissertation by listening to my ideas and helping to find the best ways of putting them into practice. Without her I don't believe I would be as far as I have come with my work. She has truly been amazing! She has shown a great level of professionalism and organisation, she is also always keen to help. I truly believe she deserves the recognition has it is evident through her hard work. Thank you Jennifer for everything!"


Sensational programme lead

Mandy Aggett

"Mandy has only just taken over the role from Craig, but I have already had a meeting with her about students concerns and she was supportive of my ideas and eager to find solutions to the concerns. She is also quick to send out opportunities for us to improve our CV and take part in exciting experiences that will enhance our employability in the future.

"She has made me feel that I can talk to her about University life alongside being approachable about other aspects of student life."

Outstanding personal tutor

Natalie Semley – shortlisted in this category

"I have decided to vote for Natalie as she has been an amazing personal tutor since day one. She is constantly available to support me and even kept in contact with me while I was on placement for a year. Her door is always open for support and she often spends much longer than the necessary time on personal tutor meetings, striving to help me succeed. The last meeting lasted an hour and she was extremely helpful in suggesting books and research roots for my dissertation. Natalie is also very invested in my future and suggests ways to improve my employability."

Danielle Bishop

"Danielle has been there since day one when I arrived at University in 2015. She emails for the general catch ups each term, however, I know that she will be there whenever or if ever I need her personally and as a member of the wider staff. She remained professional when teaching me lectures however I still knew I could be honest about quality of lectures and other matters within the institute. Danielle would check up on me if she knew I was having a harder time and would offer up time to talk to me and advise me not just on University matters but personal and placement ideas. She helped me think about placements and also applying for the Santander scholarship in her own time and would never comment if I was taking up too much of her time.

"Danielle has honestly been my go to at University and I really appreciate all of the help she has given me throughout my time when I know how busy she is. She really is an incredible personal tutor personally and at her job at the same time. Thank you so much for helping me throughout my university journey I really appreciate it."

Jacquie Hope

"Jacquie has made me feel that I can talk to her about University life alongside being approachable about other aspects of student life."


Most effective feedback

Derek Shepherd

"Derek explained the assignment very well and gave very helpful feedback."


Postgraduate teacher/supervisor of the year

Susan Horner

"I was an average student when I started my whole journey as a student at Plymouth in 2012. Dr Horner has played a huge part in changing my life around. She has supervised my undergraduate dissertation and it was her inspiration which gave me the courage to go for the CHME conference in Denmark in 2017. Last year I did a postgraduate course and I have had a good time working under the supervision of Dr Horner, which gave me the courage and belief to give my 100 per cent. It was her motivation and support which got me going all throughout the last 3-4 years. Now I am doing my PhD with Susan as my supervisor, which I'm sure is going to the best few years of my studying life. I have to thank no one but Susan for all the support and believing in me to push further with my studying capabilities."