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Prestigious teaching award for National Software Academy

6 August 2020

Julie James visiting NSA

The National Software Academy (NSA) has been recognised for its excellence in collaborative work and positive impact on teaching and learning by a leading sector organisation.

The NSA has been given a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) by Advance HE as a recognition of its outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector.

The NSA was established in partnership with Welsh Government and industry leaders, including the Newport-based Alacrity Foundation, with the aim of giving students ‘real life’ projects to work on throughout their studies and providing opportunities to engage with experienced software engineers from industry.

It was established in response to concerns from industry that software engineering graduates were lacking in a number of essential skills to make them ready for the workplace once they leave university.

The team of staff who deliver the programmes extends to industry partners who collaborate to deliver the innovative, project-based learning that centres on the authentic, client-facing projects that students undertake.

This collaborative approach to teaching and learning has led to many successes since the NSA was first launched in 2015 and has become a unique aspect of the student experience.

Since the NSA expanded into brand new facilities in Newport in 2018, students have been able to study within an environment that mimics the workplace in the software engineering industry.

The CATE recognizes and celebrates the work of teams who have demonstrated impact on student learning and education practice at the highest level.

Only a maximum of 15 are awarded annually, with successful teams becoming a part of a leading network of educators at the forefront of practice.

According to Advance HE, the impact of the award winners on the HE sector is as evident as ever this year, with a particular drive for impact demonstrated by our winners and applicants in championing equality, diversity and inclusivity within approaches to curriculum design, teaching delivery and collaborative working.

Wendy Ivins, National Software Academy Team Lead said: “The National Software Academy team is excited and honoured to receive the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence. We'd like to thank everyone who has collaborated with us to provide meaningful opportunities for our students to engage with industry.”

Claire Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Students, added: "I’m delighted that the National Software Academy has been awarded a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence. It’s a first for Cardiff and brings well-deserved national recognition to Dr Wendy Ivins and her team who have been so committed to establishing exciting opportunities for students to collaborate with industry clients."

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, said: “I am sure I am joined by the entire sector in congratulating the 2020 NTFS and CATE awardees. All of the winners should be extremely proud of their achievement of what are prestigious, national teaching awards. Their work epitomises the outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector, which this year has been more demanding than ever before. Well done to each and every one of them.

“On the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, we really wanted to celebrate the diversity of the outstanding individuals teaching or supporting teaching, and focused on applicants’ impact on EDI issues in the Awards process. We will continue this focus in the years to come as we ensure that the awards reflect the diversity of academics and teachers across the sector.”

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A centre of excellence for software engineering in Wales.