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Lecturer wins Global Challenges Teaching Award

6 May 2022

Dr Samantha Buzzard of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has been chosen as a recipient of the Global Challenges Teaching Award in the Climate Change category.

The Global Challenges Teaching Award (GCTA) from the US-UK Fulbright Commission and the American Council on Education (ACE), aims to promote digital innovation and international exchange by connecting classes from higher education institutions in the United Kingdom and the Unites States to collaborate on student projects that address a global challenge of our time. This year’s cohort will be focusing on three pressing issues: climate change, pandemics and racial justice.

Using the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) method of teaching, the GCTA brings together faculty members on both sides of the Atlantic to co-deliver a collaborative online international learning course for their undergraduate students.

Together Dr Samantha Buzzard with Staci Strobl, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Shenandoah University, will develop a 'virtual exchange'. This will allow their students to engage in key climate change issues across disciplines, drawing on the expertise of both faculty members and working alongside their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic without having to leave their own institutions.

Dr Buzzard was among six total recipients of the inaugural award and one of just three award winners from the UK. Other UK awardees include academics from the Liverpool University and Queen Mary University of London. The selection process was highly competitive, with about 75 applicants each from the UK and the US and included a virtual panel interview during which applicants were required to work together to complete a task in front of anonymous Fulbright panellists.

Awardees and their selected institutional team members are now undergoing training from ACE through its VE/COIL Transformation Lab and learning about previous effective COILs and the technological platforms that help to connect institutions with different online teaching methods.

Over the summer, Buzzard and Strobl will begin their exchange visits to learn more about each other and their partnered institution and start the development of their shared course. They will introduce their joint module to their students during the autumn semester.

Dr Buzzard said, "I’m excited by this opportunity to give my students access to a wide range of climate change focused topics, and to develop their intercultural expertise. I believe that the exchange will be of great value to the Cardiff University students involved and will make the benefits of educational exchange accessible to all students, not just those who choose our year abroad schemes."

To learn more about the GTCA, visit

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