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Teaching excellence awarded

27 July 2012

Sheila Oliver, Director of Assessment and Feedback
Sheila Oliver, Director of Assessment and Feedback

Sheila Oliver, Director of Assessment and Feedback and a Specialist in Oral Surgery and Special Care Dentistry at the University's School of Dentistry, has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of for her outstanding impact on student learning.

Sheila's career has included specialist practise in Oral Surgery and Special Care dentistry and the provision of internationally esteemed dental education. Supporting students beginning their dental course through to graduation and into postgraduate life, she has been focused on emphasising holistic patient care using a range of teaching methods including clinical simulation.

Sheila's special interest in assessment and feedback was recognised by the School by appointing her Director of Assessment. In this role, her work has included the development of assessment and feedback strategies, a 'Bite-Size Guide to using Feedback' for students, and the piloting of electronic marking and feedback for written assignments.

As a founder member of the Dental Education Unit within Cardiff, Sheila has developed teaching modules to facilitate the development of vocational trainers across the principality, and leads on staff development in regard to assessment and feedback within the School.

She has been active in raising the profile of educational excellence both nationally and internationally. Within her clinical specialities she has contributed to the development of national guidelines and been invited to lead staff development by universities in Paris, Barcelona and Riga. Sheila also leads a special interest group for the Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE).

Sheila said: "Personally I'm delighted that my commitment to learning and teaching has been recognised at a national level. I'm also pleased that the School's commitment to excellence within this field has been acknowledged."

Sheila wins £10,000 which she will use to further develop the assessment and feedback strategy and enhance the learning experience for undergraduates and postgraduates. In particular she will be working with students on collaborative projects to enhance assessment and feedback.

Sheila was awarded the ADEE's Mature Educator Excellence in Dental Education Certificate in 2011 which acknowledged her longstanding pedagogical leadership, innovation and international esteem by her peers. Her commitment to students has also not gone unnoticed, having been runner-up at the Dental Teacher of the Year Award which required nomination and support from undergraduates.

Professor Jonathan Osmond, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, said: "Sheila has established a model of dental education that brings professional practice directly into the curriculum, consistently setting the standard for key areas of contemporary dental education criteria. She clearly demonstrates a real passion for transforming the student experience and it is only right that she is recognised with this prestigious award. I'd like to offer the University's congratulations on this accolade."

The National Teaching Fellowship scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose roles support the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive of the HEA, said the awards carry considerable prestige within the sector and are highly competitive. He added: "The 55 new Fellows created this year have all made a highly valuable contribution to learning and teaching within their institutions and often more widely. At the HEA we are committed to recognising and rewarding excellence in teaching. Students deserve - and expect - the best possible learning experience during their time in higher education, and fantastic staff such as National Teaching Fellows help to deliver this experience.

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