- 09 May 2013
Professor Tim Birkhead FRS was yesterday announced as the Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony held at the HUBS Spring Meeting, Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire.
He was chosen as the overall winner from an impressive shortlist of five candidates. The judges were particularly impressed with Professor Birkhead's long-term commitment to teaching and the range of innovative methods he adopted.
Professor Birkhead said: "I am absolutely thrilled by this award, which is wonderful recognition for 35 years of research-led teaching. It wouldn't have been possible however, without the unstinting support from my department (Animal & Plant Sciences), the University of Sheffield, and 35 cohorts of amazing undergraduates."
As a coordinator and lecturer on undergraduate courses on animal behaviour and the history of science, Professor Birkhead is passionate about teaching informed by research and is a strong advocate of field courses. On the day of the award, Professor Birkhead had just returned from field work in Costa Rica.
After the prize was awarded, Professor Birkhead shared his teaching experiences with delegates of the HUBS Spring Meeting, which included Heads of HE Bioscience departments from across the country.
Professor Birkhead prefers an interactive style of teaching and encourages his students to use contact sessions for discussion rather than taking notes, to help them put factual information into a broader context. Evidence from his current students, previous students and colleagues clearly showed the lasting influence he has had on those studying and working at his institution.
As the HE Bioscience Teacher of the Year, Professor Birkhead received the Ed Wood Memorial Prize of £1,000; one year's subscription to an OUP journal of his choice; and one year's free membership to the Society of Biology.
The runner up in the award was Dr Christopher Willmott form the University of Leicester. His original and innovative approaches to teaching bioethics were highly praised by the judges.
The other shortlisted candidates were Dr Anne Goodenough (University of Gloucestershire), Dr Jane Saffell (Imperial College London) and Dr Elizabeth Sheffield (University of Manchester).
The runner up and shortlisted candidates all received £150 prize, one year's free membership to the Society of Biology and attendance to the HUBS Spring Meeting.