RUSU Excellence Awards

The RUSU Excellence Awards recognise University of Reading staff who display excellent and innovative teaching practice.

We award the staff who students believe have gone above and beyond expectations, tirelessly working to improve the delivery of your teaching and learning experience.

We also celebrate the amazing work of our Course Reps and Senior Reps who go the extra mile to represent the student voice and create positive change to teaching and learning, through the Senior and Course Rep Awards. These are awarded at the Student Experience Award Ceremony.

RUSU Partnership in Teaching and Learning Showcase

Results for the 2021/22 Excellence Awards have been announced. See below for the winners.


Teaching Excellence Award Categories

For inspiring teaching staff who have applied their in-depth subject knowledge to provide you with engaging and intellectually stimulating lectures. It aims to recognise exceptional individuals who have gone above-and-beyond teaching expectations: supporting, guiding and inspiring you to reach your full potential. Winners of these awards in the past have been described as engaging, supportive, helpful, inspiring, enthusiastic and dedicated to their profession.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Giacomo Zanello

His screencasts are outstanding in quality. He extended the interactive session beyond 1 hour to help us grab more and more. In every aspect he was doing his best and always has gone extra mile to support students. He made a very complicated subject easy. He deserves something more than an award.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Hazel McGoff

Throughout all 3 years at university she’s supported my personal needs, always making sure I am okay in respect to my health conditions. She’s helped me with my dissertation, showing more enthusiasm than even my own supervisor. I feel she truly wants me to succeed academically and personally, continuing to support me up to graduation

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Faye Woods

Faye has gone above and beyond to support students in times of need during the pandemic. She has made me feel capable and confident in my abilities anddegree when many students suffered from confusion and disconnect during remote learning. Her teaching is engaging, inclusive and I have learned so much about diversity as well as my degree from her.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Natasha Barrett

Natasha has consistently provided her utmost support and knowledge during the systematic literature review writing process for part 3 dissertation. Despite her extremely busy schedule, she has always found the time to help others and went out of her way to provide support to the students she supervises as well as others. It was greatly appreciated!

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Emmanuel Essah

At the start of the semester I experienced traumatic family events, Emmanuel has gone above and beyond what is expected from a tutor, he is an exceptional listener encouraging motivating/supportive. More importantly he has got to know me as a student, hasn’t judged me + ultimately was the one who saw my potential and encouraged me not to give up.

2021/22 Winner - Prof. Sakthi Vaiyapuri

He is very patient and a supportive lecturer. He will go an extra mile to guide his students in excelling the task that was given and will never leave his students hanging with doubts. He should be awarded as the ‘lecturer of the year’ as everyone should acknowledge his hard work and his determination in supporting his students

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Lebene Soga

Lebene is the most energetic and enthusiastic lecturer I’ve met in my 4 years at the university. He makes all is lectures engaging and makes everything more interesting and probes you to learn all the time. Not only is he a great lecturer but a great friend too. He has offered me help and support throughout my years at university

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Elizabeth Maeve Barnes

Elizabeth Barnes has had a really impactful curve on my learning. Being my first lecturer of second year history, she was a massive inspiration tostart learning again after the previous year of doubtful COVID times. She was very inspiring to listen to, she was very knowledgeable and incredibly friendly

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Catherine Foley

Catherine has been extremely supportive of all students. Each maths lecture has been engaging and used a range of resources to reinforce learning. She is approachable friendly and understanding of students’ worries around maths. She met with me to provide me with extra resources due to my learning difficulty and really helped me feel more confiden

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Dawn Clarke

As a fully online student, Dr Dawn has always created a very inclusive environment for me to be included in discussions and express my opinions in a hybrid-learning classroom. Her approach to teaching that encourage students to really think, analyse and evaluate concepts has helped foster my passion for politics and sociology

2021/22 Winner - Amanda Millmore

My nominee is deserving of this Excellence Award because she is a very friendly, approachable lecturer, who is willing to offer very helpful guidance in times of need . She is very much appreciated and a credit to the law school.

2021/22 Winner - Enza Siciliano Verruccio

Despite having the busiest schedule out of all the staff I know, Enza will always find an hour to provide extra support. She has faced some massive challenges this year and yet she always put students first whether that’s in her role as a teacher or as an SDTL. She is completely dedicated to students and our happiness gives her more joy than money.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Lily Sun

The student’s voice throughout the pandemic. Lily ensured that our voices were heard by regularly checking on every module run by the department and ensuring all students’ expectations were over expectations, by ensuring quality of teaching never drops despite a pandemic.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Kenton White

Some of the best lectures and seminars of my University career so far have been with Kenton at the helm. Kenton is a brilliant and passionate lecturer whose enthusiasm and hunt for knowledge is contagious.

2021/22 Winner - Dr. Vishnu Nair

Vishnu puts so much thought and effort into all his seminars and lectures. He teaches with such enthusiasm and in a way that makes you want to learn more constantly. He knows so much knowledge off the top of his head and can always give articles to help us support our learning. He creates a very comfortable environment for us to learn.

Staff Awards Categories

These awards are primarily for non-teaching members of staff that enhance teaching, learning and the student experience through inspiring and supportive means. Previous winners have been described as innovative, conscientious and those that continually go out of their way to help.

Academic Tutor Excellence Award

For exceptionally supportive and approachable Academic Tutors who show commitment to students; ensuring excellent academic support and guidance.

2021/22 Winner: Dr. Emmanuel Essah

Emmanuel has been very supportive as my tutor. Regular catch-up sessions have been really helpful to discuss past and current work, and future plans, particularly around dissertations for next year and the advice he provided me. He helped provide context to my studies and keep a positive mindset despite the course’s difficulty.

Support Staff Excellence Award

For outstanding contributions of non-teaching staff (such as administration, or technical support staff) that ensure your University experience runs as smoothly as possible. These staff members may be the people who help you in the labs, answer your admin queries from first to final year and work behind the scenes to support students on a daily basis.

2021/22 Winner: Emily Salandy

Emily has been the most incredible welfare officer. When I was going through a really difficult time she was there for me 24/7, offering me exactly what I needed. She’s shown an incredible amount of kindness and a pure love for what she does. I don’t have enough words to convey my gratitude. She’s more than a staff member to me, she is a friend.

Diverse And Inclusive Teaching Excellence Award

For teaching staff that design and deliver an engaging and diverse curriculum, accessible for all students and learning styles. They encourage students to be proactive, challenge and consider different experiences and perspectives.

2021/22 Winner: Eur Ing Prof. Simon Sherratt

As a disabled student who has needed to study remotely, Simon has been extremely accommodating in finding ways for me to still participate in lectures & practicals when I have been the only person unable to attend in person teaching. He has frequently checked in with me to ensure that I feel happy & confident, & has been invaluable as my supervisor

Excellence Award for Best Staff-Led Sustainability Initiative

This award recognises a staff-led sustainability initiative with a positive effect on the university experience. Initiatives can include ethically-sound events and campaigns that were educational and fun.

Student Awards Categories

Every year we recognise Reps that have excelled in their role and helped enhance the student experience, not only for other Reps but all students. The award celebrates their achievements and how they have used the role to inspire and motivate others.

Course Rep Of The Year

For a Student Rep who has committed to their role as a representative from day one and has consistently gathered quality feedback from students throughout the year to fairly represent their cohort. Has attended SSPG meetings and participated in discussion, delivering evaluation and critical feedback from students to staff. Has encouraged problem-solving and helped close the feedback loop on any issues that have arisen regarding Teaching & Learning. Finally, who has gone over and above to support their course mates and improve the student learning experience.

2021/22 Winner: Sarah Giles 

Sarah has done a fantastic job navigating the pressure of handling our concerns and lobbying staff for more support. For example, today we received our exam timetable with exams before revision classes. Within half an hour, Sarah had listened to our opinions and then emailed department staff to attempt to find a resolution to this issue.

Senior Rep Of The Year

For a Senior Rep who has committed to their role as a representative from day one and has consistently gathered quality feedback from students throughout the year to fairly represent their school. Has participated in discussion, delivering evaluation and critical feedback from students to staff. Has encouraged problem-solving and helped close the feedback loop on any issues that have arisen regarding Teaching & Learning. Finally, who has gone over and above to support their course mates and improve the student learning experience.

2021/22 Winners: Oscar Minto 

Oscar has been a fantastic senior rep. He has gone above and beyond in supporting the course rep team, creating the framework for rep surveys and helping to send them to ensure every student has the opportunity to give feedback. He also helps draft the SSP agenda and chair the SSP, encouraging feedback and focusing on core student issues/themes.