University Professors handed top teaching accolade


Two Birmingham Professors have been handed one of the UK’s most prestigious higher education teaching awards

Birmingham City University lecturers Andrew Kulman, Professor of Graphic Art, and Professor Mark O’Hara, Associate Dean for Student Learning Experience have been named among the Higher Education Academy’s 55 new National Teaching Fellows.

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Birmingham City University

The accolade is recognised as the top individual teaching honour for lecturers and researchers working at universities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The pair have been named amongst the new Fellows after being nominated for their commitment to teaching and supporting students.

Professor Kulman splits his time between working as a practice graphic artist and teaching, making a number of innovative curriculum designs and developing partnerships overseas.

He has worked with associations including D&AD and the Association of Illustrators and was elected to serve on the Representative Board of the European League of Institutes of the Arts last year.  

A former early years and primary teacher, Professor O’Hara has dedicated his career in higher education to providing opportunities for students from all walks of life.

He has led a range of inclusivity projects at Birmingham City University and currently serves as the Chair of the UK RAISE Network’s Inclusive Practice SIG and sits on the Department for Education’s Disabled Students Sector Leadership Group.

Professor Andrew Kulman (below, far left) said: “Meeting other winners of this award meant a lot in terms of understanding the range of backgrounds and disciplines attached associated with the National Teaching Fellowship. I was forewarned that there would be a range of subject expertise and professional excellence gathered on the day and to be amongst them all was a great honour.

When it came to getting my award I felt a sense of pride that I was there not only representing the University but also all the great staff and students who I have worked with at BCU since I started back in 1997. Much of what I have achieved I can attribute to the support I have received from the teams I've worked with."

Andrew Kulman Philip Plowden- National Teaching Fellow 2017 award
National Teaching Fellows 2017- award- Andrew Kulman

Professor Mark O’Hara said: “I am very pleased at the outcome and acutely conscious of the opportunities that the University has provided, as well as being indebted to the support and contributions of colleagues over the past four years, without which it wouldn't have been possible.”

All recipients will receive their awards at a special ceremony held in London on November 1.

Professor Philip Plowden, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “This award recognises the role teaching plays in higher education and the transformational impact that we can have for our students.

“Andrew and Mark join a community of National Teaching Fellows at our university, and we will be celebrating their success with our students.”

The new National Teaching Fellows have been selected from across Wales, Northern Ireland and England - and come from across mission groups and from a broad range of subject areas.

The recipients were nominated by their institutions and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria - individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.

Higher Education Academy Chief Executive, Professor Stephanie Marshall, said: “A National Teaching Fellowship is the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education. These awards represent a fantastic achievement by all 55 new NTFs. I am sure the whole sector joins me in applauding them in their success.

“I am also delighted that we have really high-calibre finalists for the Collaborative Award, and I congratulate each and every team.

“The UK is justifiably proud of its higher education sector and its reputation is enhanced by the examples of excellent teaching highlighted by these awards.”

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