National Teaching Fellow 2010
Cath is renowned among students and colleagues alike for her inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm for her subject and for her innovative approaches to teaching.
Her career-long fascination with how best to teach her subject began as a course team member at the Open University while completing her PhD in Neurochemistry within the Brain Research group.
Her students say that she transforms their learning by empowering them - the heart of her teaching philosophy. In all Cath's modules students decide content following discussions about what they want to learn but also what they need to learn. They also choose appropriate formative tasks and summative assessments and generate the assessment criteria. Cath also encourages them to be reflective learners continually self evaluating progress.
To inspire and engage first-year students she creatively delivered a blended learning Bioethics module assessed by debates to 170 students as an intensive block over the first four weeks of their course. Students commented on how confidence boosting it was to have a whole module 'in the bag' so early.
Cath believes difficult subjects like Biochemistry are more easily learnt when applied to everyday life. She teaches the relationship between nutrition, activity and health and as a fully qualified personal trainer she often brings that experience into the classroom for memorable learning experiences.
A final-year biosciences student said:
"You remember muscle action much better when you listen to Cath talking through what's happening inside her own muscles whilst she is slowly but perfectly executing a full press- up!"
She inspires her colleagues across the whole university by being a role model of best practice during her delivery of her institution's postgraduate certificate in higher education (PGCHE) and through her challenging workshops delivered internally but also at national and international conferences and institutions such as the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Following one of these, a colleague, Professor Phil Race, commented
"The best thing at the conference - everybody else talks about what we should do but Cath shows us how to do it!"
Another colleague, a professor in her own discipline commented,
"Observing Cath teach is so infectious and inspiring it makes me want to rush out and teach."
Cath loves her job because she says she is just as inspired by her students as they are by her.
Principal Lecturer in Health Sciences (Biochemistry)
Leeds Metropolitan University