National Teaching Fellow 2012
Professor Rachel McCrindle’s roles and responsibilities at the University are multi-faceted. In addition to undertaking research projects, leading research teams and engaging with industry on enterprise related projects, she supervises student projects and lectures on a range of computing and engineering related subjects.
Rachel’s teaching is informed by the research she undertakes as well as by her work with external organisations to identify, define and implement highly strategic systems/business processes critical to their future direction and/or performance. Rachel is passionate about the value that knowledge transfer projects can bring to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), global companies and new graduates, as well as to university research and teaching. In 2010 she was awarded the Knowledge Transfer Partnership's (KTP) Academic Excellence Award.
By combining and embedding principles of research, enterprise, entrepreneurial activity and professional issues into her teaching, Rachel actively seeks to inspire students to be independent learners. She also aims to give them real-world skills in addition to the rigorous academic techniques they need for the modern workplace thereby enhancing their employability.
One key example of this is the assignment she has developed for a first-year module during which her students go through an engineering process themselves. They develop board games that incorporate the principles of software engineering in such a way that if someone else plays their game, they too learn about software engineering, thereby reinforcing learning on several levels.
As well as developing their technical knowledge, Rachel’s processes are designed so that the students also enhance their softer skills. These skills include teamwork, time management, presentation, design and development, creative thinking and critical evaluation. All of these, while key to software engineering, also make a valuable contribution to other modules and experiences they will encounter during their degree, industrial placements and graduate employment. The innovation of this as an approach to teaching was recognised nationally when Rachel won the HEA Engineering Subject Centre's Teaching Award in 2010.