University of Worcester Psychologist Secures Prestigious National Teaching Fellowship

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Dr Penney Upton, a principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Worcester, has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy.

Often described as the Higher Education teaching Oscars, this is the top award for those teaching at universities across the country – with just 55 awarded nationally this year.

Dr Upton joins seven other colleagues at the University of Worcester who have previously received a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.

“I am honoured to have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship,” she said. “As I’m sure our students will agree, studying Psychology at Worcester provides some unique learning experiences. It is a pleasure to teach such inspiring people.”

“I am very privileged to work with some outstanding colleagues in the Institute of Health and Society,” Dr Upton added. “I feel particularly fortunate to have been Head of Psychology before becoming Associate Head of the University’s Institute of Health and Society, where I was surrounded by a team of forward thinking academics. Together we were able to introduce some really exciting new teaching and assessment methods which put the student experience at the heart of the programme.

The successful National Teaching Fellows (NTFs) were chosen from nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Each will receive an award of £10,000 which will be used to support their professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Professor David Green, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “The award of a National Teaching Fellowship to Penney Upton is a deserved accolade for her outstanding teaching over many years. Penney is an inspirational member of staff and we are delighted that hew work has been recognised by this prestigious national award.”

Professor Green added: “We now have eight members of the University’s staff to be selected for one of these prestigious awards of which only around 50 are made in the entire country in any one year. So many awards in a single university is rare and reflects the University’s success in achieving its aim of being a truly outstanding university at which to study.”

In 2012, Dr Upton was awarded a Senior University Teaching Fellowship in recognition of her significant contribution to innovations in learning and teaching at the University. She has also authored three Developmental Psychology textbooks for undergraduate students and co-edited a series of ‘test yourself’ guides for Psychology students which cover the core British Psychological Society (BPS) areas.

An active researcher, Dr Upton has published widely on subjects including the impact of chronic illness on children’s quality of life, approaches to changing risky health behaviours, such as smoking in adulthood, and the use of touchscreen technology to enhance the wellbeing of older adults with dementia.