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Academics named in national awards for teaching excellence

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Published on 06 August 2020

 National Teaching Fellows announced
National Teaching Fellows announced

Dr Adelle Hulsmeier and Dr Shelia Quaid are among this year’s 56 new National Teaching Fellows, announced by Advance HE, on what is the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTF). 

The scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.  

Advance HE say this year’s award winners demonstrated a particular drive in championing equality, diversity and inclusivity within approaches to curriculum design, teaching delivery and collaborative working. 

Dr Adelle Hulsmeier, a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Performing Arts and Programme Leader for Screen Performance, manages the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries’ collaboration with Northumbria Police (a successful seven-year film project) and leads an academic partnership with Live Theatre, Newcastle; extending the reach of HE beyond the parameters of a classroom environment. 

Reacting to her award, she said: “I was really shocked and incredibly humbled that my work has been recognised in this way. The work with Northumbria Police particularly means an awful lot to me. The possibility to make a difference drives my work. The opportunity to combine social change with student experience and employability within the curriculum has always been at the heart of what I strive to achieve. 

“Moving forward, this win will hopefully open more opportunities to embed the expertise (developed throughout the eight-year nurtured relationship with Northumbria Police) to more areas, forces and disciplines in order to continue to make impact and opportunity for the students, the university and my own practice.” 

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Dr Sheila Quaid’s sociological teaching has led to a unique and portable methodology for creating powerful learning spaces with innovative and interdisciplinary professional practice. 

Dr Quaid said: “I am beyond delighted to be named as a National Teaching Fellow. Receiving this award for teaching excellence and joining a pedagogical community of ANTF’s, for whom I have the highest respect, means the world to me.  

“I want to use this recognition to play an ongoing role in benefitting students and colleagues through curriculum development, innovative techniques for transformative education and to deliver the highest quality learning experience within the university and beyond. 

“I want to work with others and creatively diversify teaching methods. I am particularly pleased to be named NTF during the 20-year anniversary of the scheme and look forward to my continued learning and reflection.” 

Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive commented; “I offer my warmest congratulations to Adelle and Sheila for being recognised as National Teaching Fellows. This is richly deserved as both of them are leaders in the field when it comes to innovative and compelling approaches to teaching and learning. Our students are very fortunate indeed to have such expert teachers assisting them in their learning.” 

Advanced HE also announced this year’s 15 winning teams of its Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) awards, which Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries has picked up three times in previous years. This award recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning, highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education. 

Alison Johns, Advance HE CEO, said: “I am sure I am joined by the entire sector in congratulating the 2020 NTFS and CATE awardees. All of the winners should be extremely proud of their achievement of what are prestigious, national teaching awards. Their work epitomises the outstanding commitment to teaching in the UK higher education sector, which this year has been more demanding than ever before. Well done to each and every one of them. 

“On the 20th anniversary of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, we really wanted to celebrate the diversity of the outstanding individuals teaching or supporting teaching, and focused on applicants’ impact on EDI issues in the Awards process. We will continue this focus in the years to come as we ensure that the awards reflect the diversity of academics and teachers across the sector.” 

About Dr Adelle Hulsmeier 

Dr Adelle Hulsmeier’s career trajectory has been characterised by her conviction to embed the notion of social change as an integral part of teaching and learning. She strives to engage her students in this, which in turn impacts her students’ capacity to drive positive change through a transformative educational experience.  

Adelle is currently a Senior Lecturer and formerly worked as an actress in London. She utilises the disparate demography of these two geographical regions to drive her passion to change, influence and provide opportunities for life, not just an outcome-based student journey.  

Adelle manages the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries’ collaborative relationship with Northumbria Police and its sexual assault referral centre; a successful seven-year project that runs annually and as an embedded element within the Screen, Media and Performance programmes. Films are created that address complex category crime providing dynamic, reciprocal drivers for crime planning and strategic and civically oriented HE experiences.  

In tandem with this, Adelle also strategically leads an academic partnership with Live Theatre, Newcastle; which affords students to experience teaching and learning in an operational and professional theatre venue, extending the reach of HE beyond the parameters of a classroom environment. Ensuring students experience authentic workplace experiences ahead of graduation has become the heart of Adelle's work.  

She is passionate about capturing student's innate innovation and creativity, which ensures a visionary yet achievable focus for students who remain motivated and enthusiastic in both their learning and their future aspirations. 


About Dr Sheila Quaid 

Dr Sheila Quaid’s unique methodology for creating powerful learning spaces is the culmination of innovative professional practice. Her pedagogy is characterised by research-embedded teaching, empathy, authenticity, emotion and inclusivity. In collaboration with her community of practice, including learners, her methodology, known as - Quaid-Thoughtful Approach-, is a value driven, portable and transferable method for participatory arts based action learning.  

The impact and depth of learning achieved with her approach is evident in external funding for development, its application in postdoctoral training, knowledge exchange, CPD for professionals and the increasing numbers of professional educators seeking CPD at her events. The method has also been impactful as a radio programme, reaching wider audiences.  

Sheila has developed this unique and impactful method for creating powerful learning environments. She successfully bridged gaps between academic social science, art and community through giving space for voices often not heard and placing art, children, the environment and the future at the heart of her learning and teaching technique. In partnerships with her national network of creative pedagogues in arts, social science and professional practice, she continuously learns and develops practice and embraces sensitive topics, difficult moments in teaching identities, emotions.  

Central to her work was giving others a ‘voice’ through which their individuality could be recognised and valued. She quickly established effective mechanisms of dialogue for students, creating powerful learning environments and a sense of belonging that gave students and community learners’ confidence in their ability to contribute to teaching sessions.  

Sheila’s work has consistently integrated approaches to teaching sociology that are transferable across discipline and professional divides. She continuously demonstrates innovation and creativity: In her classroom, for example, she allows freedom for learners. They explore and choose their own sources whilst she embeds the use of cinematic films and visual resources such as art, film, TV and advertising to engage and motivate students to reach theoretical depth through social learning. Visual arts film and personal biographies and interdisciplinary techniques drive this new methodology.  

Her professional passion for Interdisciplinary and arts-based pedagogy is consistently driving her creation of participatory arts and social science events reaching audiences nationally through varieties of media. 


Due to Covid-19, the 2020 winners award ceremony has been postponed. All the 2020 winners will be recognised at a joint awards ceremony in autumn 2021 for winners from this year and next. There will also be an online celebration in the week beginning 27 September. 

Advance HE is very proud to run the Teaching Excellence Awards. The NTF scheme has been running since 2000 and there are now over 960 National Teaching Fellows, with normally up to 55 individuals receiving the award each year. On gaining the award, NTFs play an ongoing role in enhancing teaching and learning within their institution, the HE sector and further afield. The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) were introduced in 2016. In 2018, both NTF and CATE opened to members of staff from all providers of higher education across the four nations of the UK.