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St Mary's Awards Annual Staff Prizes for Innovation

St Mary’s University College, Twickenham recently held its annual staff awards ceremony, which recognises new initiatives launched over the last year.

On Monday 9th December St Mary’s University College, Twickenham held its annual staff awards ceremony, which recognises new initiatives launched over the last year. The awards ceremony is held during the Feast Day dinner, which is organised by St Mary’s Chaplaincy Centre to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Students, staff and invited guests gathered for Mass in the University College’s Chapel and led by St Mary’s Chair of Governors and Bishop to the Forces, Bishop Richard Moth. The evening concluded with St Mary’s annual awards, the St Henry Walpole Award for Teaching and Learning, and the St Vincent de Paul Inclusivity Prize. The St Vincent de Paul Inclusivity Prize recognises developments of innovations to enhance equality and diversity in the University College’s academic and support service departments. The winning entry for 2013 was a group project between the Students’ Union, International Office and the Chaplaincy Centre. The project, an international student welcome event, was launched for the first time during September 2013 registration and was designed as an introduction to international students during their first week on campus. Based around the theme of ‘English Tea Party’, the event included activities around British culture, meet and greet activities, and introductions to key members of the St Mary’s community. The judging panel noted that this was an effective inter-departmental initiative and that there was potential for the adoption of both the initiative itself and this collegiate way of working for wider implementation. Also announced on the evening was the St Henry Walpole Award, which recognises the contribution of staff to enhance the student learning experience by developing creative and innovative approach to learning. The 2013 winning submission was from lecturers Judith Cullen, Anna Lise Gordon, Helen Hazelwood, Andy Holmes and Jacky Oldham from St Mary’s School of Education, Theology and Leadership. Their joint project, ‘Nurturing resilience of students in the PGCE and Physical and Sport Education programmes at St Mary’s’ aims to provide more support for students, in readiness for the intensive studies at the University College, at schools (Initial Teacher Education programme), at their work-based PSE placements, and during their future employment. St Mary’s Director for Academic Affairs Lesley Haig commented, “These resilience sessions aim to enhance the students’ ability to cope with challenging experiences by encouraging them to reflect on their personal strengths and areas for development. This particular initiative fits well with the institutional mission.” Also highly commended was Programme Director Michael Ayres, also from the School of Education, Theology and Leadership, for his initiative ‘Developing the Potential of Physical and Sport Education Students through Contextualised Practice in a Primary School Setting’. Michael established a free after school multi-sports club at a local primary school, which is led by students on the undergraduate Physical and Sport Education programme. It not only offers a safe, fun and enjoyable club for young people to engage in a variety of different sports, but also enables final year students to critique and challenge their own practice and current research. Lesley added, “Congratulations to Michael on this strong initiative, which provides a valuable learning opportunity for students, whilst positively engaging with the local community.”

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