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Paul Kelly
    Duncan McKenna    



In 60 secs


Direct view


Meet this year's teaching award winners, who are commended for the significant contribution to teaching that they have made at LSE.


Tom Maksymiw, LSESU Education Officer, has found that social events are a great way to help break down perceived barriers between staff and students.


Professor Paul Kelly, Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning, congratulates the winners of this year's inaugural LSE Teaching Promotion Awards.

  1 June 2015  

Direct view


Professor Paul Kelly, Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning talks about how this year's Teaching Promotion Awards reflect a broadening sense of what teaching at LSE means.

Teaching at LSE has evolved in recent years, not only in response to external drivers such as higher education policy but also to reflect internal changes like the New Academic Career Structure and the new shape academic year. A major factor in this evolution has been a review of the way in which teachers are rewarded and promoted, and a new emphasis on how teaching staff contribute to education at LSE in general.

This means that, alongside the conventional criteria for promotion – excellent face to face teaching, strong departmental endorsement and students’ experience of highly valued learning consideration is now given to expertise in a range of areas: course design, feedback to students, academic leadership, support for colleagues’ teaching and contributions to their departments’ overarching educational offer to students.

The following winners all demonstrated significant achievements in these areas, in many ways going far beyond the requirements of the job to deliver an outstanding education to their students. I thank them warmly for their contributions to teaching and to LSE, and am delighted to announce them as winners in the inaugural LSE Teaching Promotion Awards.


LSE Teaching Promotion Awards: promotion to Professor


Ulf Axelson, Finance

Rewarded for the development of the MSc Finance and Private Equity programme and in particular for spearheading a theoretically informed but applied approach to teaching Finance. This includes the integration of a case based approach with guest-speaker practitioners who share their experience of real-world learning with students.


Simon Dietz, Geography and Environment

Rewarded for an excellent teaching record across the School, including playing a central role in the early development of LSE100, as lecturer, adviser and advocate, and making a significant contribution to the department’s portfolio through the development of master’s courses in environmental assessment and climate change.


Amol Sasane, Mathematics

Rewarded for exemplary contributions to courses that are compulsory, challenging and highly technical, including effective student feedback and the design of original resources that have been inherited and highly valued by junior faculty in the department, as well as for services to the Undergraduate Studies Sub-Committee and the departmental teaching committee.


Patrick Wallis, Economic History

Rewarded for an excellent teaching record at all levels undergraduate, graduate and doctoral – and in particular for the design of core methodological taught courses that provide a basis on which other departmental courses are built, as well as for serving as inaugural chair of the departmental teaching committee.


LSE Teaching Promotion Awards: Major Review, with promotion to Associate Professor  


Olivier Accominotti, Economic History

Rewarded for a genuine research-led approach to teaching that enables students to see themselves as real economic historians, encouraged to analyse primary source data to address research problems, contribute to group work and plenary discussion tasks, and capable of participating in discussions as erudite, critical and curious scholars.

    Roham Alvandi, International History

Rewarded for inventive and high quality teaching across the department, including the development of a PhD research seminar series, described as having reinvigorated a core element in the life of the department’s research students, the use of gobbets (short primary source texts and recordings) as a teaching technique, and the provision of research opportunities for undergraduates.


60 second interview




with ... Tom Maksymiw, this year's LSESU Education Officer

The LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards were relaunched last year with great success. How did they go this year?

The relaunch last year was a massive success and really set the foundations for this year - so thanks to Rosie (last year's Education Officer)! This year we had 1,362 individual nominations more than ever before and four hundred more than last year. The reception event itself was well attended and we had The Critique of Pure Rhythm, the Philosophy department band, play at the end. For the first time, we also showed a video with students explaining why they nominated individual teachers, which I think the nominees appreciated. The atmosphere at the ceremony was great and I felt we managed to celebrate the best of LSE teaching.

What do you think students particularly value in their LSE teachers?

I think aside from the key stuff, like delivering feedback on time, allowing for class discussions and conveying passion for their subject, something that came across really clearly from the nominations was that students appreciate being treated as intellectual equals. That is, students like to be active participants in their learning and like to feel that their ideas are appreciated by their teachers. That sort of engagement from the teacher's side is something that you notice as a student and helps you to grow in confidence as you learn.

What's been the best part of being LSESU Education Officer this year?

I really enjoyed putting on social events with the aim of breaking down perceived barriers between staff and students. I organised football tournaments, dodgeball tournaments, pub quizzes and more to get staff and students to interact outside of the classroom. It was fun to create those sorts of events and it seemed to have a positive effect – putting on these activities was a completely different dimension of the job when compared to the usual reading of committee papers that I tend to do day to day.

If you were in charge of throwing a fancy dress party for the whole of LSE, what theme would you choose and why?

Famous people from Leicester (where I'm from)? Could go as the Attenboroughs, Gary Lineker, Gok Wan, David Ike...I'd probably end up going as someone from Kasabian though. That's a bit rubbish isn't it?


LSE Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards 2015
Students comment on the teachers who have made a difference to their time at LSE





Award for Inspirational Teaching

For being charismatic, driving students to learn more, challenging their perceptions and encouraging them to apply their knowledge to the wider world

Winner: Dr Leonardo Baccini, International Relations

"In short, my experience in Dr Baccini's lectures and seminars has made my academic experience worthwhile at LSE. I literally can't imagine my experience here without his teaching."

"Truly one of the best professors at LSE, and one of the best I've had the privilege of learning from in my academic career."


Highly commended: Dr Connson Locke, Management

"Connson teaches Leadership with passion and charisma and connects theory to practice in an innovative way that students can relate to. Her enthusiasm, the coherent structure she brings to the class and her motivating spirit make the class highly enjoyable and engaging with a lot to take away. Her presentation style is the best I have seen at LSE."

"She embodies everything LSE stands for and in my opinion is the best lecturer I have had the pleasure of studying under, be that UG or PG."


Highly commended: Dr Catherine Hua Xiang, Language Centre

"Catherine is the most amazing language teacher I have ever been taught by. She is so dedicated to helping us enrich our knowledge of probably the hardest foreign language - Mandarin Chinese."

"Catherine is perhaps one of the most patient teachers I have met, and she is willing to repeat concepts and words as much as is needed. Her teaching style is also very flexible in the sense that she listens to students' wishes and adapts her teaching accordingly."


Highly commended: Dr James Abdey, Statistics

"Dr Abdey consistently equips his students with the tools they need to become effective statisticians. He holds numerous review/help sessions a week and his contact hours are unrivalled by other departments. He is a wonderful teacher and is always there for his students."

"Absolutely no other academic can match the charisma, passion or intellect of Dr James Abdey. His innovative and 'out of the box' teaching style makes learning statistics fun and pleasurable."





Award for Sharing Subject Knowledge

For demonstrating a broad knowledge and variety in their teaching, to facilitate engaging debate and dialogue and taking the time to ensure students understand

Winner: Dr James Strong, International Relations

"He is a wonderful instructor, as made clear by his ability to convey complex topics in ways that are interesting, relevant and exciting. Most importantly, he is able to connect with his students and they deeply respect him for it."

"Dr Strong has enabled me to participate more actively in seminar discussions a big deal for me as I have always had issues with public speaking."


Highly commended: Jordana Ramalho, Geography

"It is very rare to find a teaching assistant who is engaged with the class, dedicated to teaching and as passionate about the subject as Jordana. She truly makes me want to get up at 9am on a Friday morning to discuss gender issues."

"Her maturity allows her to include all members of the class (even those who are extremely shy!) and she creates a safe learning environment for everyone by supporting our ideas and encouraging us to further develop those ideas."


Dr Francesco Caselli, Economics

"He has frequently sent out emails on Financial Times articles, complimented with his own perspective to read, which adds value by bringing the theory to life and increasing commercial awareness simultaneously."

"It is very apparent that he is incredibly knowledgeable in the subject area as he goes through the course material in a detailed manner, including his own analogies that are often interesting and funny."





Award for Excellent Welfare and Pastoral Support

For really caring about their students personal welfare, being a constant point of support and being able to signpost students to appropriate support services.

Winner: Dr Matt Wilde, Anthropology

"I cannot thank the nominee enough for making LSE such a welcoming environment, and also for being so receptive and accommodating to the needs of his students."

"Matt understands all the pressures that come with being a student at LSE; he has provided me with information and support on a number of issues, from making friends to financial difficulties."

    Highly commended: Dr Arjan Gjonca, Social Policy

"He has been more than understanding with problems that have impacted on my work, and is flexible on when he could see me if I cannot make a seminar or office hours."

"He has given me advice based on personal experience and also advice on how to best manage my time and studies."


Highly commended: Dr James Morrison, International Relations

"He is interested in the welfare of students and we feel very comfortable in confiding in him. For example, for thanksgiving he invited students to have an 'American' style dinner with his family at his home."

"James goes above and beyond other lecturers, engaging the whole class so that students can build meaningful friendships with each other."





Award for Research Support and Guidance

For being personally invested in their students' education, recognising their value as an academic equal and providing fantastic guidance.

Winner: Dr Tanya Harmer, International History

"Dr Harmer is by far the most welcoming and attentive professor I have had at LSE in terms of providing opportunities to discuss my work further with her."

"She has the virtue of making everybody feel important and that every contribution is useful and worth listening to. She is an example and an inspiration for me as a future teacher."


Highly commended: Dr Suki Ali, Sociology

"Suki provided invaluable support and feedback regarding my sociological project. She helped me work through my research question and was always available to talk and work through any problems or issues I had with the course."

"She was the first academic to pilot our society, the LSESU Sociology Society 'lunch with academics' series and went on to inspire us about her background and academic life."


Highly commended: Dr Alan Mace, Geography and Environment

"As a supervisor, he is extremely helpful in providing guidance. His recommendation are thought through and his suggestions for literature are highly valuable. As a supervisor, he gives me the feeling of security in approaching a challenging issue."

"A lot of this is possible because of the ease with which he interacts with us as master's students, treating us in many ways as colleagues, with our own merits and ideas to bring into thinking about cities."





Award for Innovative Teaching

For going beyond the traditional model of teaching, providing exciting perspectives and cutting edge research and enhancing their students' learning with technology

Winner: Dr Janet Foster, Sociology

"She uses multiple resources while incorporating the key traditional and contemporary literature such as art, documentaries and films"

"She arranged for students to shadow local police officers, which not only took quite a bit of effort on her part, but also proved to be extremely rewarding."


Highly commended: Dr Matthew Hall, Accounting

"Brought the concept 'flipped lecturing' to AC310. Classes were two hours, instead of the usual one hour, which allowed for a wider range of discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the module and would recommend the concept of flipped lecturing to be rolled out more widely across the School."

"One time during the class there was a live online discussion forum happening on the topic we were covering, so we were able to take part in the online discussion with some industry experts. It really helps to make the course more interesting and we can apply our knowledge into real life situations."


Highly commended: Dr Gustav Meibauer, International Relations

“He makes great use of multimedia to give what I previously thought was quite a dry discipline some flair.”

“The mix of student presentations, class debates, simulation games and informative readings of the class material extends beyond course parameters, making for a vibrant learning environment.”





Award for Excellent Feedback and Communication

For being approachable, responsive, providing excellent feedback and being willing to use innovative communication to help students develop and understand

Winner: Rosa Runhardt, Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

“Her formative essay marking is tough but consistent and principled – I never went frustrated or unchallenged when writing an essay for the course. She even ran a coursework surgery session to get our summative work on track.”

“She recommends that some papers be adapted for publication and makes suggestions as to how the paper could be worked on to make it of Journal standard.”


Highly commended: Dr Martin Hearson, International Relations

“Martin has taken over all four classes of the course after some issues with the lecturer. He immediately took the new students in hand, opening long office hours, sending extra emails to explain our assessed essay and talking to everyone about the project.”

“The nominee has been the best class teacher I have had in my three years at LSE. He has gone above and beyond, providing handouts and case studies every week in order to improve my understanding of the subject”


Highly commended: Meredith Whitten, Geography and Environment

“Meredith is by far the best teacher I've had during my time at LSE with regard to feedback. She painstakingly reviews essays and gave back almost a full A4 page in feedback for mine. She then spent over an hour discussing my essay with me giving me pointers on how to improve both the content of my essay and my technique, explaining what she (and other markers) would be looking for whilst both breaking down the mark scheme and how she marks. This feedback has not only helped me with the module that she teaches, but helped in other assessed work in other courses.”





Award for Professional Mentoring and Personal Development

For adding value beyond the traditional academic reach, helping students to develop professionally and to add value to their skill set

Winner: Robert Charnock, Accounting

“Outside of class he has been more than a teacher but also a mentor and friend - giving personal advice from his experiences and going out of his way to help me discover my true passions in life and where to take my skills to explore career paths”

“He helped me devise a plan to network with people in an industry I am interested in working in and he often checked on how I was doing. He goes above and beyond.”


Highly commended: Neil Lee, Geography and Environment

“He gives thorough advice for academic and professional projects very easily. He deploys a great bunch of tips to maintain a good and balanced atmosphere among the students and mingle our skills so that we improve altogether.”

“Neil has been overwhelmingly supportive throughout my years at LSE. He was able to provide feedback for my Masters personal statement. He also offers extremely valuable insight on courses and career paths to help me determine mine.”


Highly commended: Abby Innes, European Institute

“She has always been helpful to keep moving to the next possible academic level such as giving honest reasons when she thought a dissertation topic needed to be changed. Each time I had a conversation with her, even if it was just for 5 minutes, I felt that she added value to my experience at LSE and that I was able to keep going in the Master programme.”





Award for Exceptional Contribution to Teaching

For being consistently exceptional in all areas of teaching, being nominated repeatedly in recent years and for being valued by a vast number and range of students at LSE

Winner: Dr Shakuntala Banaji, Media and Communications and Winner of the 2015 European Award for Excellence in Teaching

“She is an incredible inspiring person and always offers us critical and reflexive thoughts. At the same time, she is the most enthusiastic teacher I have ever met in my life and she fully dedicate herself to teaching.”

“What makes her exceptionally charismatic (magnetic really) and effective as a teacher is that despite her proven depth of knowledge of her topics and efficiency in getting students to engage, she is down-to-earth and approachable at all times”


Awards on film

A short film with students talking about their nominations for the LSESU Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards can be watched here.


LSE Class Teacher Awards 


Class Teacher Awards are nominated by academic departments in recognition of the special contribution made by graduate teaching assistants, teaching fellows and guest teachers to their work.

  • Accounting:  Rodney Brown, Nadine De-Gannes

  • Anthropology: Clara Miranda Sheild-Johansson, Anna Tuckett, Martyn Wemyss

  • Economic History: Flora Macher, Brian Varian

  • Economics: Clare Balboni, Svetlana Chekmasova, Alexia Delfino, Thomas Drechsel, Jason Garred, Reka Juhasz, William Matcham, Stephan Maurer, Ana McDowall, Clement Minaudier, Niclas Moneke, Frank Pisch, Federico Rossi, Francesco Sannino, Luke Taylor

  • Finance: James Clark, Alex Clymo, Alex Koriath, Paula Lopes, Luana Zaccaria

  • Gender Institute: Jacob Breslow, Emma Spruce

  • Geography and Environment: Alice Evans, Ashley Gorst, Ganga Shreedhar

  • Government: Erifylli Bertsou, Moritz Schmoll, Maria Werdine-Norris, Gregor Wolkenstein

  • International Development: Hazel Gray, Anna Macdonald, Silvia Masiero

  • International History: Sarah Ashraf, Sajjansing Gohel, Cornelius Heere, Andrea Mason, Stuart Minson, Lauren Young

  • Language Centre: Natasha Bershadski, Roser Martinez-Sanchez

  • Law: Cressida Auckland, Anthony Jones, Manuel Penades-Fons, Simon Witney

  • LSE100: Mark Hill, Natasha Marhia, Chris Parkes, Daniel Strieff

  • Mathematics: Elisabeth Grieger, Matthew Jenssen, Philip Johnson, Tony Whelan, Georgios Zouros

  • Management: Ahmad Abu-Khazneh, Rebecca Campbell, Enrico Rossi

  • Media and Communications: Sally Broughton-Micova

  • Methodology: Kevin Corti, Jack Cunliffe

  • Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method: Simon Beard, Alexandru Marcoci, James Nguyen, Nicolas Wuethrich

  • Social Policy: Diana Quirmbach, Bert Provan, Liz Bailey

  • Social Psychology: Satkeen Azizzadeh, Apurv Chauhan, Imara Rolston

  • Sociology: Manmit Bhambra, Richard Seymour, Paul Thornbury

  • Statistics: Anastasia Kakou, Milt Mavrakakis, Jose Pina-Sanchez



LSE Teaching Awards Reception 2015

All of this year’s teaching awards were presented at an evening reception on 5 May, co-hosted by LSE’s Teaching and Learning Centre and the LSESU, and held in The Venue, Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, with music provided by The Critique of Pure Rhythm. The reception followed a successful Teaching Symposium which addressed the idea of an LSE education. Read Simeon Underwood’s opening address, reproduced on the teaching blog, and the #anLSEeducation feed, which is still welcoming contributions.


For more about teaching and learning at LSE ...

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