University wins award for engineering teaching

Monday 18 June 2012
Lecturers Jonathan Haynes and Phil Leach receiving the award from the Institution of Structural Engineers President, John Nolan (centre)
Six years’ worth of improvements to the way in which structural engineering is taught at the University of Salford have won a prestigious industry education award.

The Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering Education was given by the Institution of Structural Engineers to lecturers who have introduced a range of challenging alterations that have seen a wholesale increase in satisfaction and attainment by students.

Doubling scores in student satisfactions surveys and a 50% increase in exam performance since 2006 has been the result of changes such as introducing technology like blogs, and feedback from former students who now work in industry.

One of the most important reasons for the award is the strong links with industry that stems from the lecturers’ experience as engineers in the field. This knowledge has led to the establishment of an industry advisory board which informs teaching and allows the recruitment of guest lecturers.

Laurence Weekes, MSc in Structural Engineering programme leader, said: “It is immensely satisfying to receive a prestigious award from such an eminent body as IStructE, especially when it comes from competition with some of the world’s leading educators; this is a reflection of the great effort we put into teaching our students.”

The industrial expertise is backed up by practical experience in the University’s testing facilities where student are able to work on genuine projects. They are then able to compare the results with structures that their lecturers have worked on during their careers.

Head of the School of Computing, Science & Engineering, Professor Sunil Vadera, said: “I'm very proud that our team's innovative approach to teaching has been recognised by their professional body, particularly since it again confirms that our courses are highly regarded and are equipping our graduates with the kind of engineering skills and knowledge that are needed by industry.”

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