Academics from DMU win two prestigious national teaching awards


Academics from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been presented with two of the most prestigious teaching awards in higher education.

The CrashEd project, led by DMU lecturer Dr Angela O’Sullivan, picked up a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) from Advance HE at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh last week. The award recognises and celebrates outstanding collaborative impact in teaching and only 15 awards were given nationally this year.

The CrashEd team also received a Spotlight Award, which highlights particular aspects of collaborative practice and collaborations from which the broader higher education sector can benefit.


CrashEd is an immersive crime scene which engages students using a real crashed car, actors, mannequins and special make-up effects including bullet holes, blood spatter and stab wounds.

The inter-disciplinary team is made up of DMU lecturers Angela O’Sullivan, Annette Crisp, Mark Fowler and Leisa Nicholls-Drew from the faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and Marie Bassford and Joanne Bacon from the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media.

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The DMU lecturers collaborated with Leicester College’s artistic make-up lecturer Marisol Martinez-Lees and PC Tim O’Donnell of Leicestershire Police and also engaged artistic make-up special effects students as co-creators.

Dr O'Sullivan, who is an Associate Professor and Head of Widening Participation in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “I’m absolutely delighted and immensely proud to have led the CrashEd team who have all shown excellence in their diverse expertise and their collaborative approach to teamwork.

“To not only win a CATE award but receive the extra recognition of a Spotlight award is testament to the work of the whole team and shows the positive impact that this project has had on teaching and learning. We’re now keen to disseminate the model of working collaboratively both within our university and externally.”

CrashEd CATE 2

At the same ceremony, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry Dr Jo Rushworth became one of the youngest winners of a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) award.

In her four years of lecturing at DMU, Dr Rushworth has championed Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and helped to lead the design and teaching of the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education for new lecturers.

Jo’s unconventional lecturing methods include using chocolate, songs and scratch cards to teach her own subject, biochemistry, and she is keen for her students to co-create their own lectures.

Dr O’Sullivan, who won an NTF award last year and has acted as a mentor for Dr Rushworth, added: “Jo’s NTF success at such an early stage of her career is equally phenomenal. It has been a privilege to mentor her and it is wonderful to see her enthusiasm and innovative approach to teaching and learning recognised nationally, it was magical to receive the awards together.”

Alison Johns, chief executive of Advance HE, congratulated the winners. She said: “The whole sector joins me in saluting the success of each and every one of you. These awards are an opportunity to highlight the fact that great teaching is thriving in UK universities.”
Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018

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