A lecturer from the University of Reading has been named as the Higher Education Psychology Teacher of the Year.
Dr Alana James, who is the school director of teaching and learning for student experience and the school director of academic tutoring, was presented with the award on Wednesday 5 June during the annual conference of the British Psychological Society Division of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology (BPS DARTP).
Dr James said: ‘I feel delighted and honoured to win this award. I am passionate about teaching and student support in higher education, and I am grateful to all the fantastic students and colleagues I’ve worked with.’
The new award, which is supported by the BPS DARTP and Oxford University Press, aims to recognise and reward exceptional teaching talent.
Facing strong competition from esteemed academics from across the country, Dr James impressed the judges with her case study on university-school mentoring to support the transition of students both into and out of higher education.
Dr James’ research focuses on peer support and mentoring in educational settings, including support for students with mental health conditions and autism.
She teaches research methods and skills and delivers training for education professionals in using interviews and focus groups.
The Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology and panel member for the award, Dr Julie Hulme said: ‘Alana really impressed the judges at every stage of the Higher Education Psychology Teacher of the Year process – her application, interview and presentation all demonstrated a passionate commitment to the student experience, and to developing evidence-based practices to support student learning.
‘Her work not only benefits her students, but also her colleagues and the wider psychology education community, through her dissemination of excellent teaching and student support.’
Dr James is a Senior Fellow of the HEA, a member of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust FE and HE Advisory Board, and the British Psychological Society’s Undergraduate Education Committee.