Top Teaching Award for University Academic

An academic at the University of Worcester has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy, it has been announced today.

This is the top award for those teaching at universities across the country – with only 55 awarded nationally each year.

Lerverne Barber, Deputy Head of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, has been successful in earning the award.

“I am delighted and honoured to have received this award,” she said.

“I have been passionate about learning and teaching my whole career.

“Throughout my work, I have always had the same over-arching goal, to ensure that all students, regardless of gender, ability, ethnicity, or socio-economic background are enabled to fulfil their academic potential.  This is my understanding of inclusive practice and a belief that I have actively promoted when working with students and colleagues at the University and with other organisations internationally.”

The University is internationally renowned for its work in the field of inclusive sport and is proud of its record of producing graduates who have gone on to make a real impact as coaches, teachers and volunteers.  Lerverne has contributed to this reputation through her role, leading initiatives within her discipline, her Institute, across the University and in countries such as China and Japan.

She recently shared her inclusive approach with a large audience, including representatives from many renowned sporting universities as well as the Japanese Paralympic Committee, at the Nippon Foundation in Japan.

She has been invited to relay her expert knowledge of teaching and learning in a series of seminars to students and staff at Beijing Sports University.

Lerverne, who began her career as a secondary school PE teacher before working with teachers as a Physical Education Adviser and spending the last 15 years at the University, is also a key member of the team behind the first International Inclusive Sport Education conference in Beijing this October.

The National Teaching Fellowship (NTFs) scheme recognises, rewards and celebrates individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession.  The successful recipients were chosen from nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience.

Mick Donovan, the University’s Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development) and Head of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, said: “With a strong track record of leadership in educational innovation and student development, Lerverne’s recent appointment as Deputy Head of Institute owed much to her ability to develop and positively inspire staff and students.

“Lerverne has been instrumental in transforming our Institute’s approaches to learning and teaching and has been pro-active in sharing good practice and encouraging innovation.  The Institute’s success in encouraging staff to engage with learning and teaching innovations and developments is very much an outcome of Lerverne’s personal inspiration and leadership.

“We are extremely proud of her achievement in gaining this prestigious award and the national recognition she deserves.”

Sarah Dawes