Law Teacher of the Year Award stays in the capital as Westminster Professor wins
Professor Lisa Webley of the University of Westminster has been named Law Teacher of the Year 2016, fending off strong competition from lecturers from Bangor, Leicester, Nottingham Trent, Oxford, and Sheffield Hallam.
The prestigious national award, which is sponsored by Oxford University Press, was presented at the end of the inaugural Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching conference held in Oxford on Friday 1 July 2016.
Lisa is Professor of Empirical Legal Studies at Westminster Law School, and particularly impressed the judges with the way she weaves skills education into her teaching.
Accepting the award, Lisa said “this has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect on why we [teachers] do what we do, what we want to achieve, and what we stand for”. She also gave a special thanks to her colleagues and the Head at Westminster Law School for their openness to experimentation and creativity in teaching.
The six finalists shared a stage during a panel session at the conference attended by over 70 law academics, to explain their differing approaches to teaching and give delegates the chance to see exactly why they were nominated.
The announcement of the winner came after a lengthy and rigorous judging process which started in January. With nominations coming from about half of the eligible law schools in the UK, selecting a shortlist of just six proved a challenge for the judges.
After the selection of the six finalists, each candidate was visited by members of the judging panel, who conducted extensive interviews with students and colleagues as well as observing a typical teaching session.
The strength of the six finalists this year meant the judges’ decision was a difficult one. At the conference on Friday the judges paid tribute to all the candidates’ “commitment, dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and innovation”.
On presenting the Award to Lisa, outgoing Law Teacher of the Year, Professor Jane Holder of University College London, commented on how winning the Award herself has given her the confidence to test out new teaching methods she has been considering for years.
Expand the sections below to find out more about each of the candidates:
- Jo Boylan-Kemp, Nottingham Trent University
- Steve Evans, University of Leicester
- Lucinda Ferguson, University of Oxford
- Yvonne McDermott Rees, Bangor University
- Jennifer Sloan, Sheffield Hallam University
Friday 8th January
The judging panel carefully consider all the nominations individually before meeting to draw up a shortlist of six finalists.
February – April
Two members of the judging panel visit each of the six shortlisted candidates to:
- Observe a teaching session;
- Interview a group of students, including some who participated in the observed session;
- Interview two of the candidate’s teaching colleagues;
- Interview the candidate’s Head of Department;
- Interview the candidate themselves.
Each of these sessions is either video or audio recorded so that it can be shared with the remaining members of the judging panel.
Students past and present are invited to produce a short video in support of their teacher.
The judging panel are sent the recordings from each of the campus visits and the student videos for their consideration. All four members of the panel then meet to discuss each candidate and decide the winner.
The winner is announced at a day-long law teaching event in Oxford, which will give candidates and other lecturers the opportunity to share knowledge, build connections, and showcase their achievements. Click to find out more and register to attend.