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Awards for inspirational Highland staff and students


By Andrew Dixon

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Stephen Duncan with computing students.
Stephen Duncan with computing students.

There was double delight for Stephen Duncan at the annual Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) Awards.

The computing lecturer at Inverness College UHI was crowned most engaging online tutor and won the accolade for best assessment feedback.

Students described him as a truly inspiring and passionate lecturer who goes above and beyond to help his students.

Stephen Duncan.
Stephen Duncan.

“I absolutely love my job and find it incredibly rewarding, so to win two awards from students is truly humbling, I feel ecstatic,” said Mr Duncan, from Alness.

The HISA Awards give students the chance to thank academic staff, support staff and students who have inspired and supported them throughout the year. The categories are judged by a student panel and winners are selected on the quality of the nomination.

HISA represents more than 37,000 students across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions.

The college’s Ian Blyth, programme leader for the university’s BA (Hons) literature degree, was named most inspiring lecturer for his ability to recognise the potential in people and his engaging, caring approach to teaching.

Ian Blyth.
Ian Blyth.

One student said: “He is always fighting for us, always available and concerned with the wellbeing – both physical and mental – of his students.”

Nikki Perrin, a college psychology lecturer, from Dores, was named most engaging video conference tutor.

Nikki Perrin.
Nikki Perrin.

Former RAF serviceman Alan MacLeod, from Inverness, is the college’s cultural and creative industries technician and picked up the above and beyond staff award in recognition of his support for students.

Alan MacLeod.
Alan MacLeod.

Two college students also picked up awards, with HND contemporary art practice student Julie Williams collecting the student version of the above and beyond gong in recognition of her support for fellow students, while Jack Reid, an MRes in creative practice student, won the most inspiring student accolade for his work in the creative industries.

HISA president Flo Jansen said: “We hope that the awards show our appreciation of the amazing work going on behind the scenes every day. We’re so grateful to be able to celebrate these successes.”

College principal Professor Chris O’Neil said staff have been supporting students through a very difficult period due to the pandemic.

“As well as providing real-time support, staff have been building on our experience of delivering teaching remotely via blended learning to enhance the student experience and build the confidence of our students during this period of home study.”

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