Canterbury Christ Church University lecturer, Rayya Ghul, received a prestigious national teaching award at a special ceremony at Middle Temple Hall, London, on Friday (3rd October).
Rayya Ghul, 52, a Senior Lecturer of Occupational Therapy working in Canterbury Christ Church University’s Department of Allied Health Professions, was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.
National Teaching Fellowships recognise individuals who make an outstanding impact on the student learning experience. Universities across England and Northern Ireland were asked to nominate members of their staff who could demonstrate excellence.
Rayya was one of fifty academics who achieved a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy at the black tie dinner. She was presented with ВЈ10,000, which may be used for her personal and/or professional development in teaching and learning.
Speaking after the award ceremony, Rayya said: “It was wonderful to meet all 50 of the 2008 National Teaching Fellows for the very first time. As we mingled and exchanged stories, the feeling of excitement mounted. It was interesting to discover that we came from very different backgrounds in terms of subjects and experience. I was thrilled to find myself in the same cohort as Sir David Watson from the Institute of Education, a man whose books I had read when taking my Master’s degree in Educational Studies. However, there were also many ‘ordinary’ lecturers like me and, in my view, the Higher Education Academy encouraged as well as rewarded excellence in teaching and learning.”
Rayya continued: “As each National Teaching Fellow went up to receive their award I felt enormously proud to be part of the gathering. As I looked around the beautiful Elizabethan banqueting hall, I felt a sense of personal satisfaction. I was being rewarded for all my hard work and had earned the right to be there. When it was my turn to take the stage I didn’t feel nervous, just incredibly happy. I know there are many other staff at Canterbury Christ Church University who deserve to be recognised for their contribution to teaching and learning and I hope that next year we will be able to add another National Teaching Fellow to the honoured list.”
Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University and Chair of the Advisory Panel for the National Teaching Fellowship Awards, said: “These Fellows represent a diversity of disciplines and specialisms from a range of higher education institutions. Their achievements in promoting excellence in teaching and learning are hugely impressive and of great benefit to students and staff across the higher education sector.”
If you are a member of the media and would like an interview with or photograph of Rayya Ghul, please contact Canterbury Christ Church University’s Media Relations Officer, Claire Draper, on 01227 782391.
Rayya Ghul’s profile
Rayya Ghul is a Senior Lecturer of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Canterbury Christ Church University who works within the Department of Allied Health Professions.
Rayya believes in the power of higher education to transform lives and her passion for improving the student learning process is irrepressible.
According to Rayya, OT is a profession that focuses on enabling people to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives based on the activities they want and need to do. Since she first joined the Department in 2001, Rayya’s principle aim has been for her students to understand OT’s unique professional focus. In 2003, the OT programme was re-validated and Rayya was active in encouraging the academics to put ‘occupation’ at the heart of all of the teaching modules.
Rayya designed a first year course called ‘Participation in Occupations’ which focused on the core philosophy of the importance of participation in everyday life. She also contributed substantially to two second year OT modules, ‘Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice’ and ‘Strategies for Enabling Change’.
Rayya is interested in promoting and developing active learning strategies in higher education and believes that learning should be a transformative experience for both students and staff alike. In terms of enhancing and promoting the student learning process, Rayya feels her particular strength lies in helping students to engage confidently with complex concepts.
With her colleague Ian Marsh, she developed a pioneering critical thinking tool called ‘Contexts of Participation’ which has received international acclaim for its groundbreaking contribution to the development of the theory base of Occupational Science.
Rayya believes that teaching should be a collaborative process and regularly invites service users and carers to speak at mini conferences to ensure students learn from their perspectives.
“From a learning perspective this is a wonderful way to be taught, very thought provoking and a lesson in humanity.” (OT student 2007).
Rayya is a staff mentor who inspires her colleagues as well as her students.
“In my two years as a lecturer, Rayya has been an inspiration.” (OT colleague).
Rayya won a Teaching Excellence Award from the University in 2006 and is an expert on solution focused brief therapy. In 2007, her book ‘Creating Positive Futures: Solution Focused Recovery from Mental Distress’ is now core text of two modules on the University’s OT programme and recommended text to OT programmes across the UK.
The Higher Education Academy
The Higher Education Academy works with universities and colleges, discipline groups, individual staff and organisations to help them deliver the best possible learning experience for students. It has a triple focus on national policy, institutional support, and subject and staff development.
It is an independent organisation funded by grants from the four UK funding bodies, subscriptions from higher education institutions, and grant and contract income for specific initiatives. Its functions include the accreditation of programmes and of individuals as registered practitioners, research and evaluation, and a UK-wide Subject Network providing discipline-based support for learning and teaching.
Canterbury Christ Church University