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These awards aim to celebrate excellence in learning and teaching, its delivery, development and support and use a process which is underpinned by collegial thinking and student partnership, operating on the principles of equality, openness of process, and inclusivity to recognise  all staff who contribute to teaching and learning at Durham University. We also recognise that as well as being fair and transparent any nomination and review process must not add an onerous burden to either those nominating or those scrutinising.

General Nomination Principle

  • We have 3 sections of awards: those open to staff and student nominations, those open to student nominations and those open to staff nominations only with several categories of award in each section. All nominations must be for individuals who are contributing to teaching, learning, or student academic support in academic year 23/24 and are given through a short nominating statement. Self nomination is not possible.
  • The nominating statement would address the definition for the category of award and be at maximum 2100 characters (approx 300 words).
  • All staff who are nominated will be congratulated on their nomination, including details on who made the nomination and why.
  • All nominations will be considered for the awards, the quality of the nominations in each category being the primary consideration.
  • When an individual receives multiple nominations for an award it will be the quantity of each nomination that is considered not the overall number of nominations.

Award Categories

We’re delighted to announce that this year we will be holding combined awards in collaboration with the DSU. This has led to the following categories:

Combined categories (Staff and Student Nominators Possible):

  • Outstanding contribution to teaching

This award recognises individuals who have demonstrated commitment to student engagement and motivation, and have implemented innovative and effective teaching methods, which have positively impacted student learning outcomes. They will have responded to student needs and contributed to the development of curriculum and/or learning resources.

  • Excellence in Student Academic Support

This award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to supporting learning and teaching activities, that goes significantly beyond that which would normally be expected in their role and have shown collaborative efforts that foster a supportive academic environment. Additionally, the individual will have demonstrated commitment to student engagement and motivation.

  • Excellence in Research Student Supervision

This award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to supervising and supporting doctoral researchers in their personal, professional and career development through their doctoral studies. Nominations from colleagues and supervised students are welcome in this category.

  • Unsung Hero of Teaching and Learning

This award recognises individuals who have provided exceptional support to others in the area of teaching and learning, going over-and-above to support students and/or colleagues. The individual will have contributed to creating a positive and collaborative work environment and academic community without seeking recognition.

Outstanding contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment through the implementation of strategies that promote equity and diversity in teaching and support services. Furthermore, this award rewards initiatives that enhance cultural competency and awareness and advocacy for underrepresented groups.

Staff Categories (Nominators must be Durham Staff):

  • Most impactful innovation in teaching and learning

This award recognises an individual who has researched, developed and evaluated a new, different and innovative approach to teaching and learning. To actively develop a culture of innovation, we welcome applications regardless of how directly successful the innovation is. Regardless of the outcome the nomination should reflect the lessons learned from the work and how this has led to a new approach to teaching and learning.

  • Inspirational Educator

This award recognises an individual who has delivered exceptional motivation and inspiration as educator to other educators. They will have gone above and beyond to provide innovative and purposeful tools to engage learners and have made a positive impact on the curriculum and/or learning resources.

Student Categories (Nominators must be Durham Students):

  • Academic Tutor of the year

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated commitment to facilitating a positive and engaging learning environment, has been effective in supporting students’ understanding, and has been an approachable, motivational, and inspiring tutor, guiding students in their academic pursuits.

  • Support Staff of the year

This awards recognises an individual with exceptional responsiveness and support in addressing student needs and concerns. They will also demonstrate commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment, providing positive interactions with students, as well as collaborative efforts to enhance the overall student experience.


Nominations will be made via this online for


The timetable for the 2023-2024 awards will be:

Announcement of Competition1st February 2024
Deadline for receipt of applications18th March 2024
Panel meetings:Mid-April to Early May
Announcement to nominated applicants and those shortlisted as winner in each categoryMid-May
Awards Event:21st June 2024


A steering group composed of the DCAD Director, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), Deputy Executive Deans (Education), EDI Rep, DCAD Academic Development Advisors, DSU officers, Student Reps and DCAD Deputy Director (AE) will coordinate the awards scheme, organise representative sub-panels to shortlist 6 nominations for each award, decide on overall winners, plan the awards event, evaluate the success of the scheme and plan for the following year’s awards.

Awards Event

Invites to the awards event for shortlisted nominees in each category and panel members will be circulated in Late May. The Awards Event will include an afternoon tea and announcement of awards and presentation of certificates. Profiles of the successful candidates will be published on the DCAD Blog as exemplars of good practice in teaching and supporting student learning