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Daughter follows father in winning UK’s top teaching award

Ruth Healy teacher

Two geography academics have created a little bit of academic history after becoming the first father and daughter to win the UK sector’s highest teaching award.

Seventeen years after Mick Healey, then based at the University of Gloucestershire, was named by the Higher Education Academy as one of its first National Teaching Fellows (NTF) in 2000, his daughter Ruth Healey has claimed the same honour.

Dr Healey, a senior lecturer in human geography at the University of Chester, is one of 55 new National Teaching Fellows announced by the HEA on 31 August.

Dr Healey, who was 17 when she attended her father’s NTF ceremony, said that she was delighted to become the scheme’s first parent-child winners.

“I had said to my dad that it would be really nice, because of the 17-year symmetry, if my application were to be successful this year, but I didn’t really expect it to happen the first time as the process of becoming a National Teaching Fellow is so challenging,” she said.

“I suppose, with the next generation coming through, that things like this might occur as children follow in the footsteps of a parent career-wise,” Dr Healey added.

Dr Healey – whose grandfather Austin Healey was vice-principal of Writtle University College – has recently presented at the specialist land-based institution in Essex alongside her father, who is now a higher education consultant and researcher, as well as an emeritus professor at Gloucestershire.

Reflecting on his daughter’s success, Professor Healey said that she was “well ahead of me in that she’s received her NTF at an age when she’s almost 17 years younger than I was when I got mine”.

“I’m extremely proud of her, as indeed any parent would be, but being a National Teaching Fellow myself makes it that extra bit special,” he added.

In addition to the 55 new National Teaching Fellows, the HEA has also named 15 team finalists for the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE). From the shortlist, six institutions will be selected for a £15,000 award to promote their learning strategies.

The winners will be named at a ceremony in London on 1 November.

“The new NTFs and CATE finalists represent some of the very best teaching in higher education, and I am sure they will inspire others as we share their innovative practice and ideas across the sector,” said Stephanie Marshall, the HEA’s chief executive.

“The UK is justifiably proud of its higher education sector, and its reputation is enhanced by the examples of excellent teaching highlighted by these awards,” she added.

Culled from Times Higher Education.

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