Dr Sarah Gretton named as an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow 2021

Dr Sarah Gretton, Director of the Natural Sciences programme and institutional lead for Education of Sustainable Development (ESD) at the University of Leicester, has been named as one of Advance HE’s National Teaching Fellows 2021.

The scheme began in 2000, and celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education. 

Dr Gretton is named as one of 55 new National Teaching Fellows this year.

Since her appointment as Programme Director, Sarah has re-designed and redeveloped the Natural Sciences course enhancing the key features of the programme: interdisciplinary problem based learning framed within a student research journey. Her philosophy of recognising the importance of supporting student subject and skills development, ‘not just teaching science but creating scientists’ has resulted in improved student experience and outcomes. 

Dissemination of her innovations and practice have led to opportunities and invitations to support STEM academics and programmes, nationally and internationally. Her leadership of ESD has resulted in 98% of University of Leicester undergraduate students receiving teaching aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the University achieving a top 10 ranking in the People and Planet Awards. 

Sarah has reached the finals of the UK Bioscience Teacher of Year and Green Gown Awards in Sustainability Champion and Continuous Improvement categories. Most recently, she led a successful application by the Natural Sciences programme team for a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

Speaking about her accomplishment, Dr Gretton said: “Receiving this award is a huge honour, and I’m delighted that the Natural Sciences and Sustainability teaching initiates I had worked on have been recognised by this accolade. 

“I’d also like to acknowledge all the support I have received from Leicester colleagues over the years; I started my teaching career at the University so this award is reflection of the fantastic environment the University has fostered to allow educators to develop.”  

Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, said: “I am delighted to congratulate the 2021 NTFS and CATE awardees on their achievements. This year marks the 1000th National Teaching Fellowship award. Over the years, each and every NTF has made an impact on the sector – both on the students they teach and on their fellow teaching staff who look to them for inspiration and guidance. 

“It’s also very gratifying to see the quality of teamwork represented this year – the CATE awards really have become part of the sector landscape. Teamwork has been especially important in the past year with the challenges for teaching and learning as a result of social distancing and in the autumn we will publish case studies highlighting this excellent collaborative effort. I am sure that institutions will value these examples as we start to return to the best of in-person teaching complemented by excellent online delivery.

“Well done to each and every awardee on this outstanding achievement.”