And the 2015 SACA winners are...

The 2015 Student Academic Choice Awards (SACAs) Ceremony was held in the Union Concert Hall on the evening of Monday 11 May.

The SACAs are Imperial College Union's flagship event for empowering students to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence amongst College staff.

This year there was a record breaking number of nominations, with 407 members of staff receiving at least one nomination. The total number of nominations received was a staggering 808! Over 120 students & staff attended the ceremony, where eight SACA Trophies were awarded.

Each award had a video testimonial from students who nominated the shortlisted candidates, speaking about the impact and difference they had made.

The winners were as follows:

 Dr John Pinney


Dr John Pinney, Life Sciences

He is highly approachable and will always make time for students if they wish to meet with him above and beyond those weekly meetings. I have never been turned away, ignored or rebuffed in the time that he has been my supervisor

He gives me the freedom to try out new projects whilst keeping me on track to finish with a well-structured PhD. He also gives great support when I come to him with fragmented ideas, in need of a sounding board to help me weave them together into a coherent project. 

Further to his academic support, he is trustworthy and listens when you have concerns about your studies, whether they are direct issues about your academic progress, or more personal issues that may affect your studies. His openness and approachability is invaluable. Moreover, John has also encouraged me and helped me to grow in confidence.

John should be awarded for his committed dedication to his students, their academic success and their welfare.

 Martin Holloway


Martin Holloway, Bioengineering

There are far too many reasons as to why Mr Holloway is loved by all the department - some could say it's the quirky sense of humour that he brings to lectures, or his significant talent in the department as a drummer and goalkeeper, or simply the fact that he is one of hte most pleasant and polite members of College altogether.

Personally, I almost lost all faith in myself. Not just because of academic demands, but honestly a world crumbling around me. To have someone calm, determined and actually believe in me does wonders. Mr Holloway has sacrificed time, effort and his own personal endeavours to help us measly undergrads! It isn't every day you find someone like that - he is a really gem! So I speak on behalf of a few dozen people here: THANK YOU MR H!


Claudia Schulz


Claudia Schulz, Computing

The lectures were well-prepared, the presentation was enthusiastic and clear, the material was of good quality. Claudia incorporated the use of an online questionnaire to make the lectures even more interactive with great short mid-lecture tutorial sessions. She has also piloted a software for helping students understand a part of the abstract argumentation topic. She has been great at providing feedback... with tutorials having appropriate level of difficulty and amount of workload..

 Steve Cook


Dr Steve Cook, Life Sciences

Dr Cook's teaching caters for all - he finds a way to stretch and challenge students of all abilities, with no limit as to how much detail he is willing to go into. An honest and friendly man, he makes learning seem like more of a journey than a job. His lectures feel personal because his enthusiasm and passion show throughout each one, really helping to foster curiosity and encourage further study. Beyond lectures, Dr Cook provides support promptly, no matter how you contact him. In the lab, he is approachable and willing to help out with absolutely anything. As a lecturer, mentor and friend, I truly believe there is nobody who would do this job better

 Anup Jethwa


Anup Jethwa, Medicine - Northwick Park

Anup is a champion for her students. Over her many years as the teaching coordinator at Northwick Park Hospital she has been a constant support for the many students on placement there... Anup's commitment to the students really makes her stand out, she is a shining star amongst the support staff in the medical school and an unsung hero.

 Dr Elizabeth Hauke


Dr Elizabeth Hauke, Horizons & Science Communication

Dr Hauke is teaching the Horizons course 'Lessons from History', a new course, for the first time. This cause has been very well developed and has made use of several innovative and unusual methods in teaching that have really impressed us as students and provided an experience far more though-provoking than previous Horizons courses that I have done (and indeed previous Physics courses). 

The main thrust of her work has been to promote team-based learning exercises, something that I have never tried before. This allows us to choose our own questions to research, focus our research on a specific part of a team question and then undertake a series of assessments; first individually and then as a team. 

These have been great as it has given us the freedom to develop our research in ways that are only possible because we have the chance to re-try a topic as a team, and the benefit of doing it individually first is that we have been exposed to the advantages and challenges of working as a team. 

Assessment has also been novel, involving the use of scratchcards and votes for the correct 'answer' taken as a team; which has maintained focus throughout rather than boring us with the same, repetitive styles.

 Pascal Loose


Dr Paul Mitcheson, Electrical & Electronic Engineering

The second term of the third year in EEE is purely coursework based, and as such feedback becomes a huge part of the learning experience. Without understanding where and what has gone wrong, a full grip of the material is close to impossible. Dr Mitcheson has fully understood this, and provides excellent feedback through out the entire course. 

His dedication to feedback goes beyond his fast turnaround for report grading. Having set up 3 hours of labs a week, which is not set out by the department, he allows you to ask questions and ask for personal feedback on either past or current exercises. 

I've been wholly impressed by Dr Mitcheson's contributions to the course and to the department as a whole. In his position as third year organiser, he has extended his mentality on strict feedback cycles and concepts of continual feedback to other courses. As such, I feel there is no better person that Dr Mitcheson to take this award for the 2014/15 year.

 Dr Michael Jones


Dr Michael Jones, Medicine - Hammersmith

For his sheer enthusiasm and willingness to always go the extra mile when it comes to helping his students, Dr Jones thoroughly deserves to win this award… He is an outstanding teacher, lecturer, supervisor and tutor. The education we receive from him gives credit to the name Imperial College London. As well as this he has an attitude and passion for education that most staff could learn a lot from. An inspiring man who deserves the award.


Closing the event, Prof James Stirling, Provost of Imperial College London, said

"The SACAs are not only an important event in Imperial College Union's annual calendar; they are an important event in the College's calendar too... I would like to personally congratulate all the nominees for tonight's awards and particularly, of course, the winners"

Thank you to all student nominators and staff nominees, and congratulations to our SACAs 2015 winners!

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