The winner of the 2013 Student Academic Choice Award for Best Teaching for Postgraduates was Professor Andrew Purvis, of the Division of Ecology & Evolution at Silwood Park.
I moved to Imperial's Silwood campus as a research fellow in 1995, having done my PhD and a postdoc in the Zoology Department at Oxford. My research has two main themes - understanding why biodiversity is distributed the way it is around the world and across major groups, and analysing why some species decline rapidly in the face of human impacts while others don't. My main current project (www.predicts.org.uk) aims to build a global model of how local biodiversity responds to anthropogenic changes. In November 2013, I moved to the Natural History Museum to pursue my research, though I'll keep an involvement at Imperial as part of the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems & the Environment Initiative.
"He is a great lecturer because he's not afraid to challenge us with work that at first seems difficult"
Reaction to winning a SACA:
"I've always loved teaching, and Imperial's students are as good as you could hope to have. Being nominated by the students I taught was therefore really gratifying, and winning was the icing on the cake."
Quotations from Professor Purvis' nominations:
"Andy has been an exceptional teacher for the Biodiversity Informatics and Genomics (BIG) masters course. His use of anecdotes in lectures help put the science into perspective. As well as normal lectures he runs a series of 'workshop' sessions in which he has covered topics such as applying for PhD's, CV, interview techniques, designing good research projects. However, unlike much of the generic advice we're used to being given his sessions are really incredibly helpful, as he is a world-class known professor in Ecology and has reviewed a lot of applications etc he gives us a unique field specific insight and edge in applying for research based work post-masters. Thoughout the normal teaching lectures he always provides clear enthusiastic lectures. His practicals are also good, because he challenges us to think through the statistical analysis of the work we're doing and is on hand to explain it clear simple language if we don't understand something. I think to summarize he is a great lecturer because he's not afraid to challenge us with work that at first seems difficult, but is able to provide support and guidance to enable us to do complicated statistical and spatial analysis work while fully understanding what we're doing.”