'Hugely popular' lessons earn lecturer place in national awards finals

University of Roehampton social anthropologist Dr Michal Garapich is one of five finalists in the Times Higher Education magazine’s awards, in the most innovative teacher of the year category.

Posted: 9 September 2014

The awards are the most prestigious in the higher education sector and recognise exceptional talent, dedication and innovation in universities and colleges around the UK.

As well as teaching modules on urban anthropology, Dr Garapich is a research fellow at the Crucible Centre for Human Rights Research. He has written in-depth reports analysing communities in London boroughs including Lewisham, Redbridge, and Hammersmith and Fulham, and has studied the lives and experiences of of eastern and central European migrants living in the UK.

Dr Garapich is currently conducting research on housing and homelessness in Peru. His colleague Dr Michele Lamb, Head of Social Sciences at the University of Roehampton, said: “We are delighted for Michal, the Times Higher’s awards are very highly regarded because they are judged by such eminent academics.

“Michal has been shortlisted for the award which celebrates individual excellence in teaching, which Roehampton places great faith in. To hear such positive comments from his students is really heartening, and should encourage our new first years starting here next week that this is the standard of teaching they can expect.”

Judges from the Times Higher Education magazine’s editorial board heard Dr Garapich’s lectures were ‘hugely popular’, and his approach genuinely merged teaching and research through combining powerful learning with real-life experiences. One of his modules, on ethnography, has grown from his connections with a day centre for homeless people in Deptford, East London. Undergraduate students meet users there and their findings form the basis of independent student studies.

One of his students, Wendi Lowe, said: “Working with Michal was amazing. He gave us the opportunity to experience a whole new world and to get a better understanding of what it means to be homeless.”

Dr Garapich is competing against four other academics from five other universities and will find out whether he has won on 27 November.

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