A long-standing commitment to helping dancers across the UK develop as professionals, and for promoting community-led dance, has seen University of Roehampton lecturer Sara Houston receive a National Teaching Fellowship award.
Posted: 8 October 2014
Dr Houston joins a select group of under 700 academics across the UK who have become fellows since the scheme began in 2000. She is the first lecturer in dance in London to become a fellow and the first in the country for 10 years in her field.
An ‘honoured’ Dr Houston, also chair of the Foundation for Community Dance, said: “These fellowships raise awareness of the importance of great teaching and that’s so vital, especially when students are deciding which universities to apply to.
“Roehampton has developed a close working relationship between lecturers and students which has led to some really innovative practice and so, although this is an individual award, my thanks go to colleagues and students for their support.
“The on-going thinking and conversations we have at the University, and within the community dance profession, have led to really exceptional ideas, which I’ve been lucky to be able to help develop and share. I believe that we should share the motivation and inspiration we can gain from teaching students for the benefit of the whole profession.”
Through her work, Dr Houston has raised the profile of dance as a career, helping to give the University’s degrees an international reputation. She has turned students into advocates for dance, and expanded people’s understanding of what a career in dance could include. She has brought professional focus, theory and pride to the community and participatory dance sector, placing it on a par with major set piece performances.
National Teaching Fellowships are the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching. Dr Houston was chosen from among 180 nominations, and will receive £10,000 to spend on professional development. What she learns will be shared with other staff and will directly benefit Roehampton students.
The fellowships are organised by the UK’s Higher Education Academy organisation and are funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Fellows are nominated by their university and submissions had to show evidence of individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.
Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “Students deserve the best possible learning experience and it is lecturers like Sara who can make a real difference to their futures. I wish her all the success in her learning and teaching experiences.”
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