Search our site
Search our site

Kingston University academics awarded National Teaching Fellowships for outstanding contributions to inclusive educational practice

Posted Thursday 3 August 2023

Kingston University academics awarded National Teaching Fellowships for outstanding contributions to inclusive educational practice

Two Kingston University academics from the Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education have been recognised with prestigious National Teaching Fellowships (NTF) by Advance HE for their contributions to inclusive teaching and enhancing the student experience.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.

Professor Neil Williams, who is the Faculty's Interim Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, and Associate Professor of Social Work Yvalia Febrer, social work and social care courses lead, are among 55 academics from across the UK to receive the accolade this year.   

Professor Williams has taught chemistry at Kingston University since 1999 and has maintained a long-standing commitment to increasing participation, retention and the attainment of students from under-represented backgrounds in the chemical sciences and more broadly across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

A feature of his work has been the use and promotion of active learning methods in his own teaching, and across both Kingston University and the wider science sector. He has developed a community of scholarship of teaching and learning inside and outside the University through championing the evaluation and dissemination of good learning and teaching practice and student support.

This work has included establishing the Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference as an annual event since 2016, alongside a deep commitment to engaging academics with the UK Professional Standards Framework and professional recognition of teaching and learning. Professor Williams has also sought to advance the development of inclusive science curricula that students can see themselves reflected in, sharing his learnings across the sector, as well as establishing two student-staff research partnership schemes, incorporating a strong focus on supporting under-represented students and closing degree awarding gaps.

"It is particularly pleasing to receive this award as a key focus of my work has been on increasing the profile of teaching and associated scholarship in STEM higher education at both Kingston University and nationally," Professor Williams said. "My approach to teaching has focused on responding to the changing backgrounds and needs of our students across the last twenty years. Having this understanding has been key to developing socially just and inclusive curricula and student-staff research partnership schemes, which I've been proud to have achieved."

Yvalia Febrer has worked in the University's Department of Social Work and Social Care since 2017 and leads on student voice and experience for her Faculty's students. Before entering higher education, she worked in child protection as a frontline social worker and social work manager, then as the founding programme director of start-up social enterprise, Frontline.

A passionate advocate of upskilling those training to work with children and young people across social care, she has actively championed the agenda for social pedagogy as a way to give those working in children's social care a coherent value-base, knowledge and skillset.

By building partnerships with regional and national employers to improve students' employability skills and embedding employer engagement at all levels of the Working with Children and Young People: Social Pedagogy BA(Hons) degree programme that she led, Ms Febrer has made Kingston University a focal point for social pedagogy in the UK.  

Within her role as Co-Chair of the Social Pedagogy Professional Association for the UK and Ireland, she has partnered with professional associations in related disciplines to bring together work with young people across social care, youth work and education. Ms Febrer is also an editor on the board of the International Journal of Social Pedagogy (UCL Press) and a founding member of the Global Alliance for Social Pedagogy and Social Education.

"It is a real honour to receive this accolade for my commitment to professionalising social care work with young people, but also to celebrating staff and student diversity," she said. "As course director for a degree focused on working with children and young people, I embedded social pedagogy, which created a professional identity, skill and competence, leading us to produce the first qualified social pedagogy practitioners in the UK."

In addition to her learning and teaching role, she has held several positions relating to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at the University, serving on committees, working groups, and advisory bodies, and was the founding Chair of the University's LGBTQIA+ staff network.

Kingston University Provost Professor Helen Laville said the fellowship awards recognised the contributions both academics had made to teaching and learning in their respective fields, both within the University and across the higher education sector. "Neil and Yvalia have demonstrated real passion for and leadership in delivering excellent inclusive teaching and supporting professional practice," she said. "Their achievements are a testament to how dedication, innovation and a commitment to equity-driven teaching can truly make a difference to student outcomes, placing the student experience at the centre of everything they do." 

Congratulating the new National Teaching Fellows, Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, said the accolades recognise and reward their commitment to teaching and learning and the impact it has on student success. "It is with great pride that we run these awards for the UK higher education sector designed to celebrate these passionate people who make such a difference to students' education and to the practice of their colleagues," she said.

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us