Sunday, August 18, 2019
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A Broadford lecturer has received recognition for her work with the UHI.

Heather McNeill received "Best Academic Support" for her work as a lecturer on the NC Crofting and Countryside Skills with the West Highland College UHI.

The University of the Highlands and Islands was one of the first UK institutions to introduce student-led teaching awards. The initiative from the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA), now in its eighth year, recognises excellence in 14 categories, with winners coming from around the university partnership.

This year, six of the UHI staff have been commended or highly commended in various categories by students.

Heather was nominated by one of her students who commented “having been accepted onto my course with no confidence in myself, the encouragement I got was fantastic.  Heather made me see myself in a new way as a good person, I can’t explain just how much her chats meant to me and the good they did.  I went on to win “Further Education Student of the Year” and with her support have now passed my HNC Horticulture. Basically, with her encouragement I have achieved more than I ever thought possible – I’m even in the process of starting up my own business.”

Heather herself commented: “It is so rewarding to be appreciated by a student in this way, and it has been a real pleasure to watch Craig make such progress over the past two years."

Sue Macfarlane, vice principal academic affairs at West Highland College UHI congratulated Heather: “We are absolutely delighted that Heather’s commitment to her students has been recognised in this way.  While all of our lecturers and support staff do their absolute utmost to ensure that our students have the best possible experience and the best possible outcome to their studies, Heather has clearly gone the extra mile in providing encouragement and support when most needed.  To be recognised by her own students is praise indeed, and we add our many congratulations to Heather on receiving this award.”

Dr Iain Morrison, dean of students at the university, said: “You cannot fool a student: they know high quality learning and teaching and great student support when they see it. The fact that there was a record number of nominations, covering every part of the university, suggests that our staff continue to provide excellent teaching and support for the people whose feedback they care about most, their students. The student testimony from these awards is genuinely moving at times and anyone considering studying with us can be assured they will be in good hands.”

Holly Scrimgeour, president of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, said: “The HISA Awards are an excellent opportunity for our students to celebrate the people who have supported them throughout their studies and reward them for their efforts and contributions to university life. Our lecturers and support staff are vital to the student experience during study and these awards allow us an insight into who is going above and beyond to positively benefit our student population. The nominations are a delight to read. The HISA Awards also acknowledge our class representatives and clubs and societies ensuring that we celebrate those students who give their time and support to their classmates. It is an honour to give these awards.”

The NC Crofting and Countryside skills course at West Highland College UHI is available in Broadford, Isle of Skye, and attracts students of all ages and backgrounds from across Skye, Lochalsh, Lochaber and beyond.  The students study a range of industry approved training courses such as chainsaw use, pesticides and dry stone walling and combine classroom theory with practical hands on sessions in subject areas such as estate management, environmental studies, gardening, livestock and fisheries management.

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