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Scotland’s educators meet the teaching challenges of COVID-19 – awards shortlist announced!

SIE is pleased to announce the shortlist for the winners of the Imaginative Educators Awards, which celebrate the very best responses to the educational challenges facing colleges and universities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 has been a challenging year for educators, with courses having to make significant adjustments in teaching to allow students to safely continue their studies and graduate. The wide range of requirements for each course, particularly in more practical subjects typically requiring specialist equipment, represented an enormous challenge, and Scotland’s educators have worked hard to support their students in this New Normal.

Colleges and Universities were asked to nominate staff members and teams.

The finalists are:


Helena Good – Lecturer, HND Visual Design, Edinburgh College

Worked with the class of 2020 to replace final projects with real world briefs, matching students with charities and businesses affected by Covid-19.

Graeme Mair – Lecturer, HNC Coaching and Developing Sport, West Lothian College

Moved quickly to produce a mapping document and gather witness testimonies in support of students’ achievements and course completion, allowing them to graduate.

Steven Taylor – Lecturer, National Certificate in Photography, Dumfries & Galloway College

Reimagined his students’ portfolio project to create bodies of work about their lockdown experience and present them professionally online.

INDIVIDUALS – University

Kathleen Riach – Director, Responsible & Sustainable Management, University of Glasgow

Launched an intergenerational mentoring scheme, connecting students with over-50s to help develop digital access and confidence during lockdown.

Edward Pollock – Startup Coordinator, Robert Gordon University

Rapidly designed, developed and delivered RGU’s first Entrepreneurship Summer School, establishing a strong framework for future virtual activities.

Robert Pembleton – Enterprise Officer, Edinburgh Innovations, University of Edinburgh

Reworked planned events for safe and effective remote delivery, collaborating in depth to take full advantage of online and asynchronous work styles and innovate around a brand new approach to enterprise education.

TEAMS – College

Dance Studio Scotland @ Glasgow Clyde College

Created a unified dance piece by editing together choreography filmed by students in isolation, which in turn became the prototype for an innovative, collaborative approach to the virtual staging of an end of term ensemble performance.

Children’s Hearings Scotland Learning Academy, West Lothian College

Pivoted rapidly to highly flexible remote training for a student body with diverse access needs, and successfully delivered teaching within a tight window to allow candidates to be appointed to the Children’s Panel on time.

Plumbing and Gas Teaching Team, South Lanarkshire College

Developed a wide range of alternative tools and methods for conducting remote assessments, which were externally recognised and validated with such success that they were subsequently rolled out across the sector.

TEAMS – University

Employability Hub, Robert Gordon University

Created an 8-week career development programme to improve student and graduate understanding of the post Covid-19 career environment, and to provide them with competitive tools and skills for enhanced employability.

MSc Physiotherapy, Robert Gordon University

Adapted course structure to bring forward theoretical components within a tight learning timeline, taking advantage of online tools to deliver remote teaching, broaden access to materials and advice, and to redesign the assessment process.

Careers Team, University of Aberdeen

Rapidly adapted both the STAR Award and Leadership Academy with a high degree of flexibility to students experiencing disruption, and launched the Aberdeen Employability Boost Award, tailored to address employability around Covid-19.

RGU Education & Support  (EIG, GAC, EPE & Academic Schools), Robert Gordon University

Developed innovative procedures to enhance student skillsets and preparation for self-employment during Covid-19, including online delivery of general teaching as well as commencement of SISA-accredited modules the creation of an online Entrepreneurship Summer School.

Commenting on the finalists, Fiona Godsman, Chief Executive of SIE, said:

“Scotland’s educators are world leaders and their dedication to our students is well known. At the Scottish Institute for Enterprise we were particularly aware of the challenges facing them this year, and we wanted to highlight and reward best practice during this exceptional time. We’re looking forward to announcing the award winners at our Shaping the Future Conference. While there will only be 4 winning submissions, the standard of entries was extremely high and the institutions should be very proud of these exceptional educators.”

The winners of each category will be selected from the shortlist and announced at the online Shaping the Future conference on 23 September. The addition to showcasing the Imaginative Educator Awards and the winners of the programme features keynote speakers, workshops and an interactive panel session on how universities and colleges can empower students to change the world. For more information and to register for a free ticket, go here or visit

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