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Inspirational philosopher wins major national teaching award

Monday, 05 August 2019

A University of Nottingham professor who pioneers the teaching of philosophy from the primary school classroom right up to post-doctoral level, has won a prestigious national teaching award.

Professor Andrew Fisher from the University’s Department of Philosophy has been given a National Teaching Fellowship – the most coveted accolade for university teachers in the UK.

The Fellowships are awarded each year to celebrate and recognise those whose work has made an outstanding contribution both to students themselves and the higher education teaching profession more widely.

Since his arrival at the university sixteen years ago, Professor Fisher has helped to shape the Department’s unique philosophy syllabus at all levels of study. Its diverse curriculum is now one of the most popular for applicants and it has the highest intake for philosophy degrees in the country.

Reacting to his new Fellowship, Professor Fisher said: “Philosophy is empowering, liberating and egalitarian and it benefits anybody in any context. So teaching philosophy in the best possible way can give people a voice and truly change lives by raising aspiration. The endless opportunities it can lead to, in any sphere of life, both professional and personal, are I think second to none and this can start at primary school. The outreach work I have done in inner city primary schools in Nottingham is just as important as the university-level teaching I do. I will never forget the 9 year old who came up to me at the end of a session and said, “I love Philosophy Club because now I’ve got something to talk to my mum about!”

“Similarly, when I take my philosophy students into local schools, the effect can be hugely beneficial for them as well as the kids they interact with in the classroom. It broadens horizons for both groups."

Philosophy is empowering, liberating and egalitarian and it benefits anybody in any context.
Professor Andrew Fisher, Department of Philosophy

New graduate philosophy student Riana Popat said: “Andy has been an inspiring teacher and mentor throughout my degree. He has fuelled my passion for study and has always encouraged and supported me in aiming for academic brilliance. He even helped me get my work published in a philosophy journal and has also supported me in the next stage in my academic career – an MPhil at the University of Cambridge and then eventually a PhD.”

Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the University of Nottingham, Professor Sarah Speight, said: “I am thrilled that Andy has received this national recognition. He is an inspiring advocate for the importance of philosophy at all educational levels. But he is also an outstanding contributor to many cross-university initiatives at Nottingham - for example, the PGCHE and the Peer Observation College. His work really makes a difference to our students and our teachers.”

The awarding body, Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) receives hundreds of nominations every year from UK universities and 55 of these are successful. The Fellowships have been running since 2000 and are now the gold standard mark of quality in university teaching.

Professor Fisher will receive his National Teaching Fellowship at the UK Teaching Excellence Awards Ceremony in Manchester on 16thOctober 2019.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Andrew Fisher, University of Nottingham on 0115 846 7647 or email Andrew.fisher@nottingham.ac.uk 

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