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University leader becomes the first overseas National Teaching Fellow

Thursday, 04 August 2022

A senior academic at the University of Nottingham has become the first National Teaching Fellow outside of the UK.  

Dr K Cohen Tan, who is currently interim Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at the University of Nottingham Ningbo campus (UNNC) in China, received the award in recognition of the outstanding impact he’s had on student outcomes and the Higher Education teaching profession.

The National Teaching Fellowship scheme is widely recognised as a mark of quality. Previous recipients have been based in the UK, meaning that Dr Tan’s award signals an important widening of the National Teaching Fellowship community.

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I am humbled to be the first academic to receive this prestigious honour outside of the UK. I am grateful to Advance HE for recognising me as one of the thousands of academics employed at overseas campuses who deliver an authentic British education.
Dr K.Cohen Tan, Interim Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (UNNC)

Dr Tan continued: “I am optimistic that we shall see more colleagues at overseas campuses celebrated for their work in the future, along with the appreciation of their families and loved ones who support their work on a daily basis to make it possible.” 

The award tops a long list of recent accolades for the academic who has achieved remarkable results for students over the last few years. In 2020, 41% of his dissertation students achieved distinctions and 53% of his Critical Communications students received offers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. As Project Manager for the Tu Haiming Scholarship, Dr Tan has also created many internship opportunities for students. His alumni include a UN General Assembly Youth Representative, a Schwarzman Scholar to Tsinghua University, a China Oxford Scholar to Oxford University and several high-profile newscasters.

Advance HE sends our warmest congratulations to Dr Tan. It is very exciting that the University of Nottingham has chosen to nominate one of their staff members at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China in recognition of their teaching excellence.  Dr Tan’s nomination clearly demonstrates the positive impact of his wide-reaching, interdisciplinary and cross-campus initiatives and the value of his work more widely to the University of Nottingham. We look forward to seeing how Dr Tan’s achievements manifest further now he is the recipient of a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in 2022.
Karen Hustler, Head of Accreditation and Excellence Awards at Advance HE

Dr Tan has also demonstrated academic leadership and impact through numerous contributions to the Teaching and Learning environment at UNNC. He established the first LGBTQ student society in China and he pioneered and chaired the DANN network – a peer-based advisory body for staff, designed to protect people from harassment, bullying and victimisation.

Advance HE's National Teaching Fellowships are significant markers of outstanding achievement in the support of students and the development of teaching. Nottingham has a good track record in the scheme and I am particularly pleased that our 2022 winner is the first National Teaching Fellow for the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. Through his leadership roles, Dr Cohen Tan has a big impact upon the experience of students and the development of staff.  I would particularly note his establishment of the Dignity Advisors Ningbo Network and his initiatives in support of student employability. It is great to see his effort recognised by this prestigious award.
Professor Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience

The annual National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) is now in its 22nd year and is open to all UK Advance HE Member institutions for the nomination of three staff in recognition of their individual teaching excellence. The scheme is open to both academic and professional service colleagues. Over the years, recipients at the University of Nottingham have come from a range of departments and roles, and collectively their success demonstrates a strong university-wide commitment to teaching innovation and excellence.

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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