GCU Professor humbly accepts award for ‘Sensational Supervision and Support’

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured above) PhD Lecturer Michael Roy & Teaching Awards logo
(Pictured above) PhD Lecturer Michael Roy & Teaching Awards logo

GCU Students' Association recently held their annual Teaching Awards – an event hosted to recognise GCU's outstanding learning and teaching staff.

The Teaching Awards gives students the chance opportunity to celebrate teaching and non-teaching staff members who have made a positive impact on their learning experience.

Staff can be nominated for awards in six different categories, including the award for ‘Sensational Supervision and Support’ which Professor of Economic Sociology and Social Policy Michael Roy was awarded at this year’s event. 

Professor at the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Michael,  ensure his students had the best learning experience and his support was celebrated by students who nominated him for the award. 

We spoke with Michael about how it felt to be appreciated by his students by winning the award.

Has being nominated for a Teaching Award impacted you in any way? If so, how? 

Being nominated for a Teaching Award, and then winning the award for Sensational Supervision and Support this year was just brilliant. I was absolutely thrilled to receive this award, mostly because it was from the students rather than a scholarly association or from fellow academics. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it is very nice indeed to receive awards from those sources too, but I think it gives you additional credibility if you have the respect of students too, and they feel that what I am doing is supporting them in their own academic journey.  


What are some of the things you’ve been involved in this academic year with students that led to you being nominated for this award? 

As well as my Masters students, I always have a great bunch of really excellent PhD students. I am really lucky that way. Every year I see them developing, progressing and expanding their own knowledge, becoming more confident and growing into international experts in their field.  

Because of COVID-19 though we have had to change to meeting with students online, checking in with them fairly regularly but trying to maintain the balance right without it feeling like to them that we are looking over their shoulder, because that would have the opposite effect. 

All I have done is offered support when necessary over and above our regular meetings, checked in with students regularly, and offered them opportunities to be involved in various things. I suppose my students felt that I did that especially well, but to be honest, I am sure that every supervisor has done much the same. 


What has it been like supporting students virtually this year as opposed to having face-to-face meetings? 

It is often said that undertaking a PhD is a very lonely and isolating experience at the best of times. But the COVID-19 lockdown has doubled or tripled that feeling in students. Not having face to face meetings has made it far harder than before to provide support because we pick up so many clues about people’s wellbeing from their body language and general demeanour and trying to gain those clues virtually is far harderBecause it is not so easy just to drop by, or just go for a coffee, or for people to wander into my office for a chat, then it makes the small incidental ways in which support is provided that much harder to do. 

I have also been teaching Masters students online too, and it is incredibly difficult to work out who needs support without seeing their body language, their facial expressions, and the way they interact with each other, especially since not everyone likes cameras! We got there in the end, but it certainly wasn’t straightforward, and the flexibility and resilience shown by everyone has been just brilliant.   


Is there anyone you would like to thank for this recognition you have received from The Students Association? 

I can’t thank those responsible enough for putting me forward for this honour. This year has been difficult for all of us in different ways, but especially those, like me, who have had to juggle carer responsibilities at home. 

To receive this recognition has been remarkable, because I don’t think that I have done anything extraordinary: just treated people the way I would like to be treated myself if I was in their shoes. 

I reckon that if the people involved knew just how much this has meant to me to receive this recognition then no doubt they would be doubly pleased, so I just want to put on record how incredibly proud I am of them and their achievements, and also to receive this award. I should also especially thank those who support me on a regular basis too: my friends, my brilliant colleagues, and my family most of all. 


The list of Teaching Award winners is available on the Students’ Association website 

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