We’re delighted to announce that the winner of the 2018 British Society for Immunology Teaching Excellence Award is Dr Jenna Macciochi, Teaching Fellow in Immunology at the University of Sussex.
Dr Macciochi completed a BSc in Immunology at the University of Glasgow before conducting her PhD at Imperial College London. Since joining the University of Sussex two years ago, she has worked hard to put immunology firmly on the map for all life science, pharmacy and medical undergraduates.
“Jenna has taken several steps to innovate the curriculum with diversified teaching methods to breakdown the challenging nature of immunology concepts, including use of technology to create an interactive classroom environment, which is particularly useful to engage students in large teaching groups,” commented Professor Alison Sinclair, Director of Teaching & Learning at the University of Sussex. “She has spent time and effort to include experiential learning opportunities such as an immunology-focused poster symposium that embeds professional skills development into learning, assessment and included an opportunity for peer feedback.” Innovations that Macciochi has employed to move away from the more traditional, didactic lectures include ‘Poll Everywhere’, a mobile app that allows real-time assessment and feedback, and ‘Padlet’, a collaborative online tool to convey the real-time realm of immunology.
“Jenna is collegiate and outward looking and transmits her obvious passion for the subject. This has led to an almost doubling of students taking optional immunology modules and several students going on to pursue immunology-related paths after graduating,” said Sinclair. This is certainly a view backed up by her students, many of whom contacted us to provide their thoughts. “A very efficient, helpful and hard-working lecturer who always is there to help students with any queries they may have,” “an outstanding dissertation tutor” and “her teaching ultimately has led to me studying for a masters in Immunology” are just a few of the comments we received.
The judges felt that Jenna was a dedicated and passionate immunologist who uses innovative techniques to inspire that love of the discipline in others. Her dedication to sharing best practice with her colleagues and tailoring her teaching style to suit her students’ learning styles has undoubtedly paid dividends in providing a major boost to immunology teaching at Sussex. It was clear to the judges that Jenna’s teaching skill was valued by students and colleagues alike and had led many students to pursue a career in immunology.
The BSI is pleased to award this prize to such a worthy recipient. Our thanks go to all this year’s nominees and the people who took the time to send in nominations. Through this award, we hope to raise the profile and recognition that immunology teaching receives in UK higher research institutes.