Dr Catherine Watts has been appointed a National Teaching Fellow in recognition of her services to education in her field.
11 Jun 2015
Dr Catherine Watts has been appointed a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of her services to education in her field.
Catherine attended an award ceremony on 15 October held in Liverpool Cathedral. The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) is funded by the Higher Education Academy and each year awards 55 National Teaching Fellowships to recognise and reward excellence in teaching and learning in Higher Education. The awards were presented at a formal dinner with addresses from Professor Stephanie Marshall, chief executive of the Higher Education Academy, Professor Sir David Greenaway, chair of the NTFS advisory panel as well as Chris Millward, policy director for Higher Education Funding Council England. Catherine is delighted to receive her National Teaching Fellowship Award and is looking forward to working with the NTFS in the years to come. She has worked at the university for more than 30 years in the fields of language teaching and learning. She said “I am thrilled and honoured that this work has been recognised. I firmly believe that languages are of crucial importance to young people, enabling them to compete effectively on international stages and to maximise opportunities in the increasingly global economy of the 21st century.”
Head of the School of Humanities Dr Paddy Maguire is proud of the "deserved national recognition of Cathy's long-standing commitment to improving and extending the teaching of modern languages in Britain", while Professor Julian Crampton, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “The award is richly deserved and we are delighted Catherine has been honoured for her commitment to such an important field of education.”
Dr Watts’ doctorate explored some of the reasons behind the declining numbers of young people willing to take up foreign language study at university, while her classroom methods are rooted in theories of second-language acquisition.
She said her teaching aimed to: enhance communication with peers, staff and the wider academic community; promote a learner-centred, inclusive academic environment; and foster a spirit of enquiry. Thus, relevancy to the outside world is central to her work and she provides many opportunities to engage students beyond the lecture theatre by, for example, organising visiting speakers, arranging study visits, helping final-year students to publish their work and encouraging students to present at relevant conferences and research symposia.
One student said of her: “I have met no other higher education tutor who gives so much to their course. Her passion for English language rubs off on all students and her enthusiasm for interactive study helps encourage her students to do the same. She has inspired many of the students to enjoy their studies through her excellent teaching strategies and she has also proven to be an excellent tutor who will do her utmost to help the students in any way possible, even taking time out of her schedule to listen to people’s personal problems and doing the best she can to support them.”
Dr Watts currently directs Routes South, one of nine national consortia under the Higher Education Funding Council-funded Routes into Languages initiative to promote the uptake of foreign language study in universities. She has attracted substantial research funding to enhance the learning and teaching of languages, is a frequent contributor to national and international conferences, seminars and workshops and has a robust publications record spanning three decades.