Aston academic awarded prestigious Fellowship

Dr Fiona Copland

26 July, 2012

An Aston University language academic has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding work and contributions to higher education.

Dr Fiona Copland, Senior Lecturer, School of Languages and Social Sciences is one of only 55 Fellows recognised by the Higher Education Academy, this year. The winners each receive an award of £10,000, which may be used for professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.

Dr Copland is Course Director for a portfolio of distance learning MSc programmes at Aston University in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  She also contributes to Aston’s Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice, providing professional accreditation for practitioners in Higher Education.

Throughout her career Fiona has had roles which have allowed her to focus on the classroom and to develop creative and stimulating learning environments.  She has previously worked as a teacher of English as a foreign/second language to children and adults in Nigeria (Voluntary Services Overseas), Hong Kong and Japan (British Council).  On returning to the UK, she worked as a teacher educator in TESOL, developing the curricula for, and directing programmes at, Level 4 and Level 7.  She took a loop input approach to training in which content was delivered through pedagogies appropriate to the second language classroom. 

Fiona has presented at national and international conferences on learning and teaching and is often asked to give talks in this area at seminars.  She has also published in learning and teaching on feedback conferences in teacher education, distance education and international students' experiences. 

Professor Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive of the HEA, said the awards carry considerable prestige within the sector and are highly competitive. He added: “At the HEA we are committed to recognising and rewarding excellence in teaching. Students deserve - and expect - the best possible learning experience during their time in higher education, and fantastic staff such as National Teaching Fellows, help to deliver this experience."

Professor Helen Higson, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aston University, added; “It is not only Fiona’s teaching style which is inspirational, but also her ability to bring real cultural change to the University by changing attitudes to curriculum design and assessment”.

The new National Teaching Fellows will officially receive their awards at a ceremony which will take place in London on Wednesday 10 October 2012.


For further media information, contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or email