National award for ‘excellence in Sociology’

BSA Teaching Award
Left to right: Judith Mudd, BSA Chief Executive,Sarah Haynes,Chrissie Rogers, Helen Jones, Discipline Lead for Sociology at the Higher Education Academy

9 April 2013

Aston University’s Sociology team has won a prestigious national award for its high standards of teaching and commitment to its students.

The ‘Excellence in Teaching Sociology Award’ from the British Sociological Association (BSA) and Higher Education Academy (HEA) was award to the Aston team for its positive contributions to learning and teaching. These strengths included encouraging students to learn independently and think critically, the use of innovative teaching strategies, adoption of the latest teaching technologies and meeting the needs of Aston’s diverse student population.

The teaching team comprises Chris Bolsmann, Steve Garner, Sarah Hayes, Pam Lowe, Sarah-Jane Page, Peter Quaife and Chrissie Rogers.

Initiatives particularly praised by the judging panel included; ‘rapid feedback’ sessions and regular focus groups for students; first hand visits to businesses including Land Rover and Aston Villa Football Club and opportunities for students to work on real life case studies (anonymous) involving children with learning difficulties. Aston’s strong placement opportunities with businesses and technological initiatives such as the Aston Replay service to access Sociology lectures were also highlighted.

Innovative projects undertaken by students included ‘Celebrating Aston Languages’ which was mounted with the support of staff from the Academic Subject Group and identified that Aston’s students spoke 149 languages.

Dr Pam Lowe, Head of Sociology at Aston, said; “As a small team, we are extremely proud to receive this prestigious national award. We are particularly keen to encourage our students to learn independently and think critically, from the very first interactive sessions which we undertake with our first-years during our induction week, to the last pieces of assessed work that they hand in. We take pride in ensuring our students have the skills and experiences they need to ensure they learn and go forward from us with both a good qualification and a sociological imagination.”

It is another success story for the team, with Sociology at Aston ranked within the top five institutions in the UK for overall satisfaction within the National Student Survey 2011, and inside the top 20 institutions within the UK regarding Learning Resources.


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