Many congratulations to Rachel Tanner who has received a 2020-21 Teaching Excellence Award (Early Career Strand) from the Social Sciences Division in recognition of her outstanding contribution to teaching within the Institute of Human Sciences. Rachel lectures on immunology for the Human Genetics and Evolution paper, and as a college lecturer for Human Sciences at Wadham College she tutors in genetics and physiology across several colleges.
The Division’s Quality Assurance Committee was very impressed to note her “excellent work as acting Director of Studies at Wadham College, developing innovative and engaging pedagogical approaches to teaching the Human Sciences curriculum as well as offering excellent pastoral support to students”.
Of her award, Rachel said: “It’s an honour to receive this recognition, particularly after such a difficult year. The students showed incredible resilience in the face of great upheaval and I feel we all helped each other through the uncertainty. It’s a pleasure to be part of the thriving Institute, which has been so welcoming. I’ve been fortunate to have excellent support and mentorship from other members of the Institute – particularly Emma Cohen, Rosalind Harding and Sarah-Jane White, which is so important for an ECR navigating a new space."
Rachel is also the Institute’s Access and Outreach Officer and is passionate about ensuring greater parity between students at top universities and within STEM fields. She is a research fellow of Wolfson College and a post-doctoral fellow at the Jenner Institute in the Nuffield Department of Medicine where she works on vaccine development. During 2020, Rachel was part of the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Group evaluating the safety and efficacy of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, yet continued to maintain her dedication to Human Sciences teaching during this busy time.
The Social Sciences Teaching Award scheme formally recognises the outstanding contribution to teaching and learning and the academic development of students shown by colleagues across the Division. Dame Professor Sarah Whatmore, Head of the Division said: “These annual awards highlight the dedication and commitment of our colleagues to teaching and learning in the Social Sciences Division. This year has been like no other, and I am delighted to be able to celebrate the work undertaken by colleagues at all career stages to ensure our students received the best academic experience possible given the circumstances.”