Students Staff

24 January 2014

Essex academic named Lecturer of the Year

Dr Chris Saker

Dr Chris Saker

 Outstanding teaching at the University of Essex has been recognised with Dr Chris Saker in the Department of Mathematical Sciences being named Lecturer of the Year in the Essex Teaching Awards.

The award recognises the enthusiasm Dr Saker looks to share with all his students and he will now be entered into the National Teaching Awards run by Pearson.

Over the years Dr Saker, based in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, has also worked with students in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and the Department of Government plus the internationally-renowned Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis. He has also helped establish with colleagues the university-wide Maths Support Centre, to help any student with questions about maths and provide extra support.

Dr Saker said: “I am really pleased to be put forward for this award by the University – it means a lot. In our Department we try to makes maths as accessible as possible. When going out to schools or working with people who aren’t familiar with maths, it is important to share your enthusiasm so you can help them see the benefits of the subject and how it can be applied and used in their everyday lives.

"We try to allow our undergraduate students to learn the subject in the best way for them – some will learn really well by sitting in lectures and listening while others want to be very hands on and get immediately involved in solving problems. We try to make it possible for them to learn in a variety of ways according to their needs. We want to give them an environment where they have the opportunity to listen to material, ask questions, discuss problems and try things out - to get really actively involved in the learning process.”

He also works with teachers and students across the region to support and promote the study of A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics through his role as area co-ordinator for Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk for the Further Maths Support Programme (FMSP). This role involves arranging tuition, organising events for students and professional development for teachers.

His work for his department and FMSP has seen him deliver nearly 50 enrichment and Continuing Professional Development events over the past two years, speaking to more than 3,000 students and teachers.

Head of the Department of Mathematical Science Dr Abdel Salhi said: “Chris is very active on the outreach front. Consequently, his contribution to the rise in applicant numbers to study Mathematics at University in our region is substantial.

"He is also a very good lecturer within our department and is very patient and clear in his teaching. He has the ability to convey complex mathematical concepts in simple terms that make them accessible to almost anybody.

"Having said that, he often goes out of his way to find new tools that may facilitate teaching, learning and assessment. He has been, for instance, one of the champions of Maple TA which is now adopted university-wide.

"To be honest, the award is no surprise to us all. On top of this, he is a very very nice man! We are proud and lucky to have him here.”

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