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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 1D - Paper 2

Health Has Got Talent: Recognising and Rewarding Teaching Innovation and Excellence

Doctor Rachael-Anne Knight – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Language and Communication Sciences

Listen to the podcast (32:00 onwards)

Health Has Got Talent is an annual showcase for teaching innovations in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London.  It encourages academic and professional staff to share their work with others, awards prizes, and further disseminates the innovations. As such it is explicitly designed to provide recognition and reward for teaching.

Boyer’s (1990) seminal Scholarship Reconsidered suggested that the scholarship of teaching be seen as important as other areas of academic work, such as research and service, yet recent literature still suggests that ‘there remains a troubling gap between rhetoric about teaching’s value and the realities of teaching’s recognition and reward’ (Hutchings, Huber and Ciccone, 2011:87).

In order to support the recognition and reward of innovative and excellent teaching, and the scholarship of teaching and learning, Health Has Got Talent (HHGT) is framed as an annual showcase where academic and professional staff (from the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London) present their work to an audience of their peers.  HHGT is the School’s method for distributing centrally funded learning and teaching awards, and entries are rewarded with monetary prizes. This year’s event will be the 4th year in which HHGT has run, and the previous three years have seen a high level of engagement from staff across the school, both to present their work and participate as audience members.  Typically 10 innovations are shared in conference style presentations where multimedia and audience interaction are encouraged.  A frequent criticism of teaching award schemes (e.g. Chalmers, 2011) is that the criteria and judging processes are unclear.  To address this issue, set criteria are given to presenters and audience members, and presentations are assessed by a panel of expert judges from across the institution.

HHGT has proven an excellent vehicle for highlighting and rewarding teaching in the school. Many authors (e.g. Halse et al, 2007) note that structured dissemination is often lacking from award schemes. This is addressed by inviting each presenter to write an educational vignette about their award and innovation, so that one vignette is released in each month after the event. Winners are also put forward for institutional and national awards, and previous winners have gone on to gain senior fellowships of the Higher Education Academy, and to win Vice-Chancellor’s awards, and regional awards from Health Education England.  Future directions are to ensure that winners can support and mentor others (Little et al, 2007), and to further understand the relationships between reward and excellence (Gibbs, 2016), and excellence and scholarship (Parker Attenborough and Knight, in prep), as we approach the Teaching Excellence Framework (House of Commons, 2016).

Key issues to be addressed are:

  • Background and literature concerning reward and recognition of teaching
  • The developing format of Health has Got Talent, including plans for the future
  • Infrastructure and issues around on-going reward and recognition at institutional and sector level
  • The relationships between teaching reward, excellent teaching, scholarship, and the teaching excellence framework.
  • Learning outcomes

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  • Summarise the basic arguments concerning teaching reward and recognition
  • Describe Health Has Got Talent’s approach to teaching reward and recognition
  • Consider future directions for reward schemes
  • Discuss issues concerning reward and teaching excellence


Boyer, E.L. (1990). Priorities of the Professoriate. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Princeton, NJ.

Chalmers, D. (2011). Progress and challenges to the recognition and reward of the scholarship of teaching in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(1), 25-38.

Gibbs, G. (2016). Rewarding excellent teachers may not improve teaching much. [online]  The SEDA Blog. Available at https://thesedablog.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/53ideas-41-rewarding-excellent-teachers-may-not-improve-teaching-much/ [Accessed 11 March 2016]

Halse, C., Deane., Hobson, J., and Jones, G. (2007.) The research-teaching nexus: what do national teaching awards tell us. Studies in Higher Education 32 (6 ), 727-746

House of Commons, Business Innovation and Skills Committee (2016) The Teaching Excellence Framework: Assessing quality in Higher Education, HC 572. London: Stationery Office.

Hutchings, P., Huber, M., and Ciccone, A. (2011.) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Reconsidered. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Little, B., Locke, W., Parker, J. and Richardson, J. (2007.) Excellence in teaching and learning: A review of the literature for the Higher Education Academy. York: Higher Education Academy

Parker, P., Attenborough, J. and Knight, R-A. (in prep) Modelling scholarship and its relationship to other areas of academic practice.