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Somerville staff win OUSU awards: a signal of students’ appreciation

15th May 2017

Three members of Somerville received special awards from the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) last week. Each of them had been nominated by students in appreciation of their work, and each came top in their category. The awards ceremony was held on 11 May in Oxford Town Hall with a drinks reception, live entertainment and an address by Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Sarah Whatmore.

Jo Ockwell, Academic Registrar, Welfare Office and head of the Academic Office, received the award for best member of Support Staff. Quentin Miller, College Lecturer in Computer Science, received the award for best tutor in the Mathematics, Physical and Life Sciences Division.

Siddharth Arora, Parkinson’s UK Early Career Fellow and a member of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development team, was named best lecturer in Social Sciences.

Jo Ockwell, who joined Somerville in 2010, says:  ‘Working with students is always interesting. They never let you get bored. And it’s always nice to see students complete their degrees, particularly those who have had difficulties along the way and managed to complete anyway!’  She believes the OUSU awards are important because ‘it is always important to recognise good teaching and also good support, as the two go hand-in-hand.’

Siddharth Arora completed his D.Phil in Mathematics at Somerville and was then elected a Fulford Junior Research Fellow in 2013, winning his post as Parkinsons’ UK Early Career Fellow in 2015.  He has been an associate of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville since 2013.  

He writes: ‘I dedicate this award to all my students for their hard work and dedication, and crucially, for not sleeping during my late afternoon lecture sessions. I am extremely grateful to Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development (OICSD) at Somerville College for its brilliant support over the years, and my special and sincere thanks to Principal Alice Prochaska, Sara Kalim, Alfred Gathorne-Hardy and Steve Rayner at Somerville for their continued encouragement.

‘My sincere gratitude to my family for their love and support, and Prof James Taylor for unwavering guidance. And yes, many Congratulations to my fellow Somervillians, Dr Quentin Miller and Jo Ockwell, who won the OUSU 2017 awards!’

Quentin Miller completed his DPhil at Oxford in 1996, and has been Somerville’s Lecturer in Computer Science since 2004.  He writes: ‘That three awards this year have gone to Somerville is no mere coincidence.  The environment is so focussed on teaching and learning, it’s impossible not to be continually caught up in the buzz of it.  I feel very lucky to be part of it all, and in such an enviable role — what better job could there be than solving maths & computation puzzles every week with a bunch of fantastically clever students?  So thank you OUSU, thank you Somerville, and a big thank you to my students!’

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