It’s time to vote for Sussex’s best lecturer 2020

Which of these lecturers deserves the crown?

Last week, we asked you to nominate your favourite lecturers at the University of Sussex: maybe it’s someone who makes those early morning seminars slightly more bearable, or the person who finally made you understand that super hard topic, or maybe it’s someone who is doing their absolute best to navigate teaching in this pandemic-stricken, slightly dystopian, virtual world. Whatever it is that makes these guys special, we asked for your nominations so we can complete the all-important job of crowning Sussex’s Best Lecturer 2020, and you guys certainly did not disappoint.

We received an overwhelming amount of submissions for this prestigious award, and The Sussex Tab have managed to whittle the nominees down to five top-notch candidates. But which of these excellent educators will be crowned king or queen? Only you can decide, so sit back, relax and be sure to cast your vote below!

Prof. Mark Bagley, School of Life Sciences

Extra points for the pooch

Professor Mark Bagley, is a true contender in the Sussex Best Lecturer awards. He stands, dare we say, head and shoulders above the rest in his quest to make organic chemistry the life and soul of the party. One student even went so far to state that he is “Literal distilled sunshine in human being”, while another noted that he “has that mad scientist vibe to him”. Take from that what you will, but we believe that quirkiness goes a long way, especially in the challenging world of life sciences.

His response says a lot about his approach to learning and university (i.e. it’s all about the fun, fun, fun) and we are here for it. In his own words, “How absolutely lovely. I am gobsmacked. Of course I would love to participate, not for my benefit or for bragging rights, but just because the more people who state it is important for students to enjoy learning, the better. How wonderful to be able to represent the chemistry students in this way and how wonderful they have stepped out with the courage to state they enjoy learning.” What more could you ask for?

Dr Joanne Paul, School of Media, Arts and Humanities

Next up is Dr Joanne Paul, who features in the early modern history department, but is better known to Sussex students for her cat, who is, and we quote, “a graceful presence” to online lectures. One student put this very aptly in 2020 language, stating that she has the “most immaculate vibes possible”, followed by “her cat gives me life.” Anything to brighten up these dreary days of Covid-times.

Dr Paul’s response was even gracious enough to step back and allow her kitty to receive all the praise. She is, in her own words, “very touched” that she has been nominated and praised The Sussex Tab for this “fun contest, which is all about celebrating those people (and pets!) who make us smile in the midst of the messiest term to date.” High praise indeed, thanks Dr Paul!

Prof. Chris Chatwin, School of Engineering and Infomatics

Robes? Check. Hat? Check. Funky tie? Locked and loaded

Prof Chris Chatwin is next in the running, a professor in engineering and design who is infamous on campus for his funky ties, and for showing lots of videos in seminars, which is always a win in our book. A little known fact about Prof. Chatwin is that he has a band named after him – Cheeky Chatwins and The Crankshafts – an impressive feat for sure.

Chatwin told The Susex Tab that he is “very honoured” to have been nominated for this award, and proceeded to give us all the information about the courses he teaches, and told us a lot about super cars, jet engines and super tankers. Unfortunately, this would go over most of our heads (unless you’re an aspiring engineer of course), but we love his passion and dedication to the subject. When speaking about his lecturing style, Prof. Chatwin said “I get the chance to inspire the next generation of wealth creators (a great privilege), which is so important for everyone… I try to instil a sense of adventure in the students, I update this material every year. I wear colourful ties to cheer them up.” The world needs more Prof Chatwins, in our opinion.

Prof. Andy Field, School of Psychology

I can’t say I’ve ever had a lecture like this one

Prof. Andy Field is something of a legend for Sussex students. His task of teaching psychology students statistics sounds incredibly drab, however this guy livens up lectures to the extent that he was described as God’s gift to statistics” – quite simply remarkable. Donning fancy dress almost every lecture, his costumes vary from the likes of zombie, to wizard, to Santa Clause himself, and this kind of energy is exactly what Suss students need when grappling with difficult statistical concepts.

With the dawn of online learning upon us, he has really stepped it up a notch this year by recording and producing his very own statistical music videos, available for students to view at their leisure. We couldn’t possibly include every comment about Professor Field (there were over thirty), but “He did the monster mash applied to stats, what else can be asked, tbh.” sums it up pretty well.

When The Sussex Tab reached out to him for a comment, his satirical response was incredible.  We quote “Well, who wouldn’t want to be in with a chance of their very own crown …. even if not a literal one;) I don’t think I could possibly say anything about why I am Sussex’s best lecturer because my personality prevents me from agreeing with that sentiment. However, all I ever hope for is to make statistics a bit more fun, and a bit more understandable for our students so I’m incredibly excited to know that some students feel that my efforts have made statistics a bit less daunting. Crown or not, that makes me very happy.” We agree, Andy. We agree.

Fiona Clements, School of Law, Politics and Sociology

the most wholesome face you ever did see

Last, but by no means least, Fiona Clements, of the School of Law. Fiona is exactly the kind of lecturer that you need on a rough day and we salute her for her attitude that goes way beyond the four walls of the classroom. She has been cited as “literally the sweetest lecturer in the world!” with another stating “Fiona for the win!”.

Her wonderfully wholesome response is something we all need some more of. We quote, “How receiving your email made me feel? It came completely out of the blue, on a busy teaching day, and reading the comments that the students had written brought a lump to my throat. More than anything, I aim to give the sort of classes that I’d like to attend…being nominated for this title has made it the best start to the new semester!” If that’s not a sure vote then we’re not sure what is.

So there we have it – the crème de la crème of Sussex’s lecturers, but which one deserves the title of the best? Be sure to cast your vote down below!