University of Derby Professor shortlisted for ‘Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ award

6 September 2018

Dr Ian Turner, Associate Professor in Learning and Teaching at the University of Derby, has been shortlisted in the 'Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ category of the 14th annual Times Higher Education Awards 2018.

The awards – known as the Oscars of higher education – include 18 categories, covering the full range of university activity. The ‘Most Innovative Teacher’ category recognises academics whose imagination and passion have transformed a course and inspired their students.

Dr Turner’s unique teaching style uses a creative approach he devised called Lecture Theatre Pantomime. This uses costumes, role play, props and analogies to make demanding subjects such as immunology and genetics both enjoyable and accessible to his students.

He is also committed to enhancing the University-wide student experience, through the implementation and support of key learning and teaching strategies to encourage colleagues to adopt their own innovative methods.

In May last year, he won the HE Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award for his creative approach. He also received a National Teaching Fellowship in 2014 – the most prestigious individual award in higher education – in recognition of his outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession.

In the wider community, Dr Turner is keen to share his interest in science with younger audiences, bringing it to life by introducing scientific principles through the medium of popular culture. He regularly attends events to give talks on subjects including the science of superheroes, Doctor Who and Star Wars.

Dr Turner said: “I am humbled and delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Irrespective of the outcome, being considered for one of the ‘Oscars of Higher Education’ is a great honour.”

Professor Malcolm Todd, University of Derby Provost (Academic), added: “Dr Turner’s shortlisting in the ‘Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ category is a tremendous achievement, and reflects his commitment to finding creative new ways to deliver the highest standards of learning and teaching to our students. As a university, we are committed to teaching excellence and the high standards of our academic staff.”

THE editor John Gill said: “Times Higher Education is extremely proud to host these awards once again. In yet another record year for entries, and with over 70 institutions represented on the shortlist, it’s a genuine privilege for the THE team and our judges to read through these many and varied tales of excellence from all corners of the UK. It’s a significant achievement to make this shortlist, and we look forward to honouring all the finalists at the Grosvenor in November.”

The Times Higher Education Awards 2018 gala ceremony will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London on Thursday 29 November 2018.

Professor Ian Turner teaching wearing a viking helmet, showcasing his creative teaching style

For further information contact the press office at