Associate Professor Ashley Garrill
Nominated by Professor Matthew Turnbull, Head of the School of Biological Sciences
Ashley’s students describe him as an amazing, fun and passionate teacher who is keen to share with them his genuine enthusiasm and love of his subject. His colleagues speak of his strong commitment to teaching, his dedication to his students and the positive learning outcomes he achieves across a very diverse student body. His teaching extends from large first year foundation lectures in cellular biology to small postgraduate classes in aspects of biochemistry designed to advance research skills but also help students with employability skills such as effective verbal communication and science writing for the general public. His teaching is also strongly grounded in his research; a first year student commented: “I especially liked how he would mention how things related to his research to give a real-life application of the things we were studying.”
The panel which considered his teaching portfolio commented that the evidence of his ability to take methods from the laboratory and convey them to students in a classroom setting was clearly helping to develop their critical thinking and scientific evaluation skills. During his career of over twenty years at UC, Ashley has been involved in the supervision of 52 postgraduate students from a wide variety of countries. More than three quarters of these have gone on further to lecturing, research or PhD study. He has also played significant roles in driving course design and curriculum reviews in the School and strives to have a positive influence on the teaching and learning practice of colleagues by publishing papers on his teaching experience and through acting as a teaching mentor for new staff at UC.
Ashley consistently receives excellent feedback from student evaluation surveys, especially about his ability to explain complex issues articulately and clearly. His students often comment on his approachability and he prides himself on encouraging questions in a variety of ways. These extend from setting aside time for questions in lectures to bringing out a question box for those less confident students to leave notes which he responds to in the following lecture and his students comment that he “always makes sure that we know he is available to go over everything again” when assessments are due. He reaches out to students with different learning styles by mixing his teaching delivery including playing music, using videos and animations and practical demonstrations wherever possible. In recent years he has been a finalist twice for the UCSA lecturer of the year award.