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Winners of the Excellent Teaching Award 2021

Magnus Hansson och John Barnes

The number of nominations this year is at an all-time high! From the 372 nominations of 157 teachers, the Örebro Student Union has awarded the Excellent Teaching Award 2021 to Magnus Hansson and John Barnes. “I’m still in shock,” says John Barnes.

John Barnes was invited to a meeting with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anna-Karin Andershed to discuss teaching and learning in higher education. Upon arriving, he learned the meeting agenda had changed. Then he was taken aback when the Örebro Student Union announced that he was one of two appointed winners of the Excellent Teaching Award 2021. Also present were colleagues and representatives from the Centre for Academic Development.

John Barnes moved to Gothenburg from Australia 15 years ago, and after a few years in Gothenburg, he ended up in Mariestad.

“After checking a map, I saw two universities were close to Mariestad. One was in Karlstad, the other in Örebro. So, I emailed Steven Linton at the psychology programme in Örebro and asked if he had any courses that I could teach.”

In between Emilia Malm, president, and Kristin Törnqvist, vice president (Educational policy), both from Örebro Student Union, is John Barnes, senior lecturer.

In between Emilia Malm, president, and Kristin Törnqvist, vice president (Educational policy), both from Örebro Student Union, is John Barnes, senior lecturer.

He has been a senior lecturer at Örebro University since summer 2011 and teaches psychopathology (scientific study of mental disorders) and cognitive behavioural therapy and supervises doctoral students.

“I really love teaching. It’s an honour, and it means a lot to me to receive this award.”

A second award for Magnus Hansson

Magnus Hansson’s surprise moment came when visiting the learning lab to meet with Anna-Karin Andershed. He was also surprised by the Örebro Student Union, colleagues, and representatives from the Centre for Academic Development. He also received the award in 2014.

“This was very unexpected! I am incredibly honoured, happy, and very touched.”

Magnus Hansson is a senior lecturer at the Örebro University School of Business and teaches organisational theory, leadership, and research method. He took a break from his studies for work in the business world before defending his doctorate thesis in business administration at Örebro University in 2008.

Anna-Karin Andershed and Magnus Hansson, together with Kristin Törnqvist and Jacob Ekbjörn, educational supervisor, Sesam.

Anna-Karin Andershed and Magnus Hansson, together with Kristin Törnqvist and Jacob Ekbjörn, educational supervisor, Sesam.

In teaching, he enjoys seeing how people develop, listening to students’ thoughts and conducting dialogue to develop knowledge jointly.

“Good teaching is based on dialogue and exchange. There shouldn’t be a power gap between teachers and students. We should be at the same level,” says Magnus Hansson.

Since autumn 2021, he has worked part-time on teaching methods developed at the Centre for Academic Development, focusing on learning environments, including Learning Lab. The lab is a collaboration between Örebro University and Akademiska Hus. The goal of Learning Lab is to test and gather experiences about how space, teaching methods and technology can be used in learning environments of the future.

Text and photo: Anna Asplund
Translation: Jerry Gray

Since 1999, the Örebro Student Union has awarded the Excellent Teaching Award to two teachers who have “…demonstrated resolve and an ability to create, together with the students, a learning experience on a scholarly foundation, which is characterised by innovative teaching and learning methods; active knowledge development; critical thinking; and international perspectives.”

Each year, students at Örebro University nominate teachers they believe convey knowledge with that extra pinch of dedication. An assessment group formed by students and the Örebro Student Union select the teachers who will receive the award, unaware of the nominated teachers’ name, gender, or school affiliation.

The student union assessment group base their decision on five criteria. This way, the focus is on meeting the criteria, not the number of nominations a teacher has received and promoting a broader range of winners, independent of course size.

Before 2021, Örebro University and the Örebro Student Union have revised the wording for the award to one that is gender-neutral “the award shall be appointed to two persons”.

The assessment group’s five criteria:

Academic basis
How does the teacher display a broad, current, and research-based knowledge of the subject?

Innovation in teaching and learning
How does the teacher use various teaching methods to adapt to different levels and target groups?

Active ongoing learning
How does the teacher promote engagement among their students? For example, how does the teacher demonstrate that they listen to and apply student feedback to develop their teaching?

Critical thinking
How does the teacher encourage the development of students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills?

International perspective
How does the teacher show openness to different experiences and diversity?

John has a wholehearted commitment to each of his student’s development. Tapping into his own past experiences, he conveys wisdom and knowledge that goes beyond the scope of a course, providing students with contextual reality regarding course materials. John inspires his students to contribute and participate by connecting with each student individually.

One of John Barnes’ foremost qualities is his ability to involve his students, boosting them to try things they may perceive as complicated, but developing; his lectures are always exciting and rewarding. John’s teaching methods make course material spirited, helping turn even complex topics into understandable and memorable knowledge. John is always committed and encourages students to share their thoughts and employ a critical approach. He has an amazing ability to stimulate active listening and interest when speaking.

John shares his knowledge and experience with openness, honesty, generosity – and not the least humour. He dares to address perspectives that can be considered controversial, which contributes to critical thinking as well as a new perspective in others. He touches on challenging topics from a different point of view, especially regarding gender equality and diversity.

John’s students say that it is a pleasure participating in his classes – and unmistakable that he loves his job. Which is why John Barnes is winner of the 2021 Excellent Teaching Award.

Magnus motivates and inspires, enhancing participation in all his lectures. He brings out the best in all students. His students feel more comfortable than ever while speaking in front of a group. He encourages them to pose questions and dare to share their thoughts to promote discussion. It is evident that he genuinely cares about the well-being and development of his students.

Students have described Magnus as engaged, inspiring and supportive. The word engaged explains how he involves students in teaching in a way they have never experienced before. Magnus has succeeded in maintaining a sincere commitment – students feel inspired after his lectures! In addition, he introduces highly relevant topics for discussions, such as gender equality and diversity, promoting the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas among students.

Magnus’ lecturing technique contributes to an improved understanding of the subject because of his teaching methods, fostering opportunities for students to develop a subject in realistic terms. His lectures combine serious discussions with humour, examining thoughts and the problematization of real-world cases. Magnus is devoted, knowledgeable and pedagogical. He promotes a comfortable and trusting environment that includes all students.

With an exceptional talent to simultaneously inspire and motivate all his students, Magnus Hansson is the winner of the 2021 Excellent Teaching Award.

2020: Annika Göran-Rodell and Joakim Petersson 

2019: Ann Kördel and Claes Holm

2018: Karl-Magnus Edberg and Helena Stålnacke

2017: Inger Adolfsson and Eric Borgström

2016: Senem Eken and Henric Bagerius

2015: Carina Lidström and Giacomo Lindgren Zucchini

2014: Magnus Hansson and Therése Skoog

2013: Linda Söderlindh and Carl-Joan Wase

2012: Helen Andersson and Jürgen Degner

2011: Ylva Svensson and Pär-Yngve Andersson

2010: Karin Engström and Hans Hedén 

2009: Elisabeth Legl and Marcus Sundhäll 

2008: Katarina Swartling Widerström and Mats Lindberg 

2007: Elisabeth Legl and Jörgen Stenlund

2006: Louise Berglund and Detlef Quast 

2005: Ulf Larsson and Catharina Sitte-Durling

2004: Emma Engdahl and Jan Malmgren 

2003: Ulla Ohlsson and Hans Larsson 

2002: Maj Bodin and Mats Bornvik 

2001: Munir Dag and Bodil Sundberg

2000: Yang Liu and Albena Zaharieva

1999: Ann-Cathrine Åquist and Anders Avdic