Last week, AUB’s community of staff, students and academics joined together in celebration of the inaugural AUBRIETA Teaching Awards.

The AUBRIETA Awards, which were held alongside the AUBSU Thank You Awards, were presented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Emma Hunt.

AUBRIETA, which stands for the AUB Recognition for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Awards, is designed to celebrate innovation and excellence in teaching at the University.

In addition to claiming a prize, the winners will contribute to AUB’s Creative Pedagogies Digital Imprint publications, a space to publish the innovative learning and teaching work taking place at AUB and engage in debate about the theory and practice of creative learning. The winners will also use their wealth of knowledge to mentor other staff.


1st Prize

Dr. Andrew Vallance, Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Film Production

2nd Prize

Dr. Petronilla Whitfield, Associate Professor, BA (Hons) Acting

3rd Prize

Richard Haynes, Senior Lecturer,BA (Hons) Animation Production


Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Emma Hunt, said:

“Nominations for the AUBRETIA awards were received by staff who could claim excellence and innovation in teaching as evidenced by successful student outcomes and shared peer appraisal of teaching and learning methodologies. 

Innovation is at the heart of the awards and AUB staff are exemplary in delivering new ways of teaching that match the subjects we offer. Learning can be an unpredictable process but we ensure that it is right for every student.

The winner, Andrew, was really able to demonstrate not only his innovation in teaching, but also how his work had influenced other academics, not only in the UK but overseas as well. Aubrieta is a spreading plant and we want our winners to go on and spread their good practice by mentoring other members of staff

These awards recognise the fantastic teaching at AUB. They also celebrate the innovation of our teaching – our staff have to really think about the ways they are teaching groups of different types students, particularly when they are creative students. 

The students are also recognising their appreciation of the combined staff efforts through the annual SU’s Thank You Awards. It’s a big circular event of celebration.” 


Dr. Andrew Vallance, Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Film Production course is in his third year of working at AUB. In an interview with us, he said:

“Any professional appreciation is always nice and I think that more than anything it’s an indication that some of the innovations we have implemented in the department are working.”

Andrew was also nominated by the students for the AUBSU Thank You Awards. Speaking about his nomination, he said:

“The rapport that we build with the students over their time here is essential.”

Taking 2nd prize, BA (Hons) Acting Associate Professor, Dr. Petronilla Whitfield, was recognised for her research into training actors with dyslexia:

“Acting involves a lot of reading and texts, which can be a challenge for dyslexic students. Early on in my career, I looked for books on helping dyslexic students and I couldn’t find a single one. So I decided to make that the focus of my PhD, which I completed in 2015. It’s having a great impact on the actors of the future.

Since then I have been presenting my teaching ideas for helping dyslexic acting students at conferences and in several publications. I have now been contracted by Routledge to write a monograph about neurodiversity, dyslexia and pedagogy.

Winning this award is wonderful because all this time I’ve been working so hard, with the aim of overcoming the challenges met by those with dyslexia.”