Nomination for a Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching – ‘sustained excellence’ category Dr Tim Richardson

Dr Tim Richardson was appointed as a lecturer in 1991 and retired due to ill health as a reader in 2012. Over the last twenty years he has made a sustained and highly significant contribution to the Department’s teaching in three main areas.

For the last ~10 years Tim has been head of year 1 physics.  As such he was the primary contact for new students and has helped countless numbers make the sometimes difficult transition between home and university.  His office door was always open and he was always prepared to go the extra distance to help students with a problem.  A typical example was a student who failed a module but could not resit in August, having previously arranged to be out of the country.  Tim arranged for course work to be reactivated and met with the student on a number of occasions to advise them.  This involved Tim in significant extra work but aimed to let the student progress to year 2 on schedule.  Since announcing his retirement I have been contacted by a number of current and former students, all have expressed sentiments of the following kind:  ‘Tim had a huge impact on my life, getting me through my degree then leading me into a career that I now love.’ There will be countless numbers of students who have benefitted from Tim’s kindness and support.  Tim also acted as a year 1 physics tutor often taking in his tutor groups students with known difficulties so that he could provide additional support.

Tim’s teaching has stimulated a generation of students.  In an age where most lectures don’t contain demonstrations Tim’s year 1 mechanics course was an exception, with a large number of activities demonstrating important concepts, e.g. Tim spinning round rapidly on a turntable to explain gyroscopic effects.  I could list many positive comments on his teaching received via student questionnaires but the following is typical:  ‘Dr Richardson is a fantastic lecturer and a credit to the university, seems his office door is always open and he is always willing to help, taking time to ensure you are happy with the work.’ Tim was instrumental in the development and delivery of our Physics in an Enterprise Management module which teaches important employment skills to third and fourth year students.

Finally Tim’s charity work should also be mentioned.  In November 2011 he lectured for a continuous 24 hours raising £8.2k for Children in Need. In addition to the money raised this event created significant positive publicity for the Department and University and brought together staff and students.

It is only since Tim retired and I have had to find replacements for all his duties that I have realised how much he did (and how much he means to staff and students alike).  It has taken considerably more than one person to replace him.  A Senate Award is fully deserved.

Professor Alistair Warren, Director of Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Science

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