Lecturer recognised for exceptional work with Excellence in Teaching Award

Posted on Thursday 10th July 2014

dawn-award2Congratulations to Dawn River, Lecturer in the Institute of Applied Social Studies in the School of Social Policy, who has received the 2014 School of Social Policy and College of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dawn was nominated for three main reasons:

International work

Dawn has consistently championed the need to develop an international perspective within social work teaching at the University of Birmingham and more widely within social work education as a member of the JSWEC International Committee. She has negotiated space within the curriculum to develop an international programme which has included exchange visits for students, service users and carers with universities in Nuremburg and Rotterdam, and she is currently developing an exchange programme with Warsaw University. Together with other colleagues she has hosted and supported visiting students and academics from Norway, Germany, China and the Netherlands. In working to internationalise the social work programme Dawn has made this a distinctive part of the Birmingham Social Work ‘offer’ to prospective students and, on the basis of student feedback, this has been critical in attracting higher achieving academic students to study at the University of Birmingham.

More information about International Exchange Programme

Survivor Arts Project

As a result of a substantial project of development work with people who have used services and for whom creative and artistic work has been crucial in their own recovery and quality of life, Dawn has set up the Survivor Arts Exhibition at the UoB which is used to support workshops run as part of Theories and Methods teaching exploring Recovery through the Arts. In the Recovery through the Arts workshops, Survivor Artists work alongside student social workers to help them develop the creative skills to work more sensitively and effectively with service users. By inverting the role of service user and educator/practitioner, these workshops provide a radical example of service user involvement in social work education and in doing so this project seeks to challenge, educate and inspire. The workshops have consistently been rated highly in module feedback and this developmental work is currently the subject of publication and dissemination activity externally. The project will be presented at the 2014 JSWEC (Joint Social Work Education and Research) conference in London, UK. Dawn was also invited to present the project to the Joint World Conference on Social Work in Melbourne 2014.

More information about Survivor Arts

Domestic Abuse Teaching

Dawn, in partnership with Women’s Aid, has developed a sequence of specialist learning around domestic violence and abuse – an issue which is central to many practice situations. As well as developing teaching materials exploring the main areas of domestic abuse, Dawn and Women’s Aid have developed teaching looking at the specific concerns of teenage abuse, mental ill health, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Again, this has received particularly positive evaluations from students.

Dawn is a highly respected member of the Social Work teaching team. She is an outstanding teacher, and a worthy winner of this award.