Rachel Erskine, Programme Leader for the MA in Health and Wellbeing and Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality Improvement at the Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway, was named Best Personal Academic Tutor/Learning Support by the University of the Highlands and Islands Students' Association (HISA) last week. 

Organised by the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, the awards give students a chance to thank the academic staff, support staff, and students who have inspired and supported them. The annual awards are judged by a student panel, and winners are selected on the quality of the nomination. Rachel was also nominated for two other awards: Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor, and the Above and Beyond Award.

“Thank you so much to all my students who nominated me for the award. It was a delight to win this especially during such a tough academic year one way or another,” said Rachel of her win. “I am really proud of all my students and firmly believe in the “one step at a time – you will get there” approach in reaching your goals. There is always an answer or solution to difficulties and the challenges life throws at us. Talking/getting in touch with your Personal Academic Tutor and Programme Leader is a really important part of your learning journey in UHI to get the support you need, whether personal or educational.” 

A total of 24 Lews Castle College staff were nominated for the HISA awards this year. In addition to Rachel, three other staff were Highly Commended in the final awards: David Bell, for the Above and Beyond Award; and Netty Sopata and Cameron Stark, for Most Inspiring Lecturer Award.

“The HISA awards are a fantastic way to showcase the amazing work of our staff and students across the university partnership,” said Flo Jansen, HISA President. “This year we have encountered new challenges and it has been truly incredible to see a record number of award nominations despite the external factors we are facing. We hope that the awards show our appreciation of the amazing work going on behind the scenes every day. We’re so grateful to be able to celebrate these successes.” 

Dr. Iain Morrison, Dean of Students at UHI, added that “some of the student comments were profoundly moving and mean so much to all those who were nominated. Our staff have been quite incredible during this time and the fact that a record number of students took the opportunity to voice their appreciation for their hard work, commitment and care is powerful testimony to the core strength of this university: our people.”