NTFs salute Prof Sally Brown

Caroline Coles, Aston University, Chair of the Committee for Association of NTFs with Mark O’Hara, Birmingham City University, CATE Co-Ordinator CANTF, presented Professor Sally Brown with a ‘thank you’ present for her continuing inspirational support for CANTF and the entire NTF/CATE Community – at the Manchester 2019 Annual Award Event.

Association of NTF representatives – Caroline Coles and Mark O’Hara – celebrate Sally Brown’s contribution to teaching and learning in HE; and to teaching colleagues


A word from the Chair, and important diary dates

Hello National Teaching Fellows. I am Becky Huxley-Binns, and I am honoured to be Chair of the Committee of the Association of National Teaching Fellows (CANTF).

Prof. Becky Huxley Binns

I was awarded my NTF in 2012, but did not go to my first Association of NTFs meetings until the 2016 Annual Symposium at Aston University. But then I was hooked, and went to an ANTF meeting at Leeds Beckett in May 2017 and then joined the Committee, first as Communications Officer, then Chair-elect and now Chair. I was at the Symposium in Manchester in 2018 and am looking forward to my period as Chair very much. I love the feeling of community which you find across the ANTF; we have shared goals, we have demonstrable impact on student outcomes and the student experience, it is sometimes breathtaking to see the showcasing of colleagues’ work and it is always refreshing and invigorating to network with like-minded colleagues and share good practice.

So, what does the committee do? We work closely with Advance HE receiving funding to support existing and aspiring NTFs through:

  • The annual symposium (please HOLD THE DATE for the next annual symposium on 28-29 March 2019, ‘Making a Difference’ held at and kindly supported by Birmingham City University)
  • Support workshops for the NTF and CATE schemes – AKA the ANTF ‘Roadshows’ (details for 2019 will be shared on this blog and by AHE in due course) and
  • Others; for example, the hugely successful writing residential in September 2018, hosted by Sally Brown and Phil Race; and please HOLD ANOTHER DATE (details forthcoming soon) for a residential, “Writing for Publication” on 17-18 January 2019, at Cumberland Lodge.

We also have a plan for further our international reach and impact, to support the network of international NTFs, to collate international strategies and share good practice globally. We liaise with the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows.

We also communicate with the HE community; we have this blog series, we tweet regularly @NTF_Tweet (please do follow us) and we are investigating new ways of communicating the impact of NTFs across the sector and to reach new audiences.

So, who are the Committee?


Becky Huxley-Binns: Chair

Peter Draper (NTF 2013): Secretary

Chrissi Nerantzi (NTF 2015) and James Derounian (NTF 2007): joint Communications Officers

Momna Hejmadi (NTF 2015): Finance Officer with support from Caroline Coles for one year

Charles Buckley (NTF 2012): International Officer, seconded for one year, to be followed by Caroline Coles (NTF 2017) in 2019

Carol Evans (NTF 2014): Publications officer

Ruth Matheson (NTF 2012): Nations Officer

Sara Houston (NTF 2014): Events Officer

Sally Brown (NTF 2008): Deputy Events Officer and also providing support for the Chair

Mark O’Hara (NTF 2017): without portfolio, currently supporting the Events team.


I know that AdvanceHE, Sally Brown and I are very excited to be welcoming the 2018 NTF and CATE winners in Edinburgh on 7th November 2018.


Hold the date reminders:

  • ‘Making a difference’ ANTF/Advance HE Annual Symposium, 28-29 March 2019, Birmingham City University
  • ANTF/Advance HE “Writing for Publication” retreat, 17-18 January 2019, Cumberland Lodge.


Assessment and Feedback: The Person in the Process

Assessment and Feedback: The Person in the Process: Reflections on the University of Gloucestershire Festival of Learning

Dr Naomi Winstone reads the runes…..
Email: n.winstone@surrey.ac.uk

On 13th June, I had the pleasure of being Keynote Speaker at the University of Gloucestershire Festival of Learning, for which the theme was Assessment and Feedback. In his welcome, the Dean for Academic Development spoke of this area of practice as something that the University really cares about. This was certainly evident in the sessions that I attended, which presented a wide variety of innovative practices.

In his seminal paper, David Nicol (2010) argues that students’ dissatisfaction with assessment and feedback reflects the ‘squeezing out’ of dialogue in the feedback process as a result of the massification of higher education. The first session that I attended consisted of two very contrasting talks that made me reflect upon the balance between managing the workload involved in assessing students’ work, and maintaining the important dialogic nature of feedback. The first talk was given by a member of staff and a student in collaboration, who discussed the importance of empathy towards the ‘other’ in the feedback process. The second talk presented an automated marking system as a way of reducing the burden of assessment on staff. The former placed emphasis on the roles of the educator and student in partnership (see Nash & Winstone, 2017a); the latter made no reference to the role of the student. In other sessions I was inspired by innovative uses of peer feedback, and feedback from graduates and industry experts. My reflections on Nicol’s discussion of dialogue were brought back to mind during the presentation of a dialogic feedback model in one of the afternoon sessions, where trust, care, and empathy were positioned as central tenets of the feedback process. The focus was placed on the personal dimension of the feedback process, not the logistics of marking or the nature of comments. During this session I found my thoughts about the day crystallising into two take-away points which I shared during the panel discussion:


People not comments

If we lose sight of the fact that feedback is about the relationship between educator and student, not about the comments written on marking sheets, then we also ignore the complex psychology of feedback (see Nash & Winstone, 2017b).

Process not product

If we focus on the production of comments, then the assessment process becomes more akin to a quality assurance procedure to demonstrate that assessment has taken place than a process that is ultimately designed to drive students’ learning, increase their confidence, and develop their skills.


In my keynote, I drew upon the distinction that David Carless (2015) makes between the ‘Old Paradigm’ of feedback as the transmission of comments, and the ‘New Paradigm’ of feedback as dialogue. In a stretched sector, it is perhaps inevitable that time, workload, and the efficient delivery of comments will be common themes in discourse. Yet by focusing on the person in the process, I believe that feedback has the potential to be less burdensome, more rewarding, and more impactful for all involved.



Carless, D. (2015). Excellence in University Assessment. London: Routledge.

Nash, R. A., & Winstone, N. E. (2017a). Responsibility sharing in the giving and receiving of assessment feedback. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1519.

Nash, R.A., & Winstone, N.E. (2017b). Why even the best feedback can bring out the worst in us. BBC Future. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170308-why-even-the-best-feedback-can-bring-out-the-worst-in-us

Nicol, D. (2010). From monologue to dialogue: improving written feedback processes in mass higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education35(5), 501-517.