Bradford College academic achieves prestigious national award

Sam Messam, lecturer at Bradford College, has earned a prestigious teaching award

A sports coaching lecturer from Bradford College University Centre has been honoured with a national award in recognition of his excellence in teaching, scholarship and research.

Sam Messam has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

A former professional basketball player and coach at Bradford Dragons and Basketball England, he is one of only a handful of academics from the college sector to earn the accolade and the first ever from Bradford College.

“The award is a tremendous achievement, both personally, and in recognition of the excellent teaching that is on offer across the college,” said Sam, who was among 55 professionals to be made a fellow this year but the only one not from a university or specialist college.

“To be given this kind of recognition, alongside such an illustrious group of HE professionals, from some of the largest universities in the UK, gives me a great sense of pride.

“My approach to teaching and pastoral care always been student-centred and, along with many other colleagues, I seek to enable student growth through exploration and reflection.

“The subject of sports coaching affords students the opportunity to develop their coaching identity, to express themselves, often through technology, and within a safe and motivational climate of learning. Students not only obtain graduate qualifications, but also improve their interpersonal, personal and occupational skills in readiness for a career in coaching and teaching.

“For me, professionally, having been awarded the NTF adds further credibility and weight to my teaching practice, and to my social constructivist philosophy of collaborative and shared learning.

“It will allow me to continue to conduct research, and develop units of learning that are responsive to the dynamic evolution of sports coaching education, and further enhance the experience of our students.

“I am immensely proud of the achievement and feel that the award is a reflection of the college’s commitment to the provision of teaching and learning, to the professionalism with which staff execute their duties as advocates of learning and, for me personally, to the energy I am able to bring to the subject of sports coaching, and the enjoyment derived from the practice of teaching at Bradford College.

“The award and many of the opportunities that have been open to me at Bradford College, as well as the broader recognition associated with the NTF are all a result of the support, friendship and direction of the Dean of Scholarship and Research, Dr Graham Stevens, whose academic leadership continues to encourage not just myself, but all staff from across the institution, and promote an environment and culture of teaching excellence.”

Richard Thomas, Provost of Bradford College University Centre, said: “We are delighted by the award of the NTF, which justly recognises Sam’s excellent practice as a teacher in higher education.

“Sam will continue to deliver first class teaching here at the college in addition to working alongside Dr Graham Stevens in promoting scholarship and research in the college and will make a leading contribution to the new Academy of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, established to drive excellence and promote best practice in teaching and learning at Bradford College University Centre.”

HEA Chief Executive, Professor Stephanie Marshall, said: “An NTF is the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education.

“The new NTFs represent some of the very best teaching in higher education and I am sure they will inspire others as we share their innovative practice and ideas across the sector. The UK is justifiably proud of its higher education sector and its reputation is enhanced by the examples of excellent teaching highlighted by these awards.”