A lecturer at the University of Warwick has scooped this years Law Teacher of the Year Award.
Associate professor Gary Watt, a lecturer in Trust Law and Law & Literature, beat off fierce competition from three other nominees to collect the 3,000 prize plus an additional grant of 1,000 awarded in memory of Alistair MacQueen, a publisher closely associated with the award who sadly died in September 2008.
As a consequence of his own background and educational experiences Watt firmly believes in the principle of promoting pathways for working class students to enter university and has committed to using the additional grant money to support open access schemes at Warwick.
As the first person to go to university from my own family, the open access scheme is something that I firmly believe in. Also, as the first person who encouraged me to write, it would also seem a fitting tribute to Alistair, he said.
On what makes Gary such a successful lecturer, Chrissy Vassiliou, a current law student at Warwick, said: He does teach things a bit differently compared to some of the other lecturers. His lectures are interactive, he breaks things down, and, most importantly, he puts complex things in simple terms – I think students really appreciate this.
Gary, who has authored a number of texts on Trust Law and Law & Literature, believes that encouraging students to be interested in the subject matter is a key to keeping them engaged. He will be hoping to follow this through as his latest book, Equity Stirring: The Story of Justice Beyond Law, is published in the coming months.
The high profile award, which was run in association with the UK Centre for Legal Education and the Oxford University Press, culminated in an awards ceremony held on 23 January 2009.
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