A Sunderland academic has landed a key role on the board of an international independent organisation which brings together award-winning teachers from across the globe to advance excellence in higher education.

Catherine Hayes, Professor of Health Professions Pedagogy and Scholarship at the University of Sunderland, has been appointed Secretary of the Executive Board of the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows (INTF).

The role offers the opportunity to raise the profile of Sunderland at a global level and encourage others academics to consider applying for recognition at all levels.

The Executive Board of the INTF consists of teaching excellence winners from all over the globe who have a shared passion for teaching and learning.

Professor Hayes, herself a National Teaching Fellow, is taking over from Professor Angie Kolen, Professor of Human Kinetics from St Francis Xavier University in Canada, as Secretary and Member of the Executive Board.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed in this role, as much for the University of Sunderland as for myself.

“This role really highlights our position as an institution dedicated to the quality of our student experience and affords us the opportunity to share best pedagogical practice from beyond the local, regional and national contexts that we have, to date.

“What I admire most about the Federation is its open recognition of the need to co-construct knowledge with students, for students and the authentic approaches this then facilitates within transformative learning.”

She added: “I hope to bring skills from my own practice to the Federation where I regard working alongside such esteemed colleagues in the global context of pedagogy as a humbling opportunity and one I am immensely proud of as part of my role as one of the first Professors of Learning and Teaching here at Sunderland.”

The appointment is just one of a number of accolades Prof Hayes has achieved in recent years.

In 2017 she was awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in recognition of her continued impact in learning and teaching nationally and internationally.

The accolade came just weeks after the HEA also announced her as one of 55 new National Teaching Fellows for her outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession in higher education.

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Dr Abigail Moriarty said: “Catherine’s work is well known and respected across the University and the UK HE sector as a whole, I am immensely proud she now has the international recognition!

“This accolade will continue to show the excellent student learning and teaching across University of Sunderland.”

Qualifying in Podiatric Medicine in 1992, Prof Hayes is now involved in innovative work in transcending disciplinarity between art and science at the university at an epistemological level and has published extensively on health professions pedagogy and professional practice in peer reviewed journals.

She said: “The opportunity of working in an ethos of transformative learning has been an instrumental driver in being able to achieve these awards and appointments.

“Being able to support people in being the best they can be is a privilege that few can claim in their everyday work but I’ve been fortunate to have that as part of my role here.

“We recruit truly amazing people to this institution from a huge array of backgrounds and playing just a small part in developing their unique stories is an absolute joy.

“Seeing them recognise that story has a value is great but knowing they have developed the self-confidence and self-esteem to tell it to the world is priceless.”

Prof Hayes will also be giving a lecture this month – The impact of transformative learning and teaching – as part of the University’s Professorial Lecture Series.

The lecture takes place Monday 18 November, 5.30pm-7pm – Prospect 009, Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s – Tickets are free, register on Eventbrite.

About the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows (INTF).

The INTF’s mission is to bring together award-winning teachers from across the world for the global advancement of excellence in learning and teaching in higher education.

The core aims of the INTF are:

  • to foster international collaboration between post-secondary teachers on projects and initiatives
  • to advocate for the importance of excellence in teaching in higher education
  • to develop innovative evidence-based pedagogy and related scholarship and research
  • to recognise and reward excellence in teaching worldwide
  • to bring together outstanding students as International Student Fellows
  • to work collaboratively with teaching and learning organizations and societies
  • to advise on the development of National Teaching Fellowship schemes
  • to host an annual international symposium bringing colleagues together from around the world.