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Professor Ashok Handa - recipient of a 2019 Teaching Excellence Award

What does winning a Teaching Excellence Award mean to you?

It’s a nice recognition of giving a twenty-year commitment to teaching both for Oxford University and for medical students who are now doctors literally all over the world. 

In what ways have you executed excellent teaching?

It’s difficult to tell because obviously the award isn’t really just about me. It’s about the team and particularly the administrators that work with me, Lucy Tipping and Jackie Heap, and all the people that help with the teaching. There’s a really massive team, lots of young doctors from the NHS, members of the Department of Surgery, consultants, and without all those people the award 1) would mean nothing and 2) we just couldn’t have done it. So, what it means really is that it's recognising all of that hard work put in over many years by lots of people, many of whom are still working in Oxford, many who’ve worked here for a while and gone on.

What is the impact of an excellent teacher in a student’s life?

I think I’m looking back to when I was a pupil and a student, and particularly a medical student. I think if you have someone who has passion and enthusiasm for their subject, then they are likely to inspire you to 1) learn that stuff, 2) to remember it and 3) to put it into practice. And ideally the ultimate would be to give back by giving the same teaching to the next generation. So, what I hope it means is that I have managed to inspire many people into coming to teach, those who have been taught to go on to teach and to pass it on to others and hopefully impact on the care of their patients. 

How will you further your impact to build on your award? 

That’s really hard. Part of it is more of the same to get more young doctors in training to join our teaching team and to carry on teaching and as I said passing it on, but also spreading that. So one of the great joys is to be able to be an external examiner at other medical schools and hopefully go and look at them as a critical friend and say these are the things that you are doing really well and these are the things that we found that work in Oxford and maybe you want to try that. To that end, we have recently had visits from Nairobi University and Singapore University because they have been pleased to see some of the things that we do in surgical teaching in Oxford, in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, and they have very kindly written back to say the changes they are going to make. But equally as an external examiner at a number of places in the UK. I don’t think I have been somewhere as an external examiner where I haven’t learnt something new and good that we can bring back to Oxford and to continue to improve what we do. So, what I think it will mean is to try and continue to improve what we do in Oxford by learning from other people, thinking about new ideas, but also to spread that knowledge to other people.  

Read more

NDS professor receives teaching excellence award 

Professor Ashok Handa to receive lifetime achievement accolade at 2019 Teaching Excellence Awards

View Professor Handa's staff profile

The Surgical Tutor's Office win Team of the Year 2019

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