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Friday, 19 May 2023

The Faculty is proud to announce the success of two of our academics who were awarded prizes in the Cambridge Students Union Student-Led Teaching Awards at a ceremony on Tuesday, with Professor Catherine Barnard and Professor Simon Deakin both receiving awards.

Catherine Barnard
Catherine receiving her award

The SLT awards exist to reward outstanding teaching and student support across Cambridge. This year, the SU received just under 400 nominations, which truly is a testament to all the amazing work done by university staff and clearly demonstrates the gratitude felt by students.

The shortlist and winners were decided by panels of students. The winners were announced a ceremony held at St Barnabas Church on Wednesday, where Catherine was awarded 'Lecturer of the Year (All Subjects)' and Simon was the winner of the 'Postgraduate Research Supervisor of the Year' award.

Asked how she felt about receiving such recognition from students, Catherine said:

"I was deeply honoured to receive this award. It is a great privilege to teach such a generous group of students and show them how EU law and labour law are both fascinating and fun".

Simon was nominated for his award by PhD student Bhumika Billa who said in her nomination:

"When I first arrived for my masters in Cambridge in 2019, I had never lived away from home. Simon is the reason why Cambridge gradually became one. He asked me to consider applying for a PhD within 2 months, and since then, he has helped me secure a pre-doctoral job, battle a global pandemic, get PhD funding, and pursue an alternate creative career. Simon is relentlessly respected, fiercely followed, and deeply loved by the lives he has been quietly changing over the years. I am yet to meet a supervisee, who doesn't credit Simon for everything they have become or are becoming. Thank you Simon, for being you."

Bhumika's nomination was supported by Zhenbin Zuo, who also said:

"Simon is the best PhD supervisor one could ask for. He is always responsive in any situation from life to work. During Covid Simon was there supporting me both mentally and keeping my work on track.

Simon Deakin
Simon with Zhenbin and Bhumika

Simon has always been keen to share his latest findings, methods, and read everything I wrote meticulously with detailed feedback. Being a PhD can be lonely sometime because you work on something maybe no one else is doing. But Simon always encourages me to try out new and exciting ideas and not be afraid of mistakes or failures. He used to tell me 'if you are feeling you are lonely and no one is working on this, maybe you are onto something important!'. Meanwhile he also maintains a realistic evaluation of my progress and approach to advise me on publishing, presenting and writing the thesis.

I truly believe Simon has taught me how to be a supervisor in the future, and I want to pass on his genuine care for students to the next generation researchers. Law is a subject that sometimes reveals the worst of human conditions and makes you feel skeptical if not cynical of the world. But Simon makes me believe in every real difference we can make as lawyers, researchers, teachers and as individual genuine human-beings who ignites the light in others. I believe Simon deserve this award."

Dr Zoe Adams, who completed her PhD in 2018 added:

"Simon is the reason I fell I love with law; the reason I had the courage to pursue a career in academia, and one of the most supportive and inspiring people I have had the pleasure to meet. Having been my favourite teacher as an undergraduate, he became a cherished phd supervisor; a valued colleague; co-author, and friend. I am so incredibly grateful to Simon for everything, and, more than anything else, for believing in me, and giving me the courage I needed to thrive. There is nobody who deserves this award more than Simon."

Responding to his award, Simon said:

"I was thrilled to receive this award and to be part of an event which recognised the work done by so many brilliant teachers and administrators across Cambridge. Next to doing a PhD, supervising one is the best experience an academic can have, and I’ve been privileged to do this in the Law Faculty for over three decades now. Enormous thanks to Bhumika and Zhenbin for nominating me, and to all my students and colleagues for their support."

Next to doing a PhD, supervising one is the best experience an academic can have... Simon Deakin

In addition, Faculty Members were also shortlisted in the following categories:

  • Findlay Stark (lecturer of the year)
  • Kirsty Hughes (research supervisor)
  • Nick Friedman (student support)

To read more about all of the award recipients, please see the Cambridge SU website. More photographs are available on the Cambridge SU Facebook page.