Oban lecturer honoured in student awards

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Dr Howe visiting a gold mine in Papua New Guinea as part of a recent research project

An Oban-based lecturer has been honoured by students in the fourth annual University of the Highlands and Islands Teaching Awards.

Dr John Howe, a marine geologist at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) UHI, won the ‘best research or dissertation supervisor’ category. He was nominated for being an encouraging supervisor who goes the extra mile to organise training opportunities for his students.

One student explained: “John has been highly supportive as a supervisor, but never once took control of my work. Instead he gently steered me along in the right direction, allowing me to develop as an early career research scientist.

“Throughout the past ten months, he has arranged training on instrumentation required to analyse samples and even a work placement at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh - an excellent C.V. and networking boost.

“In addition to dissertation supervision, together we are now compiling my research for publication in a peer reviewed journal, an excellent achievement for an undergraduate, only possible with support from someone who knows what they’re doing!”

Dr Howe said: “The teaching award for research supervision was a complete surprise. I’m delighted to be able to work with students on a variety of marine geoscience projects. This year we had a diverse collection of projects involving glaciers, life on the seafloor and climate change in the Arctic!”

Organised by UHISA, the UHI Students’ Association, the awards recognise excellence in eight categories. The other winners were:

  • Most inspiring lecturer, Reverend Hector Morrison, Highland Theological College UHI
  • Outstanding student support, Martin Cameron, Highland Theological College UHI
  • Most engaging online tutor, Dr Elizabeth Ritchie, Centre for History
  • Most engaging video conference tutor, Dr Edward Graham, Lews Castle College UHI
  • Best personal academic tutor, Jane MacIntosh, North Highland College UHI
  • Best assessment feedback, Matt Sillars, Inverness College UHI
  • Best preparation for the workplace, Catriona Johnston, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI


The University of the Highlands and Islands was one of the first institutions to work with the Higher Education Academy and National Union of Students to introduce student-led teaching awards. They have now been adopted throughout Scotland and were introduced to the rest of the UK last year.

UHISA president Rachel Parker said: “The awards celebrate and highlight teaching excellence at the university, enabling students to commend the dedication of staff. We received a record number of nominations this year which demonstrates how much students value being able to provide positive feedback.”

Dr Iain Morrison, dean of students at the university, said: “These awards are tribute to the hard work and excellence of the staff. All those nominated, as well as the eventual winners themselves, have demonstrated commitment to our students and a high level of professional expertise that has been rightly recognised by those who appreciate it most.”

The winners will all receive a trophy and certificate.



Media contact

Susan Szymborski
Communications officer
Tel: 01463 279210
Email: susan.szymborski@uhi.ac.uk