Skye lecturer honoured in student awards

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Catriona Johnston


A Skye-based lecturer has been honoured by students in the fourth annual University of the Highlands and Islands Teaching awards.

Catriona Johnston, a course leader for the university’s diploma in Gaelic media (a professional development award) at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, won the ‘best preparation for the workplace category’. She was nominated for helping students to develop their practical skills and make key industry contacts.

One student explained: “Catriona is the best person to help you for preparation into the workplace. Not only does she help us out with our PDA, she also gives us as many opportunities as she can to meet people who may be of influence in getting us jobs. Our PDA is media based and Catriona has us running (voluntarily) for as many production companies as she can. Having spent many years in the industry, she knows exactly who would be useful to know. Her course is highly recommended and comes with the opportunity to learn in a college-based environment for one academic year and a work placement for another academic year. Once the PDA is finished, there is a high chance you can go straight into a job with the amount of practical skills and knowledge that is given to us by Catriona.”

Ms Johnston grew up on the island of Grimsay, North Uist, but now lives in Drumfearn, Sleat. She welcomed the awards saying: “We run a fantastic course here and I am privileged to work year in and year out with a great bunch of tutors and students. I was completely unaware that the students had nominated me for this award, but I am both honoured and delighted to have won it.”

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
  • Best personal academic tutor, Jane MacIntosh, North Highland 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 assessment feedback, Matt Sillars, Inverness College UHI
  • Best dissertation or research supervisor, Dr John Howe, Scottish Association for Marine Science 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.

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Susan Szymborski
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Tel: 01463 279210