Birmingham academic secures one of the UK’s top teaching accolades

A Birmingham academic and leading advocate for women dealing with the trauma of stillbirth has been given one of the UK’s most prestigious higher education teaching awards.

Juliette Gaunt, Associate Professor in Health Education and Life Science at Birmingham City University, has been named among Advance HE’s 55 new National Teaching Fellows.

The accolade is recognised as the top individual teaching honour for lecturers and researchers working at universities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Juliette has been a much-needed advocate for women and families dealing with stillbirths since experiencing the tragedy herself in 2012 – an event she describes as ‘transformative’.

Since then she has become a charity director; has participated in an award-winning documentary about families experiencing stillbirths; has campaigned widely for stillbirth reduction; has influenced changes in Nursing and Midwifery Council curriculum; gained international exposure; and helped drive changes to a parliamentary bill.

She has also delivered bereavement teaching to Nurses, Midwives and front-line Allied Health students since 2018.

Speaking about being named among the 2021 recipients of the National Teaching Fellowship, Juliette Gaunt said: “I’m extremely proud to be awarded National Teaching Fellowship.

“It’s a moment in my career which is the result of much hard work and determination, having had incredible support from all those around me in the last few years.

I’m proud to have touched the lives of many, and am thrilled that the impact of my practice has been nationally recognised. I plan to continue to deliver teaching and learning that is people-focussed at its core and to inspire many more students and staff into the future.
Juliette Gaunt

Juliette has been a key figure in developing and establishing Birmingham City University’s renowned High Achievers Recognition Scheme (HARS), which is the only scheme in the UK designed specifically to support high-performing students to maximise their talents.

HARS, which was established in 2015, provides students with access to additional support, courses, workshops, seminars and skills development, making use of both internal and external resources.

The scheme has worked with dozens of students to help them achieve their fullest potential and Juliette’s work on developing the programme has led to her providing advice to other institutions on an international scale.

Professor Julie McLeod, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching at Birmingham City University, said: “We are delighted that Juliette has been awarded the prestigious title of National Teaching Fellow in this year’s round of Advance HE’s Scheme.

“Only a few such awards are made annually so competition is intense. Juliette’s award recognised her outstanding contributions in relation to high achievers support and development, student mental health and wellbeing and the dissemination of the schemes across the University. Congratulations to Juliette on this fantastic achievement.”

Having started her career in Speech and Language Therapy, Juliette has committed to raising standards and driving attainment throughout her roles.

Juliette has also been a major champion for positive student mental health throughout her time at the University. She has helped introduce partnerships with major organisations including Head Space to provide improved access, resources and advice for both students and staff.

The new National Teaching Fellows have been selected from across Wales, Northern Ireland and England – and come from across mission groups and from a broad range of subject areas.

The recipients were nominated by their institutions and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria – individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence.

Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, said: “I am delighted to congratulate the 2021 NTFS and CATE awardees on their achievements. This year marks the 1000th National Teaching Fellowship award. Over the years, each and every NTF has made an impact on the sector – both on the students they teach and on their fellow teaching staff who look to them for inspiration and guidance.

“Well done to each and every awardee on this outstanding achievement.”