Mike Grimshaw – College of Arts Lecturer of the Year (UCSA Staff of the Year Awards)
When Mike Grimshaw came to UC in 2000 as a Lecturer in Religious Studies, it’s doubtful he saw himself 15 years in the future winning the Arts Lecturer of the Year Award as a teacher of sociology of the city, sociology of religion and the politics of need.
Students grant these Awards to teachers who have made a real impact on them, and one of Mike’s major impacts must be inspiring genuine critical thought in them.
“I want them to question, and to think, and to apply what we discuss in all areas of their lives,” he says.
“I don’t want regurgitation, I want interpretation. I want them to think for themselves, question everything – including me, and not only develop a strong critical argument, but be prepared to stake a position.“
Not a great believer in exams, Mike prefers to set written assignments and allows his students to pick their own topics in discussion with him.
“When students are researching and writing about something they’re interested in, they do much better work, and I try to excite them with my own interest in their topics and its possibilities.”
He finds the same thing in his class discussions. Although there may be a topic and a set of lecture notes, ultimately, where the lecture goes, is up to the interaction between Mike and the class.
For Mike, stand out teaching moments are the students who never thought they would necessarily be interested in a topic, but who suddenly have their interest awakened.