Published: 01 August 2017

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Lecturer wins Faculty’s Teaching Excellence Award

Dr Radu Sporea has been named the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences’ Early Career Teacher of the Year 2017.

Based in the ATI (Advanced Technology Institute), Dr Sporea is a Lecturer in power electronics and semiconductor devices, and teaches first and second year modules to Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree students.

Dr Sporea takes an innovative approach to teaching, employing a range of creative techniques to engage students’ interest – for example he uses playdoh to make models of electronic components (which are normally 1,000 times smaller than a strand of hair), making cuts with plastic cutlery to reveal the structure inside.

“This is a great technique for getting people to think about how things are made and how they work in practice, without resorting to badly drawn whiteboard sketches,” he explains.

Having won the Faculty’s Teaching Excellence Award, and received a prize of £1,000, Dr Sporea is now shortlisted for the overall University award which will be announced later this year.

He says: “It’s a great honour to receive this award, and a pleasure to be able to try out new things, with a good response from students as well as colleagues. The students have been particularly receptive to some unconventional elements of last semester’s lectures – some very playful and hands-on, others involving the software environment we use in our research activity when designing advanced semiconducting devices.”

Alongside his Lectureship Dr Sporea has held a Royal Academy of Engineering Academic Research Fellowship within the ATI, and previously held the EPSRC PhD+ Fellowship in the ATI’s Nanoelectronics Centre. His research focuses on new electronic devices for the next generation of flexible and wearable electronics – work which has recently been boosted by a £1.2m EPSRC grant for developing technologies to connect paper-based objects to the digital world. Dr Sporea is very active in public engagement, regularly giving talks at science festivals, hosting podcasts and presenting short films about engineering and science.

The University supports early career teachers by offering a Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, which is part of its effort to promote a culture of teaching excellence across the University.

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