‘Sweeping success’ for Aberystwyth University in Welsh awards

16 July 2020

Aberystwyth University is celebrating after its lecturers won almost every award for excellence in Welsh-medium education this year.

The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol has announced that Aberystwyth University lecturers are three of the four winners of their Associate Lecturer Awards for 2019/20.

The winner of the award for Facilitating Welsh-Medium Education is Professor Rhys Jones from Aberystwyth University who won this year for his significant contribution over a period of time in the field of Geography and for the positive impact he has had on the subject within the university and nationally.

Accepting the award, Professor Rhys Jones said:

“I’m very pleased to accept this award. Welsh-medium education in the higher education sector has been transformed over the last twenty years as a result of the support of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, as well as investment from individual universities, and it has been a pleasure to be part of this exciting journey.

“I’d also like to thank my colleagues in the Geography and Earth Sciences Department in Aberystwyth University for their support, and for the enthusiasm of all Welsh-medium staff who are teaching and researching in the field of Geography and the Environment across Wales. Their efforts have been core to creating a field of study in Geography and the Environment which is one of the most bilingual of all the subjects available in higher education.”

The Professor is also a member of the team from Aberystwyth University responsible for creating the Gwerslyfr Daearyddiaeth (Geography Handbook) “Astudio a Dehongli’r Byd a’i Bobl” (Studying and Interpreting the World and its People) which is joint winner in the best Welsh Medium-Resource category. The textbook was created by Professor Rhys Jones, Dr Marie Busfield, Dr Hywel Griffiths, Dr Cerys Jones and Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones. The Resource is specific to a particular field, is the first of its kind in Welsh and bridges between the post-16 and higher education sectors.

Accepting the award for best Welsh-Medium Resource Professor Rhys Jones added:

“The team responsible for this resource is very pleased to accept the award. We would like to thank the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for their support and also to Coleg staff for their patience as we completed the work! We hope the textbook will excite A Level and university students and further their interest in a subject that is so relevant to many challenges facing the world and which prepares students for such a variety of careers.”

The joint winner of the best Welsh-Medium Resource category is Gwerddon Fach and the prize was awarded to its joint editors Dr Anwen Jones and Dr Hywel Griffiths from Aberystwyth University. In partnership with Golwg, Gwerddon Fach gives students, academics at the beginning of their careers and more experienced researchers the opportunity to share information about their research. The resource won for being an excellent resource of high standard which supports students in their studies.

Accepting the award, Dr Anwen Jones from Aberystwyth University said:

“As Gwerddon’s editors we are delighted to accept this award for Gwerddon Fach. It was a venture led by Hywel Griffiths in partnership with Golwg in order to expand on Welsh-medium academic discussions which are now embedded in the mother periodical, Gwerddon. The hope was that it would open the door on exciting developments and discussions in the field of Welsh-medium research for sixth-form pupils, students and lay audiences.

“Accepting this award in the category of Welsh-Medium Resource is proof that we succeeded in our aim. I’d like to especially thank Dylan Iorwerth from Golwg for his help and support in establishing and developing the venture and also to the Coleg’s administrative staff for their support. It is also a pleasure to share the award with the Geography Textbook; another second to none resource for Welsh students.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor added:

“I would like to warmly congratulate all the winners from Aberystwyth. This sweeping success reflects our commitment right across the organisation to provide excellence in teaching through the medium of Welsh.  It also demonstrates the commitment and creativity of our staff, which is wonderful to see.”

The judges this year were Meri Huws, Lleucu Myrddin and Denise Williams and the panel was chaired by Dr Ioan Matthews, chief executive of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Dr Ioan Matthews said:

“Once again this year we received a whole host of nominations from across organisations and in a wide range of fields. The standards of the nominations was extremely high and as a result we had great difficulty drawing up a shortlist not to mention choosing the winners.

“The Welsh-medium higher education sector is extremely lucky to have so many talented and committed lecturers who go above and beyond what is expected in order to offer the best experiences for their students. These awards are a way for the community and for the Coleg to recognise their important contribution.”

The resources shortlisted for the best Welsh-Medium Resource category are available on the Coleg’s Porth Adnoddau (Resources Portal) and full details of the awards are available below and on the Coleg’s website