Tuesday 7 June 2011

teaching award

Every year UCL confers a number of Provost’s Teaching Awards. (At UCL the post of Provost corresponds to that of ‘President’ at an American university — if UCL were a commercial company, he’d be the CEO.)
The Provost’s Teaching Awards recognise and reward UCL colleagues who
are making outstanding contributions to the learning experience and
success of our students.

The awards for 2011 have just been announced. This year there are ten of them, and I’m delighted to be able to report that one of them, in the category Experienced Academic Staff, has gone to my fellow-phonetician Michael Ashby.

Upon my retirement five years ago Michael took over the running of UCL’s MA Phonetics programme and also the directorship of the UCL Summer Course in English Phonetics.

One of the earliest blog entries I wrote, for 31 March 2006, was about a presentation Michael gave at a Teaching and Learning Conference. Here’s what I said.
Michael Ashby’s presentation at the Teaching and Learning Conference yesterday was excellent. As well as explaining the kinds of things we do in practical phonetics classes, he demonstrated various interactive bits of classroom technology.
One demonstration involved getting a member of the audience (José Mompeán, planted there for the purpose) to pronounce into a radio microphone the Spanish word carrera [kareɾa], in which there is first a trill and then a tap. Seconds later we heard it played back and saw its waveform and spectrogram displayed on the big screen, using Mark Huckvale’s brilliant little free programme WASP. We could clearly see four interruptions for the trill and a single interruption for the tap.
Michael also demonstrated, live, the labiodental flap with its new symbol. And he showed how the teacher can use a graphics tablet to annotate Powerpoint slides, for example in immediate response to student questions or to compare and contrast while doing ear-training.

Warmest congratulations to Michael on a well-deserved award.


  1. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English Fifth edition [...] Phonetics Editor Michael Ashby = the first tool I used systematically in order to correct my pronunciation of English. It was very very useful.

  2. I would like to join the warmest congratulations
    to Michael.Is it rather late for him to receive it now?
    We had a brunch together on the 6th of March
    at the National Gallery.

  3. It is an honour being taught by him at UCL.


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