Swansea University scoops a triple “whammy” in Learning Festival Awards

A learner and two tutors from the Swansea University, Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE) were last night recognised for their outstanding success and contribution to adult education.

The Carmarthenshire Learning Festival Awards, supported by NIACE Dysgu Cymru, together bestowed Arlene Morgan, a learner, with the Access to Higher Education Award and Tutor Awards went to Steven Morgan and Carole Butler.

Arlene Morgan 2

BA Humanities Degree student Arlene Morgan, aged 47, from Glynneath, was recently named as the ‘Higher Education Learner of the Year’, and was also a finalist in the ‘Community Learner’ category in the Neath Port Talbot Learner Awards 2014.

After two attempts of returning to education in 2009 Arlene took the plunge and enroled on the Prepare for Study programme with DACE where she also took study skills courses because, as she said, she was ‘out of the habit of learning’. This course gave her the confidence to study for a degree and she has gone from strength to strength.

Arlene’s fellow students nominated her as the  class rep.  Recognising that the student voice is important, Arlene also volunteered to take part in a consultation with The South West Wales Regional Learning Partnership.

Arlene also supplements her learning by signing up to many other accreditted and non accreditted courses.  She also  mentors children with  Agored Cymru 'Help a Child to Read' and 'Better Reading' and is a paid notetaker supporting students with disabilities.  Last autumn, on behalf of the university, she participated in delivering a literacy project to primary schools.

Arlene’s story of try, try and try again inspires others. She really enjoys being a student and is an example aand an inspiration for her daughter. She said: “When I finish my degree, my daughter will be due to start at the local comprehensive school, I feel I am an excellent role model for her and this will inspire her  to achieve and consider higher education in the future.  We are both on a continuous learning journey – it’s great because we are sharing the learning experience together.”

“My regular visits to the local and university library have encouraged my daughter to become an avid reader.  I am on an Internet course at the Glynneath Training Centre and my daughter and I are members of the local library - the only internet shopping I do is for books!”

“It's never too late to be inspired by the opportunites that can be unlocked.  By not giving up and finally taking the steps I needed to, I have discovered what  Adult Education can really do not only for those involved, but for others around them too.  I will not give up learning and can't wait to sign up for a masters degree. Being a student really gives me a feeling of well-being – it is so satisfying!"

Steve Morgan

Steven Morgan, who won the IT tutor award, has been an IT tutor with DACE for many years. He is conscientious, committed and dedicated to his student. People follow him from class to class. He is an excellent communicator, with patience and a quiet humour, making even the most technologically phobic feel at ease and able to learn. Steven can conduct classes bilingually and this is appreciated by many of the Welsh speaking students.

Steven has created a website to showcase the work of his students and where they can access learning resources. He is an asset to DACE and teaches many classes across South West Wales. 

Steven said: “I enjoy my work as a tutor and I give my best to help the learners. I am very proud of this award”.

Carole Butler

Carole Butler, also winner of the Tutor Award, teaches Psychology on the part-time degree course at DACE.  She also develops psychology modules at all levels and teaches study skills.  Having left school at 16 Carole  graduated at the age of 47 with first classhonours and wenton do do a Masters of Philosophy (MPhil). So she knows what it is like to return to learning.

Students constantly praise Carole and talk about her as being one of the most inspiring and supportive people on their learning journey.

Carole’s classes are full, people rarely drop out and attendance is excellent. This says more than words about her ability to engage with people and inspire them to learn. Carole makes everyone feel at ease – from those who are learning for the first time to those who are graduating.  Carole can communicate complex concepts, theories and information to those new to learning and to Higher Education.  Importantly Carole creates safe and supportive learning environments where learners feel comfortable to ask for help, and Carole is always quick to respond. 

Centre managers and staff love having her teaching at their centres because they know things will go smoothly and that learners will have a positive experience. Carole has a bright and bubbly personality, modest, warm and clever.

A recent study on the student experince revealed what her students think of Carol: “ She is lovely - engaging, not ever boring.” “ Really supportive ...letting you know all the time if there was anything you needed to go to her for.” “She is an excellent tutor ...went out of her way to help us all.” “She made you want to learn.”

Carole said:  “This is a role that I love. The subjects that I teach are fascinating and I enjoy passing what I have learned onto others. The role is very rewarding as I see student's develop their confidence and knowledge as they progress through introductory courses to higher level courses and often onto the Part Time Degree. On graduation day each summer it is a joy to see the students collect their awards and to feel that I have played a part in that.”