Association of Open University Graduates


AOUG 2018 Awards

Research Recognised
AOUG celebrates OU Students’ achievements

In a downstairs room in the Michael Young Building on 5th October, the 2018 Award Ceremony for Research Students took place. Either side of the central table, which was adorned with a flower display, large display boards showed some of the work from the Award recipients. The Chairman started the event by welcoming all the attendees who included members of the OU staff, friends and families of some of the recipients and many members of AOUG.

Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications, gave an address on behalf of Professor Mary Kellett, Acting Vice-Chancellor, who was unable to attend because of prior engagements. In this Lucian stated the AOUG was a marvelous organisation – demonstrating ‘what the OU is all about’. He referred to the fact that he would shortly be leaving the university but that he would remember AOUG fondly.

As each of the Award recipient came to the front, with their presenters, the Chairman provided a brief summary of the person whose name was attached to the Award. Each of these being a person of distinction in the eyes of the OU and all of which had granted their permission, either personally or through their family members, to have their name linked to an Award whose subject area was closely related to their own particular interests. She then introduced each presenter to give a short background to the reason for the student’s nomination. 

Professor June Barrow-Green told the attendees how Tony Royle was succeeding with his doctorate despite also being a qualified pilot, being a recognised ‘Iron Man’ and also being a regular marathon runner. Tony’s field of study was on the archived academic papers of men and women test pilots during World War I. He looked into the achievements of the pilots of the day and amongst other aspects, he studied their observations on the construction of aircraft, on such as the tension needed for the wires to brace aircraft wings. Tony was being recognised with the AOUG Baroness Lee of Asheridge Award for Maths, Computing and Technology and was the first to receive a framed certificate, AOUG information pack and cheque from our Vice-Chairman, Derrick Franks. He (and all the following recipients at the time of their presentations) then posed for photos with Derrick before the Ceremony continued.

Linda Plowright was praised for the originality of her research by Professor Kieron Sheehy. Linda’s research was on the impacts of possible obesity in children of a young age, particularly when physical activity was reduced. The research took an unusual aspect as, with the parental permission, she had involved the children themselves in the research, with their personal pictorial representation of their activities and she included interviews with some of the children involved and much use of photographs and video. Two of the children’s parents were present at the Award Ceremony to see Linda receive the AOUG Vice-Chancellor Lord Perry of Walton Award for Social Sciences.

Before Samantha Fairclough was presented with her AOUG Vice-Chancellor Sir John Horlock Award for Science, the Chairman made special mention of Olga Camm, the founder of AOUG who worked closely with Sir John when he was the Vice-Chancellor at the time our Association was being planned. Samantha carried out her research into moon rocks in particular by the use of a scanning electronic microscope examining samples of sulfur and chlorine. Dr Mahesh Anand proudly informed the audience that Sam had received international recognition for her work.

Dr Jan Moreland informed us that Dominique-Alain Jon could speak three languages and that despite English not being his first language, he had presented a most lucid thesis. He examined the influence of e-portfolio used during teacher training before full time employment and the decline in their use post qualification. He proposed that Open Badges be used to promote professional development. Following receiving the AOUG Vice-Chancellor Sir John Daniel Award for Education and Languages Studies, Dominique requested the opportunity to make a short speech giving thanks both to his tutors and the university.

Lucy Mackay Tumber, recipient of the AOUG Vic Finkelstein Award for Healthy and Social Care concentrated her studies on methods of osteopathy which explained how osteo-manipulation could relieve all kinds of tensions. There did not appear to be any published research in this field and so it was her intention to try to get more professional trust in osteopathy using a new overall theory on such work. Dr Mark Wareing explained that Lucy’s research involved interviews with qualified and student osteopaths, as well as patients.

Professor Peter Lavender told us that Tanya Lawes, recipient of the AOUG Vice-Chancellor Professor Brenda Gourley Award for Business Studies, was an exemplary student researching ground breaking work into apprenticeships by actually interviewing apprentices themselves about their attitudes to their work. This novel research showed that apprentices often felt confused and isolated during their apprenticeship. Neither education institutions nor corporate management had considered the design of their training from a students’ perspective and so she intends to publicise her findings in the hope that it may impact of employers’ future policy decisions.

The last of the Foundation for Education Research Awards, the AOUG Will Swann Award for Innovation and Knowledge Development, was to Johannes Brokx who had completed a project, part funded by the Science Council, aimed at uncovering errors in different research projects which sometimes made him unpopular with some researchers, placing him in often awkward positions. Dr Richard Moat also praised the impact that John’s personality and support of his peers had had on helping lift the spirits of fellow PhD students when required.

The final Award – the AOUG Pearl Anniversary Bursary was presented to Claire Wanless. The Chairman explained that the recipient had had to make a presentation to the AOUG Foundation for Education Trustees prior to being selected and how they were impressed by her ability to explain her research in layman’s terms. Dr Marion Bowman spoke of Claire’s solid research and stated that she was a pleasure to supervise. Claire’s research was into the apparent decline of tradition conventional religious observance and the increase in individualised spiritual practices. Her research centred on Hebden Bridge in North Yorkshire, a town known for its alternative ways of life since the advent of the influx of the ‘hippy generation’ in the 70s.  Here many of her research subjects had their own interpretations on belief, religion and spirituality and had developed their own personal spiritual rituals. Claire hopes in the future to develop the research from this unique area to that of a town with a more tradition lifestyle to see if the findings will be similar. Claire will be presenting the Foundation Lecture in October next year.

The Ceremony being now completed, photographs were taken of all the Award recipients before they joined the other attendees to enjoy a buffet lunch and spend time looking at the eight displays relating to the Award recipients work and also the many AOUG archive exhibits covering an additional ten large display boards specially prepared to celebrate the Association`s thirtieth Anniversary

Ramsey Hertzog - Region 05.