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Global Politics of Sex and Gender course honoured for innovative teaching

The SPS course Global Politics of Sex and Gender has won a top UK award for innovation in political teaching.

Professor Fiona Mackay and Dr Meryl Kenny with their PSA Award

The programme picked up the Innovations in Teaching Politics (Group) Award 2019 from the Political Studies Association (PSA).

Global Politics of Sex and Gender (GPSG) is an Honours programme set up in Politics and International Relations nine years ago by Dr Claire Duncanson, Dr Meryl Kenny and Professor Fiona Mackay.

It has proven enormously successful, with strong student and external examiner feedback each year and various previous awards.

The Innovations in Teaching Politics Award honours courses that engage and challenge students to develop their knowledge and skills; that deliver innovations in teaching, learning or assessment; that influence professional practice or development; and contribute to the wider teaching and learning of Political Studies.

GPSG was recognised for the way it uses creative methods to bring politics and gender issues to life for students and gets them thinking about theories and topics in expansive ways. It connects their classroom learning to the real world, focusing on the political issues faced by real people. 

The course uses an applied and policy-based approach, with students focusing on solving problems, making decisions and finding practical uses for ideas and theories. They learn skills that are transferrable and will boost their employability.

Teaching is delivered through interactive seminars, with mini lectures complemented by film screenings, group presentations, quizzes, debates, role-plays, mini conferences, guest speakers, and other group activities. 

Other courses in the School of Social and Political Science have now adopted some of the teaching practices used in GPSG.

The GPSG teaching team has received nominations in the annual Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards in every year it has run – including for Best Course, Best Overall Teacher, (for the three teachers, individually) and Best Feedback.

Current course convenor Claire Duncanson said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this award. Teaching students about the many ways gender operates as a structure of power has been our passion for a long time, and it’s great to be awarded recognition for our efforts. 

“GPSG students have consistently told us that the course has changed the way they look at the world, improved their critical-thinking skills and informed their career-paths, and we’re proud to have played a part in empowering the next generation of critical-but-engaged feminist researchers and activists.”

Marie Penicaut, a student on the course in 2015/16, said that by taking the class: “I found out what I want to do with my life - work to promote gender equality.”

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