Lydia Bleasdale named Law Teacher of the Year

Associate Professor Lydia Bleasdale is officially the Law Teacher of the Year 2018.

The prestigious award, sponsored by Oxford University Press, recognises the vital role teachers play in educating the next generation of lawyers as well as rewarding outstanding achievement in teaching. This year six Law teachers from across the UK were shortlisted.

Lydia said she was “completely overwhelmed” to have won, and that her approach to teaching is about “inspiring students to embrace challenge and develop as people, not simply as ‘students’ in a traditional sense.”

Speaking about her win Lydia said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have won this award.  I wanted to win it as a way of saying thank you to the students and staff who were interviewed by the judging panel on the day that they visited campus, particularly to Professor Alastair Mullis: student education is taken incredibly seriously at the School of Law, and teaching excellence is really valued.

“My most recent research has focused upon the importance of communities and relationships. Innovation in education is very important, but I truly believe that what defines our students’ memories of their time at University is their relationships with friends and with staff. I was privileged to have my former personal tutor, now colleague, Professor Nick Taylor with me at the award ceremony. I did not have an easy introduction to studying Law, and without his tremendous support I would not have completed my degree. If you had told me at the start of my second year that I would one day win a national Law teaching award, I would never have believed you: it is in large part because of him that I was in a position to, so I wanted to win it for him.”

Commenting on Lydia's success, Professor Nick Taylor said: “Lydia cares. I don’t know if that is her ‘secret’ but she cares and that shines through in her teaching. She is a fabulous beacon of what the Law School at Leeds is about. I have known Lydia for 20 years. She has developed from a reluctant law student into the best of law teachers. It is a phenomenal and deserved achievement."

As Director of community engagement not only has Lydia been an inspirational and engaging teacher she has encouraged and supported hundreds of students through pro-bono and community engagement activities. These activities have received several awards over the years, including the LawWorks Best New Student Pro Bono Project, and the Leeds for Life Citizenship (Community) Award (both for the Welfare Rights Project); and the Higher Education Academy Outstanding Student Project Award (for an in-house Clinic). All of these awards recognise the collaborative relationship between Lydia, the students and external supervisors to assist the local community.

Head of School Professor Alastair Mullis, praised Lydia for her hard work in building a strong school community saying: “we are so proud of her. It is a truly deserved win. She is an inspirational teacher who works hard to give her students the best possible education, as well as tirelessly working on our community engagement projects. She is an exceptional asset to the School.”

 Lydia is not the first School of Law member to be nominated for the prestigious award with Nick Taylor, Anna Lawson and Neil Stanley all making it to the finals in recent years.

 Massive congratulations to Lydia for her well-deserved win.