A sit down with Kenisha Garnett the winner of Best Research Supervisor at the CSA Student Choice Awards 2020
What have been some of your highlights of teaching this year’s cohort?
The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed how we deliver teaching and supervise our students, and while the transition to online learning was successful during the lockdown, students have had to cope with an entirely new learning environment and interaction with us that they found challenging. Despite such challenges, there are many highlights from this academic year. I have enjoyed online debates about organisational resilience, and how companies might better prepare for future disruptive events. Equally, I have enjoyed more informal conversations about coping mechanisms during a crisis. There were many stories I listened to and shared with students that allowed us to get to know each other better, and kept students motivated.
How have you adapted to teaching online, and how have your students handled this change?
I have adjusted my teaching/supervision by increasing the level of contact with students, sometimes a short 10 mins chat with an individual or a smaller group meeting that helped to build our relationship online. I think this was needed to ensure students felt connected to their studies at Cranfield while working remotely from campus and other parts of the world. I remember at one of our group project meetings, I had a student in quarantine with a poor internet connection that was communicating through another student via a WhatsApp call; it was surreal! It’s the resolve that our students displayed during the pandemic that is inspiring and remains with me.
How does it feel to be recognised with this award and what does this award mean to you?
This is my first teaching award at Cranfield and I was pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoy working with students and facilitating their growth and development on our courses, so this expression of appreciation is most satisfying. My heartfelt thanks to the students that nominated my colleagues and I for the CSA awards.
Did you have any inspirational lectures/academics when you were doing your MSc and how did that impact your studies?
I had a couple of lecturers that stood out for me when I was at University. One particular memory I have is of a professor that challenged me to solve a calculus problem on the first day of term during my engineering degree. I couldn’t solve it so he frequently called on me to solve problems until I got them all right! I think it’s that determination and resolve to learn that has stuck with me overtime. There are no hurdles / barriers to learning that can’t be overcome with persistence and determination.
Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for this year’s cohort as they work towards their thesis and prepare to leave Cranfield University?
We have such as a rich coherent of students from a range of disciplines and backgrounds at Cranfield, which makes learning here an enriching experience. I encourage our current students to continue producing their ‘best work’, whether that might be presenting outputs of a group project to an industrial client or writing up a significant piece of research. The depth of experience they gain will support lifelong learning and transfer to successful careers, beyond Cranfield.