Winner: Dr Amit Jinabhai
Having previously enjoyed helping and working with his peers, Dr Amit Jinabhai always knew that ultimately he would like to teach.
Dr Amit Jinabhai has been a lecturer at the University of Manchester since 2012, which he says has “really given me the platform to continue to develop my passion for teaching.”
Dr Jinabhai describes his teaching style as “interactive, yet quite direct,” adding: “I do like to say it how it is and I think that our students, on the whole, appreciate this because they quickly know where they stand.” Explaining the importance of interactivity, the lecturer says: “Without any doubt, students find interactive learning much more stimulating and it tends to keep them engaged for longer too.”
In his position, Dr Jinabhai encourages students to challenge one another to get them thinking and discussing academic topics outside of the “clinical cubicles and lecture theatres,” believing this helps them develop their peer-review skills for the future.
As a lecturer, one of Dr Jinabhai’s key responsibilities is delivering visual optics lectures to second-year undergraduates. Reflecting on this module, he says: “I am particularly passionate about teaching visual optics because I want my students to appreciate that almost every single piece of equipment that they will use on their patients is based on the fundamental principles of optics. For example, reflection is utilised in both the optical coherence tomography device and the keratometer.
“My philosophy is that sophisticated equipment requires knowledgeable practitioners to design and create them.”
For Dr Jinabhai, the most rewarding part of his role is “watching our students develop into the practitioners of the future.”
Expanding on this he shares: “Last year I supervised a summer research project with an undergraduate student, Jessica Corrie, who did such an excellent job with her work that we were able to present our findings, as a poster, at the European Academy of Optometry and Optics conference in Berlin.
“I was extremely proud to see one of our students succeed at such an early stage of their career. So, without any doubt, sharing in our students’ successes is the most rewarding aspect of my job.”
Finalist: Andrew Gridley
Andrew Gridley retrained as an optometrist in his 30s, having previously been a primary school teacher.
Having completed the University of Manchester’s Masters programme, a lectureship seemed like a natural step. Describing his teaching style as engaging and fun, Mr Gridley uses props and audience volunteers, as well as apps, animation and videos, to ensure engagement.
Finalist: Dr Ahalya Subramanian
As a senior lecturer at City, University of London, Dr Ahalya Subramanian has worked in academia for more than a decade.
Dr Subramanian teaches across all three years of the optometry programme, as well as on the postgraduate and foundation degree courses. She describes the most rewarding part of her job as being a role model to the next generation of optometrists.