The educator of the year is Luis Sarmiento Pico. He teaches physics to students on Lund University's physics and engineering programmes. The web editorial team had a few minutes with Luis, or Pico as he is known.
Congratulations on the award, Pico! What was your reaction when you got the news?
"I got a phone call saying that I had been nominated and of course it was a great honour to be nominated. Then the person told me that the committee had decided to award me the prize and I was speechless for a few seconds. Then I was just happy and grateful."
Do you use any special pedagogical methods in your teaching?
"My perception and understanding of teaching and learning in higher education is something that has evolved with me as I quickly went from someone who learns to someone who teaches. I continue to adapt my methods based on students' feedback and based on what I think are my strengths in addition to my enthusiastic, almost histrionical, way of teaching: colourful didactic slides with plenty of room for discussion and lecture notes that are not a voluminous text that the student can "just read". In my lecture notes, students are expected to connect the dots."
What motivates you as a lecturer?
"I have the privilege of teaching subjects that I am passionate about and I think this is contagious to the students. I try to make sure to constantly update the slides with the latest research in topics that I find interesting. Even well-established, basic theories and approaches are challenged, to re-energise them, so that they can spark the students' desire to tackle them."
Apart from the honour, is there anything else included in the prize?
"The honour is the prize, along with the occasional fame;-)"
Will the prize affect your teaching methods? If so, in what way?
"I think the award in some way validates the time I spend creating and following up on student course evaluations. I do feel the pressure to "live up to the hype" of being a recipient of the award, but I take it as a motivational challenge more than anything else."
Motivation for the LUNA Pedagogical Award on the LUNA website.