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(Nathan Garnett, 100% Optical Show Manager; Liam Kite, AOP Lecturer of the Year; Naga Munchetty, AOP Awards presenter)

Anglia Ruskin University lecturer, Liam Kite, has been announced the winner of a prestigious AOP national award in recognition of his services to optics. 

Mr Kite was named the winner in the ‘Lecturer of the Year’ category during an awards dinner held in Birmingham yesterday. Sponsored by 100% Optical, this award recognises a lecturer who is committed to offering dynamic and informative teaching that inspires clinical excellence amongst their students, with great pastoral care.

Dispensing optician Liam Kite is the course leader and admissions tutor for optical dispensing at Anglia Ruskin University. Prior to his current role, Mr Kite worked in practice and hospital settings before entering academia in 1997.

Commenting on the accolade, Mr Kite said: “Receiving this award is an honour and a privilege. I never dreamed that I would be in this position. This really is the highlight of my career and I am as near to speechless as I ever get.”

When asked what the best thing about teaching the next generation of opticians is, Mr Kite added: “There are two quotes that have influenced my methodology of teaching: "Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own" – Nikos Kazantzakis; and "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming" – Goethe. Although I do not think that I have ever joyfully collapsed, this has been the item of teaching that is best for me, looking at a student on day one and asking the question: “Where do you want to be in three years?” and then facilitating that transition to the best of my ability. The student of today is the future of the profession, and helping to mould the future is an honour.”

AOP Chairman, Lyndon Taylor, said: “This is the third year that the AOP has run its prestigious Awards evening, which celebrates the achievements of optical professionals and groups. Each year the enthusiasm for the Awards seems to grow, and 2013 is no exception.

“We have received more nominations than ever before, with 16,000 votes cast for those who have been shortlisted. The winners and those shortlisted should be celebrated for their individual initiatives and achievements.”

Run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and sponsored by CooperVision, the awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.

For more information on the AOP Awards, including details of all the winners and shortlisted nominees, see the Optometry Today website www.optometry.co.uk/awards