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Department of Plant Sciences

Professor Beverley  Glover

Each year the Pilkington Prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole, at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Inaugurated in 1994 by Sir Alastair Pilkington, who believed that the quality of teaching was crucial to the University's success, the prizes are awarded annually to staff in recognition of their contributions to teaching excellence.


This year sees the Department of Plant Sciences’ Professor Beverley Glover, who is also Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, receive a Pilkington Prize for her outstanding teaching. Given the challenges facing our planet, there has never been a more important time to educate people about plants, which is why Beverley’s vision to educate as wide an age-range as possible, well beyond the limits of the Natural Science Tripos, is so important. By restructuring and replanting the Botanic Garden to become a living educational aid, Beverley has transformed it into a teaching environment for all ages.


In the year prior to Covid-19, more than 12,000 school pupils visited the Garden taking part in a range of learning activities overseen by a dedicated Schools Officer. In addition to this, the Garden has also provided training for PGCE tutors and research students. Beyond the Garden, Beverley’s outstanding teaching of NST1A Evolution and Behaviour is a key reason why undergraduate students choose to study Plant Sciences at 1B. Inspiring students to pursue plant sciences is vital if we are to educate and train the next generation of researchers who can contribute to global food security, conservation of biodiversity and using plants to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.


Beverley’s imaginative teaching not only spans Natural Science Tripos Part IA, IB and II, but the MPhil in Conservation Leadership and a diverse range of teaching to external Higher Education groups and the public as well. On top of this, in Queen’s College, Beverley supports 1A Biologists with a weekly study skills programme and has made a significant contribution to postgraduate education. Importantly, Beverley’s engagement with the BBC and the Royal Society ensures that her teaching reaches a global audience.


Head of the Plant Sciences Department Professor Alison Smith remarks: “We are delighted that Beverley is a recipient this year of a Pilkington Prize in recognition of her contribution to teaching excellence. Beverley’s outstanding teaching delivery is particularly impressive since she does that alongside her role as Director of the Botanic Garden, which has been doubly challenging this year, with the Garden providing one of the few amenities available to the city during the various lockdowns.”


The 2021 Pilkington Prizes will be celebrated at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday 29th June.