An inspirational researcher has been awarded the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Sheffield in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the University and the wider community.
Dr James Weinberg, from the Department of Politics, received the 2019 Chancellor’s Medal during the University’s Winter Graduation to mark his work in the Faculty of Social Sciences where he has been an advocate for citizenship education and civic participation.
The former secondary school teacher has been the Lead Fellow for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democratic Participation since January 2017, becoming one of the key ‘go to’ people in terms of evidence-based advice on a range of issues regarding youth political engagement and citizenship education.
He has also helped produce new professional support and teaching aids for school teachers and exam boards, as well as providing policy-focused research with over 60 English schools that has been published in leading academic journals.
Professor Matthew Flinders, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Politics, said: “James’ achievements are quite incredible, especially given the fact that this has been in addition to his day-to-day doctoral research.
“I have spent the last few years not only supervising James’ thesis but also observing – often with a sense of amazement and awe – a young man who has a passion for education and the capacity to reach across traditional disciplinary and professional boundaries.
“James has emerged as a positive and influential ambassador for the University of Sheffield in governmental and parliamentary circles and he has excelled in relation to his commitment to ‘the civic university.”
James has also been influential as Chair of the Political Studies Association’s Early Career Network, where he helped transform the network in terms of its focus, and oversaw a rise in membership to an all-time high.
In the last two years, James has built a reputation as a key ambassador for political literacy and widening participation strategies centred on citizenship education for young people, giving presentations at numerous events including one at the World Forum of Democracy.
James said: “I was deeply moved and honoured to find out that I had been awarded the Chancellor’s Medal. During my time at the University of Sheffield, as both a doctoral student and now a member of staff, I have tried to conduct my academic research with an outward-looking, public-spirited mind-set.
“The fact that this award recognises the time and effort I have put in to achieve impact in parliamentary circles, to disseminate my research to both academic and public audiences in the UK and beyond, and for my continued dedication to addressing educational inequalities in the secondary education sector where I used to teach, is testament to the University’s own sense of civic duty and commitment to socially responsive academia.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and worked with me on my academic journey so far.”