James Wilton-Ely receiving SACA

Dr James Wilton-Ely

The winner of the 2014 Student Academic Choice Award for Best Tutoring was Dr James Wilton-Ely of the Department of Chemistry.


James joined Imperial in 2009 and is current Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry. He is also the Director of the MRes Green Chemistry programme and founder of the new MRes in Catalysis. His research interests span many areas of metal chemistry, from nanoparticles for medical imaging and catalysis to carbon monoxide detection to the catalytic breakdown of biomass to platform chemicals.

"I really enjoy tutorials"

He has experience of teaching (and research) at many different institutions (Munich, St Andrews, UCL and Oxford) and seeks to use this in developing his undergraduate teaching at Imperial. He received the Rector's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012.

Reaction to winning the SACA for Best Tutoring

"I am delighted to receive this award and it is particularly significant as it is awarded by the students themselves. I really enjoy tutorials and know that a relaxed, supportive atmosphere is key to the students being able to ask even very simple questions. This way the whole group can get more out of the tutorial. I remember how much tutorial discussions helped me grasp challenging concepts when I was an undergraduate at Imperial and I try to pass this on to the current students." 

What students said about Dr James Wilton-Ely

  • "As a personal tutor, he has gone far out of his way for me. Unfortunately, I spent much of last year being ill, but he has always offered help and has made himself available for me at awkward times - I visited him in labs on one occasion. He also willingly engaged with my parents while I was ill, and in my opinion provided them with the reassurances they needed about my exams etc. The small touches such as emailing me to wish me good luck for my resits (my other tutors didn't) are always greatly appreciated!"

  • "This year, I have been fortunate enough to have him as an academic tutor. I hope my tutorial group would be in agreement when I say we are always made to feel welcome with the offer of tea and coffee as well as biscuits for the longer tutorials. What's more important however is the way he runs the tutorials; no one is put on the spot, but he still makes an effort to involve us all. Unlike many tutors, he has managed to keep up with all of our courses; indeed we have actually been progressing faster that the lectures in some cases and yet I feel he has covered everything thoroughly."

  • "He is always more than willing to go through something separate that we don't understand, even though he hasn't prepared for it. It's amazing how much more sense lecture courses make after he has explained them; I do get the impression that he is confident with what he is saying and not only is that reassuring, but it increases the trust that we have in him."

  • "He is an amazing tutor who has made tough inorganic lecture courses a lot easier to understand and grasp. Not only does he prepare his own tutorial sheets on top of the few provided, he also is willing to run extra sessions for tricky subjects. James turns up to every tutorial and approaches them with enthusiasm and encourages all of us to contribute in them creating a friendly learning environment."

  • "James gives us his undivided for that hour unlike other tutors who spend half the time checking their phones or emails! The additional offer of tea and coffee every session makes tutorials even better!"


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