RU Employees receive awards for research, teaching and service

Reykjavik University Awards 2020


The annual Reykjavik University Awards were announced yesterday, Saturday. The awards are presented to employees who have demonstrated excellence in research, teaching and service. This year’s recipients are Dr. Jack James, professor in the Department of Psychology; Steinunn Groa Sigurðardottir, lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Stefania Gudny Rafnsdottir, who works in finance.

The awards were presented in an unusual fashion this time, due to the gathering limits. Award recipients received their awards outside their homes and the event was part of the online Christmas party for employees.

The RU Awards were first given out in 2010. Students and employees submit nominations and selection committees choose the recipient in each category, based on information on teaching records, teaching evaluations, research evaluations, CV and more.

Research Award – Dr. Jack James

When it comes to the research awards, among the criteria considered are peer-reviewed publications, contribution to international scientific community, work with students on research, awarded grants, and connecting research to industry and society.


Dr. Jack James, the Research Award recipient for 2020 

Dr. Jack James, the Research Award recipient for 2020, has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written three peer-reviewed books and nine peer-reviewed book chapters. He has supervised a number of post-docs, doctoral students, master’s students and undergraduate students. He has also been an active participant in the international scientific community, for example by being an editor for scientific journals.

Teaching Award – Steinunn Groa Sigurdardottir

When it comes to the teaching awards, the criteria considered include innovation in course structures, design of new courses, use of diverse evaluation methods, use of information technology, organization, interactions with students, creation of material and more.

Steinunn Gróa SigurðardóttirSteinunn Groa Sigurdardottir, the Teaching Award recipient for 2020

Sigurdardottir has been a trailblazer in the advancement of teaching methods at the university. She is particularly capable of getting complex concepts across to students in a clear manner and is always ready to help students and answer their questions. In their nominations, students mentioned that she readily takes into consideration suggestions and comments from students, and that she adjusted her teaching both quickly and exceptionally well when Covid hit.

Service Award – Stefania Gudny Rafnsdottir

When it comes to the service awards, the criteria include quality of services offered, quick response, good communications, initiative, connections with students and employees, cooperation with other parts of RU, knowledge and capabilities.

Stefania Guðný RafnsdóttirStefania Gudny Rafnsdottir, the Service Award recipient for 2020 

Stefania handles the collection of tuition fees, which is not the most visible aspect of services offered by the university. Nonetheless, she performs that task with care and patience. Students are grateful for good interactions and solution-oriented thinking, while colleagues enjoy how pleasant, quick, precise and positive she is.