Karen Sheldrake, a social care studies graduate from Coleg Sir Gâr has won an internationally recognised award for academic integrity.
The Turnitin Global Innovation Awards recognise people and institutions worldwide and Karen, who is from St Clears in Carmarthen, received a special commendation in the Learning with Integrity Award category for the UK and Ireland. She shares her success amongst other regional winners from as far as Asia, Europe and Latin America.
When Karen Sheldrake started her BA programme at the college’s Ammanford campus, she was diagnosed with cancer early on in her studies.
Overcoming challenges in her personal life and her health and with a three-year degree ahead of her, she took the decision to continue her studies. With the supportive help of her tutors, Karen used a system called Turnitin - a global submission platform for assessment, which allowed her to access assignments and information whilst receiving treatment in and out of hospital to meet deadlines without having to be present at college. “Turnitin allowed me to study regardless of location,” said Karen. “Accessing notes from tutors and also the ability to send a draft when I was unable to physically be in class resulted in me obtaining distinctions throughout my BA.”
Coleg Sir Gâr highlights to all its students the importance of academic study skills and provides supporting materials on issues such as the severity of plagiarism, all of which are highly supported by a teaching and support team. Turnitin’s website quoted: “As an institution, Coleg Sir Gâr not only values academic integrity but the holistic education journey and wellbeing of its students overall”.
Karen Sheldrake has progressed to a PGCE teaching qualification within the college with future aspirations to support students with additional needs through higher education study. She added: “This award should be used as a symbol of hope for others that are in my position.”
Karen James, lecturer in social care studies at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Undertaking a degree takes commitment and is an educational and academic journey in itself, but the strength and determination that Karen has shown has been awe-inspiring and as a team, we wanted to support her all the way with personal and technical support.”