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This is a guest blog post from BA (Hons) English students Stacey and Rosie, and  BA (Hons) Communication & Media student Eli.

What is the award about? The Duke of Imran Award is about rewarding extraordinary engagement in class and “soundness of moral character.”

Our Journey to Greatness (Duke of Imran Guild)

Stacey is pictured on the left holding a certificate for the Duke of Imran award. Imran stands to Stacey's right holding the other side of the certificate. Stacey wears a denim jack and jeans, her long brown hair is down and she wears a pair of glasses. Imran wears a blue shirt and has a dark moustache and beard. Stacey (she/her): I chose to study English at BU as it has always been my favourite subject, but BU has a much more modern course, combining traditional literary studies with media and film, as well as creative writing.

My journey towards achieving my award was a fulfilling experience and helped me settle in well to my first semester at university. The opportunity to engage with the lecturers in such a unique way was something I didn’t expect to do, but was a brilliant way to encourage interaction between students and lecturers. Being presented with the certificates and progressing through the levels was an exciting and gratifying experience. The seminars for Approaches to Literature with Imran were always full of class discussions, exploring The Picture of Dorian Gray in relation to different literary theories. I felt confident and comfortable sharing my ideas in class, and Imran always encouraged further analysis and details of my points, allowing me to broaden my opinions and enhance my academic skills in relation to the assignments.

Imran and Rosie perch on a table in a seminar room posing with their thumb and finger of their chin in a comical thought pose. Rosie holds a copy of her Duke of Imran Certificate. Rosie (she/her): I chose English at BU because I was intrigued by the less conventional approach; having the opportunity to discuss literature, language, media etc. has been exciting as it hasn’t forced me to narrow down my area of study. Imran’s award is just one example of the many opportunities I have enjoyed participating in. It gave me the opportunity to work without the pressure of grading, but with the reward of personal satisfaction – I had the chance to practice independent research and approaching a moral dilemma with my own thought process.

In the journey to obtaining what is now my most prized possession, I underwent multiple trials including sharing my ideas in seminars (very daunting), carefully drafting 64 words of pure brilliance to convince Imran of my worthiness, and finally I undertook composing an essay explaining my moral and scientific methods in a thought experiment which challenged every thought I had once held.

Elis is posed in a selfie style photo. Their hair is light on the left and a dark colour on the right. They have a red shade of lipstick on, are wearing their glasses and have a selection of funky jewellery on. Eli (they/them): I’ve found the Duke of Imran aware a great way to get out of my comfort zone, contributing in class a lot more and I’ve found it motivational when I’ve struggled with my mental health.

The awards go in levels and I personally liked the incentive to win awards for my contributions because it helped me get to seminars, especially when my mental health wasn’t good.

It might not be a huge thing to most, but to me it was. Due to my diagnosis with Autism, I can find it hard when I don’t see immediate results. Getting certificates for The Duke of Imran Award lit up my mornings because it made me work towards something small. I could achieve it by turning up and contributing in my own way. It got me out of my comfort zone and that is something I can’t do easily.

Our Lecturer Imran Khan, had this to say, “I created the Duke of Imran award ladder because I wanted to show my students how much I value their efforts in class; Eli, Rosie and Stacey can be so proud of themselves for all of their contributions. I integrated creative tasks into the award because I love how creative our students are and I wanted to create another outlet that they can use to express themselves.

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