Eight’s great for Educate North – University picks up record number of shortlisted entries.

Posted on 24th March 2017

The University of Chester is celebrating after being shortlisted for a record number of accolades at the prestigious Educate North Awards 2017, reaching the final list in each category in which it entered.

University Porter and Team Leader Malcolm Bate.
University Porter and Team Leader Malcolm Bate.

Now in their third year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding teams, people and initiatives from higher and further education institutions across the north of England. 

The categories range from Student Experience to Employer Engagement, University of the Year, to Leadership awards. The University has been shortlisted for a total of eight categories, with the institution’s Sustainability Unit being recognised for the third year running. 

Shortlisted submissions are: 

  • Student Experience award: The University of Chester Porters (Chester and Warrington).
  • Lecturer/ Academic of the Year: Dr Tony Wall, Faculty of Business and Management.
  • UK Leadership Award: Ian White, Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services.
  • Environmental Industry Award (two shortlisted entries): the Eco Box scheme from Hospitality Services; and the Sustainability Unit.
  • Employer Engagement Award: the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship scheme (Faculty of Business and Management).
  • External Relations Team of the Year: Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions.
  • Students’ Union of the Year: Chester Students’ Union. 

The University’s Porters are finalists in the Student Experience award for the significant and vital role they play at the University of Chester. They provide expert, immediate and effective support to many students.  With a combined 200 years’ experience between the 16 Porters, the contributions of these frontline members of staff cannot be underestimated, and is appreciated by many across the institution. They are, simultaneously, first aiders, welfare staff, security, mediators, counsellors, key-holders, drivers, support staff and exceptional ambassadors for the University of Chester, and their nomination for the Student Experience award is being celebrated across all the University’s Campuses. 

Dr Tony Wall is nominated in the category of Lecturer/ Academic of the Year. He is the founder and Director of the International Thriving at Work Research Group at the University of Chester, and is a visiting scholar at research centres in the UK, Australia and the US. Tony has been recognised at the highest level for his outstanding and innovative approach to infusing teaching and learning with discovery, resilience, and wellbeing. This year, Tony won the highest possible accolade a lecturer could achieve, attaining the Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship. 

Ian White, Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services at the University, is shortlisted in the UK Leadership Award. Ian has worked at the University of Chester for 30 years. Just over a year ago, he became Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services after a fantastically successful 12 months, which included launching new catering outlets across multiple sites, and steering the University’s 175th Anniversary year celebrations. A key achievement from the last 12 months is the leadership of, and guidance for, a brand new department: Hospitality and Residential Services. This new structure includes the residential out of hours support teams across the Chester, Warrington and Shrewsbury sites, and Duty Tutors (members of staff on-call on a rota basis for student emergencies and welfare concerns). Ian’s Hospitality and Residential Services Team is also behind the pioneering award-winning initiative, The Eco Box, which is one of two sustainable initiatives nominated in the Environmental Industry category. A recyclable container, the Eco Box means that thousands of polystyrene boxes a year no longer go to landfill. 

Also shortlisted in the same category is the Sustainability Unit – which was an award winner last year. All four members of this small team work tirelessly to create and expand a community that shares information, ideas and experiences and continuously evolves and improves sustainability throughout the University. 

The University of Chester is leading the way as one of the first universities in the country to have specifically designed and successfully launched the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) programme. This has been developed and is being delivered by The Centre for Work Related Studies through the University’s well-established Work Based Learning framework. It is also working closely with local partners and employers including SMEs to drive the apprenticeship agenda in the North West. The University’s cohort for 2016/17 comprises 12 CMD apprentices out of just 50 enrolments across the country, bringing an impressive 24% of all available apprentices in the UK to Chester. The remaining 38 apprenticeships are shared out among other Higher and Further Education institutions in the country running a similar scheme. For this achievement, the programme – and the Faculty of Business and Management - is a finalist in the Employer Engagement category. 

The constant drive of the University’s Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions (MRA) team has been recognised in the External Relations category. MRA is responsible for a significant range of external facing processes and initiatives, many of which are integral to the University’s operations. Central to the 2016 student recruitment and engagement campaign was #MyChesterStory -  allowing students to become involved with the institution on social media in their own unique way. This continues to be a successful way of engaging with students and staff alike. 

Finalist Chester Students’ Union represents all students studying at the University of Chester. CSU’s aim is to enhance the student experience, which it achieves through its services including active student voice and representation work, campaigns, student advice services, sports and societies, retail outlets and a licensed bar. CSU has sites at Chester, Warrington and Shrewsbury, and actively works across all Campuses to support the students. 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, said: “This is excellent news for the University and wonderful that so many aspects of University life are represented, across our students, academic and support staff. Chester has enjoyed great success at Educate North in previous years – including four awards last year – and we are looking forward to saluting this recognition in such a range of categories and learning whether we have something further to celebrate at the awards ceremony in Manchester next month.” 

Dr Anna Mackenzie, Senior Project Officer at the University of Chester, coordinates the University’s award submissions. 

She added: “We are delighted to see such a diverse range of submissions shortlisted and recognised for their impact on the University’s operations. Thank you to all staff involved for their enthusiasm, attention to detail and sheer passion about their areas. It is a great achievement for them to be shortlisted and their work lauded as among the best practice across the region; we will have our fingers crossed for April 27.” 

More details about the awards can be found at www.educatenorth.co.uk