University Alliance > Blog > Times Higher Awards – a good reminder that we have much to celebrate

Times Higher Awards – a good reminder that we have much to celebrate

Sam Jones
Published on November 30, 2012

It was my first time attending the Times Higher Awards last night, so a few reflections before I move on to congratulate the winners.

My first impression was just how many people were there. We talk a lot about a big and diverse sector, but seeing it represented there in the Ballroom of the Grosvenor House hotel was definitely impressive.

The second thing that struck me was the buzz in the room throughout the evening. Here was a sector that has been feeling the heat – dipping student numbers fanning the flames of the unsettling change of the HE reforms – coming together to celebrate it’s strengths and successes. In David Willetts’ brief speech, which opened the evening, he focused on this success, in particular how positively the rest of the world views our strong and diverse HE sector. If we had been a room full of Americans, it all would have made a lot more sense, and we would have no doubt cheered and clapped throughout, possibly even given the Minister a standing ovation. But for a room full of Brits, it was a good reminder that even when times are tough we have much to celebrate and be proud of as a sector.

The University of Lincoln collecting their award

My third observation was that we need to be better at communicating our strengths, and in a language that everyone else can understand. While this was an evening where it was OK for the sector to be talking to itself, and in its own language, it was striking how obvious it was that compere David Walliams (whose sole gag of flirting with whichever man he shared the stage with got a little tiring) rarely knew what he was being told to say by the slightly-over-the-top-US-Presidential-style teleprompters.  It doesn’t come easily to the British to blow their own trumpet, but at a time when the public purse strings are continuing to be tightened we certainly need to do better at it. It is down to us to demonstrate and communicate the value of the massive contribution we make to society and the economy.

So, to indulge in a little trumpet blowing, I would like to congratulate all those who won awards or were nominated, in particular the members of the Alliance family. Well done to the Times Higher team too, for bringing the sector together to pause, reflect and celebrate.

Congratulations to Alliance winners:

Congratulations to all our members who were nominated for awards. All but two categories had an Alliance institution nominated.

Excellence and Innovation in the Arts

De Montfort University

Northumbria University

University of Salford

Most Improved Student Experience

University of Lincoln

Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development

Northumbria University

Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative

Bournemouth University

University of Lincoln

The Open University

Research Project of the Year

De Montfort University

Business School of the Year

Plymouth Business School, Plymouth University

Most Innovative Teacher of the Year

Mark Brandon, The Open University

Paul Tracey, University of Salford

Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Northumbria University

Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology

Bournemouth University

Outstanding Support for Students

University of Glamorgan

Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year

University of Huddersfield

International Collaboration of the Year

De Montfort University

University of Salford

Entrepreneurial University of the Year

University of Huddersfield

Plymouth University

University of the Year

Plymouth University

 

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