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Alliance universities recognised at Guardian University Awards

The Guardian University Awards recognised excellence in Alliance universities at the prestigious annual ceremony last night presented by Lauren Laverne.

They included the Teaching Excellence award for Kingston University, whose inclusive curriculum framework (ICF) helps staff better support black and minority ethnic students(BME). The ICF provides staff with access to short animations, resources and case studies that help demystify inclusivity. During workshops staff discuss the drivers for equality, diversity and inclusion within higher education. The project began in August 2015, and was initially rolled out across course teams with the largest BME attainment gap, though it has since been spread more widely across the university.

The Open University (OU) won two awards at the ceremony held at LSO St Luke’s in London – they took home the International Project award for Tess-India. India faces an acute teacher recruitment crisis. One in six teaching positions in government schools is empty – altogether, that’s a shortage of a million teachers across the country.

TESS-India (teacher education through school-based support in India) aims to meet fill this gap by training more teachers using high-quality online resources. Teachers get access to educational resources, practical strategies to use in their classrooms, and the massive open online course (known as Mooc) called enhancing teacher education through open educational resources.  The project has been delivered across 17 states, while the Mooc has been accessed by 33,448 participants, with a completion rate of over 40% (compared with a global average of 14%). The project was initially funded by aid from the UK government, but has since secured funding from Save the Children India.

The OU also picked up the Business Partnership Award for True Potential PUFin. The True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin), was established in partnership with True Potential LLP, one of the fastest growing financial services organisations in the UK today. It was founded by one of the OU’s MBA alumni to help address the growing personal debt crisis through enhancing personal financial literacy.

True Potential LLP committed to a five-year programme of financial support to establish the centre of excellence, totalling £1.4m. As the first and only personal finance research centre in the UK that has an active teaching programme freely available to the public, the centre has successfully delivered a suite of open educational resources via OpenLearn and FutureLearn (titles include Managing my Financial Journey, Managing my Money and Managing my Investments), which have helped over 215,000 people since launch.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) succeeded in the Digital Innovation category for their Stroke-specific education framework (Ssef). Since 2009, clinicians have drawn upon the stroke-specific education framework (Ssef) – a guide to the 16 elements of care that align with the national stroke strategy. The framework allows those working in healthcare to self-assess their knowledge and skills, and signposts relevant education and training. It is based on research by UCLan’s Dame Caroline Watkins, professor of stroke and older people’s care.

The Ssef website allows users to create an individualised knowledge and skills passport, and automatically signposts users to education resources that are bespoke to individuals’ needs. Ssef is free to all. The project was planned jointly between the faculty of health and wellbeing and the university’s innovation lab, a department that recruits and mentors UCLan graduates providing them with work experience and developing their employability skills. The tool is used by 1,400 individuals, while 48 training providers and 80 stroke education courses are registered on the website.

Finally, Nottingham Trent University won the Buildings that Inspire award for The Pavilion. This space for collaborative learning and socialising, is at the heart of the university’s Clifton campus. It is also central to the University’s sustainability strategy: the building is cleverly designed to generate more energy than it consumes.

You can find out more about the awards and the 2017 winners here.

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