The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) was one of the top winners at last night’s 2018 Educate North Awards after winning in four categories.
The awards are a celebration of excellence and best practice in the education sector in the North.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas won the UK Leadership Award, which celebrates a member of staff that can demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities as well as an inspirational and innovative approach. Other gongs were for International Partnership, International Transnational Education and Innovation.
Professor Mike Thomas said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award and lead a University that strives to have common sense and compassionate leadership at its core. Together, with a dedicated team, we run a University that has a positive, cheerful and can-do attitude.
“Nowhere is this more evident than in our work with the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine, when, in just nine days, the University and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust worked together to help an entire medical university relocate to Preston and continue its studies following the devastation of Hurricane Irma. I want to thank the staff and students involved in this tremendous project who demonstrated the vision, decisiveness and compassion to make the impossible possible.”
The University also won the International Partnership category for its work with the AUC.
It claimed the Innovation award for its In the City Project, a community hub delivered by the communications and engagement team to bring local people together through a variety of free events and activities.
Engagement and outreach officer Lee MacNeall runs the In the City project. He commented: “We’re thrilled to win this award in recognition of the University’s approach to social engagement through this exciting and innovative venture.
“It is the only UK-wide permanent university space situated within a shopping centre that is focused solely on engagement with the community rather than course promotion and student recruitment. Through the In the City project we have been able to minimise social isolation, increase inclusivity and tackle some the issues that factor into deprivation and social inequality.”
The University’s delivery of a BSc (Hons) Architecture course in Hong Kong scooped the International Transnational Education Award. UCLan worked in collaboration with the Vocational Training Council to deliver the course, which was validated by the Royal Institute of Architects. The first cohort graduated in November.
In addition, a UCLan student was also rewarded for her enterprising spirit through the 2018 University Entrepreneurs Challenge Grant, which rewards start-up businesses with a kick-start grant of £1000.
Applied science foundation student Sharmaine Mundozo won the prize for her new business, Joypad, which is a website and online diary offering support and guidance to 14 – 16-year-olds.
She said: “I am very grateful to God and overwhelmed. The business is still very much in its infancy so this money will go a long way in helping to set-up the website.”
The awards were judged by a panel of leading industry professionals and experts and announced at a ceremony on the 26 April at the Radisson Blu Manchester.
UCLan sponsored the University Entrepreneurs Challenge, which was run alongside the awards. The winners were presented by Professor Mike Thomas on behalf of David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board at UCLan.