For three years running Birmingham City University picked up the higher education equivalent of an ‘Oscar’ in recognition of its excellence in a range of services and activities.
The prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, a powerful influencer in the world of higher education, recognises excellence in the sector through its two annual award schemes.
Birmingham City University has picked up top prizes in both the THE Awards - which celebrate excellence, especially in the core pursuits of teaching and research - and the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (dubbed the ‘Thelmas’), which were set up in 2009 to recognise the impact professional support staff have on the success of a university.
The University won the ‘Best International Strategy’ category in the 2011 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. The success highlights the culture of ‘internationalism’ that has been embedded across the University, with academic faculties and departments committed to supporting a pioneering approach to overseas partnership-building. Judges said: “This structural approach has resulted in a step change in the organisation’s international awareness and has resulted in a positive impact on the corporate brand and delivery of key international objectives.”
The University shared the top prize in the 2010 ‘Outstanding Support for Students’ category with its Students’ Union. The two organisations jointly launched the Student Academic Partners Scheme (SAP) scheme, which aims to empower student learners. In their summary, the impressed judging panel said the scheme was a “truly outstanding example to others across the sector”.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary Carswell and Tom Thompson, then President of Birmingham City Students’ Union, headed the University delegation.
This is fantastic recognition to our core commitment of putting students first.
“What made our submission really stand out is the fact it’s a partnership between the University and its Students’ Union."
Professor Mary Carswell
Professor Stuart Brand, Director of CELT and who led development of the SAP scheme with the Students’ Union, said at a time when students can too easily be viewed as “passive consumers” the judges were impressed that at Birmingham City University learners were proactively integrated into the fabric of their learning and research communities.
“The SAP initiative is an example of how we are working in close and effective partnership, actively encouraging our students to become part of the learning process,” added Professor Brand. “I really do believe we have developed something that is unique and I hope will inspire and influence the sector.”
The panel on the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards decided Birmingham City University ran the best student recruitment campaign in the country. The University was one of six shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Recruitment Campaign’ award and pipped the rest to the post thanks to its outstanding work in the field. Judge Tricia Wombell commented on the fact the University rebranded to connect with the city of Birmingham and added: “The University set clear budgets, clear targets and devised a striking advertising campaign that proved excellent value for money."