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Vice-Chancellor's Awards 2017/2018

Jun 15, 2018

Yesterday (14 June) Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Marshall welcomed guests and reflected on the successes and numerous achievements of the last year at the VC's Awards. 

She said: “Despite the turbulent and ever more challenging environment we operate in, team Salford is pulling together and getting on with the job. It is that spirit of Salford that makes this University what it is, and with the external climate showing many further challenges on the horizon I am confident that it is this Salford spirit that will see us pull together and continue to go from strength to strength.”

Helen then revealed the four winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Awards.

1.    Business Ethics and Sustainability (BE&S) module: Romas Malevicius, Bec Bennett and Martyn Willcock

The leaders of this module really demonstrate shared team values.  Although a single module, BE&S reaches an impressive 350 students each academic year.  The team are passionate about ensuring the curriculum and teaching puts the latest real-world experience at its core, with the students working across the University and with the third sector. They constantly focus on impact and regularly review and revise curriculum content taking into account student views to ensure continuous improvement.

The BE&S team clearly demonstrated their pride in being ICZ ready and could articulate their impact beyond delivering the curriculum into the external collaboration they have undertaken which has raised our institutional profile and our external reputation. Students have benefitted from guest lectures and worked on live briefs that have led to real change in the community and the University itself such as the introduction of refillable water  bottles and new water fountains. They have also been shortlisted in the annual responsible business and management writing competition.

2.    Digital Innovation Team -  Dr. Alex Fenton, Dr. Marie Griffiths & Dr. Suzanne Kane

The second award goes to a team that really impressed the panel with their work in pushing the principles of industry collaboration and ensuring the curriculum is ICZ ready. The application was full of examples of the different engagement activities the team undertake with a strong focus on ensuring that their work is always driven by the latest external developments. They also embraced innovative teaching and learning approaches including Lego SeriousPlay, digital quizzes, Goodle Hangours, Business Modelling as well as online/offline methods.

It was clear to the panel that each member of the Digital Innovation Team treats their “day-to-day” activities as an opportunity to explore new ways of doing things and never settle for the status quo. They also showed an authentic and genuine commitment to continuous staff development.

3.    GM Synergy Team, School of Health & Society: Dr Jacqueline Leigh, Lisa Littlewood and Dr Emma Gillaspy. Consultants to the team: Howard Barringer, Helen Parker and student nurses, Rachel Brennan and Rachel Ecclestone

The third winning application yet again demonstrated a strong sense of team, and clearly encompassed a group of staff dedicated to outstanding practice and partnership work. Throughout their application there was a focus on impact, which is communicated in students’ work and learning.  The team also contributed to the pilot work around coaching and personal tutors, demonstrating their eagerness to be involved in best practice.

The application outlined some impressive outcomes, most notably increasing the number of available placements from 63 to 168 and having clear impact in their cross-agency work in across Greater Manchester to improve patients’ lives.  They collaborate with four higher education institutions and multiple healthcare organisation to revolutionise the way that clinical leadership development and peer learning is provided for undergraduate student nurses. The amount of work undertaken and impact delivered by the team was impressive.

4.    MSc Data Science Team; Mo Saree, Farid Meziane, Judita Preiss, Rob Aspin and Paul Ward

The panel was struck by how positive this application was with a real sense of energy and passion.  This team runs a new distinctive programme that clearly deserves recognition for what they have achieved in a short time. The programme was created in response to a HEFCE call to develop courses to meet a skills gap in artificial intelligence and engineering, with the team winning a competitive bid for £50k to co-create the programme with SAS Analytics, one of the largest specialist providers of big data analytics.

MSc Data Science has already engaged many external partners and has put our strategy of industry collaboration at its core from the start. The level of engagement with industry is commendable, with the team already having 57 live industry projects under its belt. It’s clear the team are dedicated to ensuring their students are prepared for the world of work and have the skills to succeed. The majority of last year’s graduates are already in full employment.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Stephenson then took to the stage to present the winner and runner up in the Research Excellence Awards

Winner: Dr Debapriya Mondal from the School of Environment & Life Sciences

The panel felt this was an incredibly strong application. There was a good narrative demonstrating a coherent research programme over ten years looking at groundwater arsenic and its detrimental public health impact, with a focused strategy of delivery and evolution. 

Dr Mondal is internationally-focused both in her subject area and in the development and leadership of PGR activities. The panel were particularly impressed with the real-word impact of her research tackling important societal and environmental challenges across the globe. It is fair to say the quality is world-leading, with significant impact on policy and practice demonstrated in strong case studies. She has also had more than 25 publications.

Runner-up: Dr O. Anwar Beg from the School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Dr O. Anwar Beg’s field of research is in mechanical, aeronautical, energy, chemical, petroleum and medical engineering. His application was a strong example of research informed teaching.  His enthusiasm and commitment to undertake both research and at the same time support students to produce their best work was clear and is highly commendable. Ensuring our research informs and inspires our teaching is at the heart of our ICZ strategy and this application embodied that philosophy.

Anwar only joined the University in 2016, but despite this short time has already made a significant impact through collaborating across the School. He has published over 400 journal papers and dozens of conference articles and is currently the most cited researcher on Google Scholar in the School of Computing, Science and Engineering.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor then handed over to Registrar Alison Blackburn, who announced the three winners of each category in the Professional Services Awards:

1.    Outstanding Team of the Year – Inclusion and Diversity Team Gemma Lomas, Luqman Waghat, Sue Clark, Arron Pile, Dawn Parrington, Polly Smith, Helen Parker, Kirsty Fairclough, Tahira Majothi, Graham Rimmer, Amanda Bradley-Rigbye, Ed Moloney, Luke Newton, Francine Morris, Revd Kim Wasey, Imam Rashid Musa, Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag and Sister Teresa Wild

In June 2017, the University of Salford reaffirmed its commitment to the Inclusion and Diversity agenda by investing in a permanent team to deliver the new inclusion strategy. The team was tasked with providing a contemporary and fresh approach to the challenge of;

“Creating an inspirational, inclusive learning, research and working environment that celebrates and encourages diversity of thoughts, actions and backgrounds that will enrich our everyday conversations and actions.”

It was about taking conscious steps towards a more inclusive future and going beyond just promoting diversity and inclusion by making practical changes to the way we do things here. Students needed to see people ‘like them’ working at the institution and the team quickly realised that to achieve any kind of impact they needed to reach out to other individuals who were equally determined to reprioritise the agenda.

A refreshed Inclusion & Diversity governance structure was introduced in September 2017. All of the key applicants listed above played an active role in this process and together have delivered a much more unified presence across both staff and student services. Their mantra is to collaborate at every opportunity, using our networks and champions to create a buzz and put some life into their action plans.

This application demonstrates that in the last twelve months, the team have embraced opportunities to embed Inclusion and Diversity across the University. The plan for 2018 is to achieve sustainable improvement that makes us a University of choice for all.

Highly Commended: Library of Fake News Team

2.    Outstanding Project or Innovation of the Year: Library Development Team Sue Hoskins, Peter Dentith, Dan Leach, Patrick Kinsella, Stephen Morrin and Paula Spring

In 2015 our main library, Clifford Whitworth, did not meet our students expectations. The Library National Student Survey score for that year came in at 81%, 8% below the comparator group average of 89%. The Library Development Project set out to re-develop the Clifford Whitworth Library to create the learning spaces needed to meet our students expectations and to provide the kind of learning space envisioned by Salford Curriculum +. It was completed on time, to budget and has successfully delivered the outcomes identified in the project business case. The 2016 NSS score relating to the library improved to 88%, strongly suggesting that the actions taken to mitigate its impact on students were effective.
The student feedback during and after the project has been very positive. Students have said things like “conducive and serene spaces with state-of-the-art facilities…”, “amazing! What a fantastic “space”. The transformation of the library has also attracted attention within the HE sector. Librarians from Wolverhampton University and Liverpool John Moores have visited us to talk about how we mitigated the impact of construction on the student experience.

Highly Commended: Student Experience Team & Programme Administration Team:

3.    Registrar’s Award 2017: Vincent Greener

Vincent is one of the security team managers and consistently works over and above what is expected of him. Following the bomb attack in Manchester, he pushed for regular Prevent training for all staff and also implemented training to give confidence to staff in dealing with unattended items. Bike crime rose last year potentially tarnishing Salford’s reputation as a safe place to be, but Vincent took the initiative to turn this around by bidding for funding for bike locks and promotional material and internal and external advisory communications. He has developed an effective local working procedure for the team to deal with unsafe incidents, which has already shown significant safety improvements to working practices. His background as a senior leader in Greater Manchester Police is invaluable and he has even shared his policing knowledge in Law lectures to students.

Vincent sets the example for his teammates to follow by always going the extra mile to improve the safety of everyone. His efforts and drive have made a real difference to all campus users, even if they are unaware of it.

Highly Commended: Sam Royle from the School of Health Sciences

Last but by no means least, Associate Director of Student and Academic Support Nicole Holt presented the final award – the Harold Riley Award for Leadership in Community Engagement.

Podiatary team; Michelle Cullen, Kath Parnell & Susan Millidge.

The winner of this year’s award are a group of our colleagues who have had wide engagement across Salford and Manchester. They have involved students throughout their community engagement and as such exposed them to dealing with real world problems and improve their employability.

The work of the team has focussed on helping patients and residents look after themselves and their conditions without have to rely on the NHS and therefore help people live healthier lives whilst also reducing the strain on key public services.

They have worked in partnership with a number of community agencies and combined with the student involvement have also, through their community engagement, embodied the principles of industry collaboration.