Recognising success in higher education is vital for a thriving sector, says James Grashoff, Head of Sales and Marketing EMEAA at Scientia.
In November, I had the honour of presenting the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology Award at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards in London. Widely recognised as the Oscars of the UK higher education sector, the THE Awards were set up to shine a spotlight on the very best that UK universities and colleges have to offer. Award categories cover everything from Research Project of the Year to Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community – and all points in between.
This was Scientia’s third consecutive year of sponsoring the Awards. Not only is it a unique opportunity to network with some of the most influential people in our sector, but over the years we have been able to invite many senior staff from the institutions we support to celebrate the nominees and winners with us. In short, it’s a fantastic way to see the breadth and volume of exemplary work going on in UK universities today.
As a Company, we believe in recognising and celebrating the success of others in our field. That’s why we chose to sponsor the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation & Technology category, won this year by Nottingham Trent University where Paul Evans, Professor of Applied Imaging Science, and colleagues have made huge strides in developing 3D X-ray scanning, which is helping to make airports and air travel safer across the world. As someone with more than his fair share of air miles, I want to personally thank Paul and his team for their efforts.
Would it have been nice for a Scientia client to win the Award we sponsored? Of course! But it’s hard to be disappointed: a quick glance reveals that almost 60% of the shortlist and more than 40% of the winners are Scientia clients. To know we are trusted by so many institutions at the top of their game is both humbling and extremely gratifying. That trust is highly motivating as we get ever closer to the delivery of our next-generation timetabling solution, based on innovative Cloud technologies.
We were particularly thrilled to see Aberystwyth shortlisted in the Most Improved Student Experience category. A lower-than-expected result in the Organisation and Management section of the 2012 UK National Student Survey was the catalyst for their journey of improvement. In 2013, Aberystwyth commissioned Scientia to undertake a Business Process Review which led to a complete rethink of its timetabling and space management processes. Teaching space is now largely centrally-owned, meaning that formerly ‘hidden’ spaces devolved to Faculties are now visible to the central Timetabling Team. By using our software’s auto-scheduling functionality, Aberystwyth has been able to optimise its use of rooms and resources, significantly improving utilisation rates. The result: Top 4 in the UK and 1st in Wales for overall Student Satisfaction. Jackie Sayce, Institute Manager at Aberystwyth, was kind enough to acknowledge the role successful timetabling has played there in our 2016 White Paper.
Above all else, we are thrilled to have contributed to the £10,000 raised by the event for the Nightline charity – a student listening service run by students, for students. Every night of term, student volunteers answer calls, emails, instant messages, texts and talk in person to their fellow university students about anything that’s troubling them. At a time when 1 in 3 students experiences distress at night, it’s a vital service – and one very close to my own heart, as I was a student volunteer whilst studying at Lancaster University some 35 years ago
Well done to all the nominees and winner at the 2016 THE Awards.