York makes two shortlists for Times Higher Education Awards

The University of York has been shortlisted in two categories for the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards of 2018. It has been selected as one of six universities nominated for University of the Year. One of the University of York lecturers, Dr Glenn Hurst of the Chemistry department, has been shortlisted for the award of Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. The awards will take place on Thursday 29 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The awards ceremony is to be followed by a “THE Live” event.

Criteria for the award of the University of the Year category take into account aspects of research, teaching, access, and business performance, but also examine how well the university progresses ie how innovative is the university? Were they bold? Have imaginative ideas emerged from the institution? The assessments in this category depend on how these factors played into the reputation of the university during the academic year of 2016/17.

The other universities short listed were: University of Essex, Keele University, Newcastle University, Swansea University and University of West London. For the final decision, judges may request further information from the universities and visit the institutions as they come to a final decision. The winner in 2017 was Nottingham Trent University, which overtook its rival University of Nottingham in the university rankings within the last few years.

Glenn Hurst’s nomination probably comes as little surprise to his students. Only made a lecturer in 2017, testimonies from his students in Chemistry and the School of Natural Sciences were collected as part of his nomination – alongside the University of York’s approval. Teachers nominated for this award can have their name submitted by themselves or their colleagues as well as the institutions they work with. THE describes the award as “recognising the academic whose imagination and passion have transformed a course and inspired students”.

Hurst must have been able to engage with students in a particularly impressive manner that went beyond the outline of his academic role. He also had to have a dedication to ensuring that the student experience was heightened and improved – which he surely does as a member of the Student Staff Forum. Other teachers shortlisted were from the University of Hertfordshire, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Reading, University of Derby and the University of Huddersfield. Last year’s winner was Russell Crawford, of the University of Keele, who teaches biosciences.

The award ceremony will not be the only event for the shortlisted nominees. THE has coordinated an afternoon engagement called “THE Live”, in which 300 delegates can talk to the people and representatives of the institutions that have been shortlisted. THE Live will happen on Thursday 29 November as well, and will be opened by Sir John Curtice, who is a Professor of Politics teaching at the University of Strathclyde.

Vice Chancellor Koen Lamberts said of the shortlists: “I’m delighted that the Times Higher Education shortlisting panel has recognised the innovation, enthusiasm and dedication of our staff and students. Innovation is key to our success and the shortlisted initiatives are powerful examples of the ways that we continue to embody the University’s founding principles of excellence, equality and opportunity for all.”

YUSU Academic Officer James Hare also commented on the announcements: “It’s great news that York has been nominated for the University of the Year, and that Glenn Hurst has been nominated for Teacher of the Year, in the THE Awards … This, coupled with the University being named in the top 120 universities in the world this week, helps the University’s reputation remain very strong which rightfully reflects well on our students and the quality of our education at York.”

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