First Dean’s Awards demonstrate academic excellence and real-world experience

19 October 2016

Students presented with awards for academic excellence at the University of Derby also proved they have what it takes to be a success outside the classroom.

The inaugural Dean’s Awards for Excellence were presented in front of their friends and families last week to students at the Buxton Campus who have produced work of the highest standard.

But guests also heard of the amazing experiences they have had as part of the University’s real world learning ethos – ranging from working with wild animals in South Africa to setting up the sound stage for a Billy Bragg gig.

“Our students have real get-up-and-go, as well as commitment to their studies,” said Olivia Ramsbottom, Senior Lecturer in Business & Management.

Danielle Roe, award-winner and BA (Hons) Events Management student, came to Buxton after one of her school teachers suggested the course because she was so well organised.

“I’ve had a chance to organise boxing events in the Dome, which was really exciting, and events outside the university such as stewarding at the Nottingham Half Marathon,” said Danielle.

“It’s a family atmosphere here – a lovely environment.”

Her fellow Events student Sue Springall followed up a lecture from the Association of Festival Managers by volunteering to help the organisation – and is now a veteran of music festivals involving Andy Kershaw, Tom Robinson, Billy Bragg and the Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, who were so impressed with her work that they insisted on her setting up their sound stage.

“I wasn’t treated like a student – I was treated like I should know everything!” said Sue. “I was a bit daunted at first.

“The courses here are so well thought-out that I feel that when I leave I’ll hit the ground running rather than having to catch up with the people around me.”

Culinary Arts Programme Leader Chris Jones said students had gained work experience across the UK and the USA in top name establishments such as Le Manoir Au Quat’Saisons and Gleneagles.

Group of students who received the dean's awards

Award-winner Rosie Maguire was also a finalist in both the Toque D’Or, the catering industry’s top culinary competition, and the European Mise En Place Cup in Maastricht.

Her fellow Culinary Arts student Anthony Wood won through to the finals of the prestigious Wing Yip Oriental Cuisine competition, whose judge, TV chef Glynn Purnell, invited him to his restaurant for work experience.

And one of the winners in the Tourism section, Grant Brotheridge, has carried out fieldwork in Portugal’s Algarve and a wildlife management project in South Africa.

Spa student and mum of three Hannah Squires has used the opportunities available on the doorstep in her home town to progress from Buxton and Leek College to a degree, and is already working in the prestigious spa at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

“I feel lucky to be in the Dome every single day,” said Hannah. “It’s a building I’ve grown up with, coming in here when it was a hospital. Having it as a place where you can learn so conveniently is absolutely fabulous.” 

Dr David Russell, Dean of the College of Business, paid tribute to both students and staff: “I’ve never worked with such a committed and hard-working bunch of academics and support staff. They really do care about how well their students do.”

Award winners include: