The University of Derby has won a prestigious national award for its Teaching and Learning Strategy 2016-2020.
The institution scooped the Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year Award at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs) in London last night (Thursday, June 21).
The University was one of six institutions shortlisted for the category, designed to recognise ‘a teaching and learning strategy that is distinctive and innovative, has enhanced both the student and staff experience, and reflects an institution’s core values.’
In developing its strategy, the University sought to offer a transformational learning and teaching experience for all students, whatever their background or method of study. The strategy was based around three pillars: teaching quality, employability and delivering a curriculum linked to research.
A cross-institutional working group was established for each pillar to create a shared vision and ownership of the strategy, and its key priorities across departments. This was achieved through collaboration with representatives from the Union of Students and academic and professional services staff.
As the first of the priorities to be delivered, the University achieved a 10 percent increase in graduate employability in 2016/17 through a range of measures, including the introduction of a student entitlement for a minimum of 30 hours’ work-related learning in every undergraduate programme. As a result, 74.1% of students are now in graduate level jobs within six months of finishing their course.
As well as graduate employability, a key priority for the strategy was building the digital capabilities of staff and students. To achieve this the University introduced a digital baseline for all courses, appointed student digital champions, initiated staff development to build digital capabilities following an institutional audit and has worked to inform sector practice in this field.
The University of Derby claimed the award for Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year for what the judges called an “excellent example of a strategy and implementation plan around three key pillars of learning and teaching: teaching quality, employability and a research-informed curriculum.”
Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby is committed to providing a ‘best in class’ learning experience. We offer a flexible and innovative approach to teaching designed to meet different learner needs; one that enables our students to fulfil their potential and prepares them for the opportunities ahead.
“Our teaching and learning strategy builds on the significant achievements of recent years, in which every aspect of the academic offer within the University has improved, with strong uplifts in student satisfaction, performance and outcomes.
“We were rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and we are delighted to receive this latest accolade, which further reinforces Derby’s position as an institution that delivers excellence for its students.”
The University was also a finalist in the DataPoints Merit Award category, which is based on analysis of data collected from UK universities by Times Higher Education as part of their World University Rankings, which look at teaching, research, international outlook, reputation and more.
Professor Malcolm Todd, Provost (Academic) at the University of Derby, added: “This prestigious award reflects the priority we have placed at the University of Derby on providing an outstanding student-centred academic experience, where we innovate at a subject level.
“With our TEF Gold status and recent Top 30 position in the Guardian League Table, this award recognises the commitment of our staff and students.”
Now in their 10th year, the THELMA Awards celebrate the best examples of innovation, teamwork and enterprise at UK universities, and are the only national awards honouring the full range of professional and administrative services.
Times Higher Education editor John Gill said that the 10th anniversary of the THELMAs had produced a “stellar crop” of winners.
He said: “The members of our judging panel were left inspired by the examples of individual and collective brilliance that shone through from the hundreds of entries for this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.
“I would like to thank all of those shortlisted for making this 10th anniversary event such a spectacular celebration, and to offer our sincere congratulations to those who have triumphed.”