Published on 25 September 2020
The Improve Network’s Improvement of the Year Award goes to Dr Derek Watson and his team for implementing the Global Education Forum.
There were many worthy nominations but the judging panel, consisting of Dr Abigail Moriarty, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Head of Information Governance Sam Seldon and Continuous Improvement Manager Naomi Blayney, felt that the Global Education Forum really stood out from the nominees. With a whopping 20 nominations, Derek’s idea has clearly made a difference.
The live interactive forum offers students at our campuses in Sunderland, London, Hong Kong and Transnational Education Centres (TNE) overseas, the opportunity to talk with academic staff who could offer guidance and advice on how to make the best of the current circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic, perform well on their degree programmes, as well as provide study tips. The first one, held in the summer, was a huge success.
Dr Watson, an Associate Professor in Cultural Management in the Faculty of Business, law and Tourism, said “I am delighted to receive the University of Sunderland Improvement Award on behalf our team effort from the Faculty of Business Law & Tourism, International Recruitment Office and Marketing & Communications team. The award reflects our agility and innovation as an inclusive university with can do attitude and this is also embedded into our curriculum.
“The Virtual Global Educational Forum was developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Each month we address key issues such as informed subject specialisms, student advice, techniques to enhance student performance, curriculum awareness and our commercial services.
“The response has been remarkable. Audience numbers are well into the hundreds and don’t just include our Sunderland, London, Hong Kong Campuses and international centres but the wider global community. In consequence, we are able to source panel members from our academic experts, graduates and alumni who answered live questions with immediate impact.”
Derek was keen to recognise the forum as a team effort with Jamie Simpson (Head of International Development Central Region), Matthew Gallagher (International Development Team Manager) and Mark Richardson (International and Client Marketing Officer) all playing a key part in its success.
The Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell presented Derek with his award. He said: “Even during lockdown we saw great innovation from many staff across the University.
“The Global Education Forum was a particularly striking initiative because it connected up the University of Sunderland’s different communities around the world.”
The judging panel has thanked all those who took the time to nominate an improvement – with a special mention to two other nominated improvements – Catherine Arnold with the Sunderland Law Clinic and David Conway with Office 365.
The panel commented: “It’s wonderful to see your fantastic ideas and your hard work being recognised. We hope that others are inspired to nominate themselves or a colleague for the award next year.”
For more information on how to get involved with the Improve Network, please get in touch with Naomi Blayney firstname.lastname@example.org.