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Ulster University has been shortlisted for the ‘University of the Year’ award at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2019, which are widely known as the ‘Oscars of higher education’.

The full shortlist has been formally announced in the THE magazine and online today (Thursday 5 September 2019), where you can also read about the exceptional work for which we have been shortlisted.

The ‘University of the Year’ is awarded to an institution that has demonstrated exceptional performance during the 2017-18 academic year, with research, teaching, access and business performance all taken into account. Judges have also looked for evidence of ‘particular bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives during the 2017-18 academic year’.

In our application for the ‘University of the year’ category, we focused on our work ‘from widening access to widening success’, outlining Ulster University’s innovative approach in making a transformative impact on how we deliver an outstanding experience for all of our students.

Ulster is leading the way with data rich interventions that allow us to enhance and deliver a transformative experience for our students. In 2017/18, we introduced an innovative new continuous assurance of enhancement cycle, working collaboratively with students to engage with programme teams, deliver targeted interventions and positively reward excellence.

The scale of resulting activity and subsequent success has been phenomenal. Over 240 interventions were introduced across the programmes most requiring support, all sharing a common focus on enhancing interaction with students. Improvement shown in 62% of those programmes, by an average improvement of 23%.

This impact has been reflected in the NSS 2018 results with Ulster achieving an 87% student satisfaction score - an increase of 4 percentage points on the 2016/17 result, and moving from 90th to 23rd place overall in the survey.

Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice Chancellor, Ulster University said:

“This THE Award shortlisting is tremendous news for the University and one which reflects the hard work of our staff and the support of our student body in ensuring that we are  setting a new standard in enhancement activity and widening opportunities for success for all our students.  Our enhancement activity is built around genuine dialogue and collaborative approaches which ensure that those directly involved in programme delivery are heard and well-supported. Staff response has been fantastically positive, with colleagues across Ulster embracing the opportunity to enhance student learning.”

THE editor, John Gill, adds:

"I am delighted to say that the ‘Oscars of higher education’ go from strength to strength. With 23 categories this year, we’re also showcasing more exceptional stories than ever before, and it’s a real honour for us to shine a spotlight on all those who have made it as far as these shortlists - their stories deserve much wider circulation."

Ulster University has also been shortlisted in the category for ‘Outstanding Strategic Planning Team’ at the THE Awards. The nomination recognises the work of the University’s Strategic Planning and Performance Directorate in the delivery of the planning process, ensuring a golden thread runs between governmental policy, the institutional strategic plan, the faculty/departmental plans, and individual employees’ personal objectives. Congratulations to the team on this fantastic achievement.

The winners will be announced on 28 November 2019.

Visit THE Awards 2019 where you can read details of our application along with details of all shortlisted institutions and their stories.