HESPA Award Winners 2021

24 June 2021      Monica Madeley, Projects and Engagement Officer

Congratulations to the winners of the HESPA 2021 Awards. We were delighted to celebrate with you yesterday at the virtual awards ceremony, and to hear about the valuable work you do. We’d also like to thank everybody who nominated themselves or others for an award – we really enjoyed reading all the entries and would like to congratulate all of you on your achievements.

Details of the award winners and their work can be found below.

The Covid Response Award

This is a new and temporary category, marking the important role that strategy and planning teams have played in supporting their institutions in their response to the pandemic. For the first time, we had joint winners this year, as two entries both stood out to the judges.

Winner - University of Leicester

Leicester was the first city to be locked down by the government, and subsequently shared information about its handling of lockdown far and wide across the sector, using its own predicament as a case study to others to aid them in their own preparations for what was inevitably to come.

This collegial approach and willingness to support peers is exemplary and something our sector should be hugely proud of. Congratulations!

Winner - The Open University

The other joint winner of this award is The Open University, which collaborated effectively as a team, developed and shared new skillsets and proved to be flexible and innovative in its response to the pandemic.   

They developed a bespoke 3-tier model comprising virtual events, hybrid events or postponement to support new and existing partners in teaching learning and assessment. In addition, large numbers of Exam Boards, Programme Validations and Revalidations and Institutional Reviews, Approvals and Reapprovals all moved online to be carried out remotely.              

This swift action ensured the smooth running of operations, while maintaining a strong commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon footprint – congratulations!

Highly Commended – The University of Stirling

We would also like to congratulate The University of Stirling who received Highly Commended for their submission in the Covid Response Award Category.

Data Award

Winner - University of East Anglia

The UEA has impressively combined learner analytics, engagement statistics generated from multiple data sources, analytical evaluation of teaching and learning interventions and targeted data governance, into one project.

This project aids both student retention and engagement and aims to provide a holistic approach to issues around inclusivity, retention and wellbeing. It involved many administrative teams and academics across the institution, representing a large cross divisional project to support UEAs students.

It has resulted in a lasting legacy of enhanced MI around student engagement and was a powerful and collective effort by dedicated staff to do the best for UEAs students in difficult times – an act of passion for learning that all involved have been proud to take part in. Congratulations!

Strategy Award

Winner - University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen engaged in rigorous consultation with students, staff and other stakeholders to develop a 20-year strategy using established project management approaches.

The clarity on roles, transparency and inclusivity of this work ensured that high levels are engagement were achieved across the university, including in agreeing KPIs to decide on how the new strategy, and the effects of its implementation, would be measured.

The University Staff Survey carried out in autumn 2020 – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic – clearly demonstrated the success of the developmental and implementation process for the strategy, with more than 90% of staff agreeing that the university had a clear vision and that it identified with the commitments made in the strategy. Congratulations!

Highly Commended- The London School of Economics

As the judges felt their entry deserved special recognition, we would also like to say a huge well done to The London School of Economics, who were awarded Highly Commended in this category.

Paul Youngson Award

Winner - Alison Rankin

This year, our most prestigious award went to Alison Rankin who has made an outstanding contribution during her career, not only to HESPA and the planning community, but to her own institution, to the higher education sector and beyond.

She is a genuine all-rounder, with the ability to balance inspiring leadership and blue sky thinking with a fiercely analytical mind. Her skills and experience have been a huge asset to the world of strategy and planning in HE.

Alison has given so much to HESPA and its members. She has played an active role in committees, working groups, training and events,  she has injected boundless energy into all of her work and has supported and encouraged others to do the same, sometimes against the odds.

She has been a truly wonderful colleague and will be very dearly missed in her retirement. Congratulations, Alison!

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