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Bucks scores a hat-trick in THE Awards

Bucks scores a hat-trick in THE Awards

Buckinghamshire New University has been shortlisted in three categories of THE Awards 2020 - widely known as the Oscars of higher education - which ‘highlight and champion the very best of the talent and creativity that shines out from’ the UK’s universities. The University has been shortlisted in the categories of Outstanding Marketing/Communications team; Outstanding Technician of the Year; and Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year, for the awards, which will be held virtually at 5pm on 26 November

the awards

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Braisby, said the University was 'delighted' to be shortlisted across three categories. He said: "This reflects Bucks New University’s commitment to widening participation in higher education; making Bucks a great place to both work and study; and the outstanding calibre of technical support we provide. "I am very proud of my colleagues for all they do to support each other and our students through the transformative and inclusive education we provide. "The continuing hard work across our University community to create COVID-secure campuses is testament to their tireless commitment and efforts." The submissions for the awards are:  


1. Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team: for the development and launch of BEN, the University’s intranet, an 'out-of-the-box' solution by Oak. The team secured funding and then procured, developed and launched the University’s intranet on time and within budget. From the outset, the team worked collaboratively across the University to create a digital-first communications solution which was built for, and by, colleagues.

Samantha McCormack

2. Outstanding Technician of the Year: for Sam McCormack, Technical Manager: Simulation, Psychology & Performance, who is shortlisted for the second year running and was Highly Commended in the 2019 Awards. Sam has pioneered several innovative teaching methods which add authenticity to students’ learning during her nine years at Bucks, including moulage - the art of applying mock wounds - and dementia simulation. Sam was also the first simulation technician in the UK to become a Chartered Scientist with The Science Council and her Dementia Simulation won Teaching Innovation of the Year at the 2018 Student Nursing Times Awards.

Margaret Greenfields

3. Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year: in recognition of collaborative work to widen participation in to higher education amongst Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters by Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Braisby, Professor Margaret Greenfields; Sherrie Smith; and staff across the University. It also worked with stakeholders including NGOs (Friends; Families and Travellers; the Traveller Movement; Advisory Committee for the Education of Romany Travellers); Dr Graeme Atherton of NEON; and Coventry University.  The shortlists across all categories are on the THE website.

Sam McCormack said she was ‘excited, thrilled and absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted in the Outstanding Technician of the Year category for the second year running.’

Sam was the first simulation technician in the UK to become a Chartered Scientist with The Science Council and her Dementia Simulation won Teaching Innovation of the Year at the 2018 Student Nursing Times Awards.

She said: "I really am thrilled to have been shortlisted two years in a row, I would like to accept this shortlisting in honour of all the technicians who have, and continue to work on the front line during the pandemic."

Louise Harvey, Head of Communications, who led the BEN project team, praised their “significant contribution to improving the ways we now share information and celebrate successes across the University.” She added: "I’m very proud to see our community’s efforts recognised by THE, and can’t imagine how we would have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic without BEN as a one-stop source of the latest information for colleagues."

Speaking about the shortlisting for Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year, Prof Braisby said: "This shortlisting recognises the long-standing work of the University in supporting members of the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showmen and Boater communities, members of which are among the most disadvantaged within the UK. "Our work to develop a pledge for the higher education community is evidence of our wider commitment genuinely to widen participation and create an inclusive community. All members of the team deserve great credit but we all want to recognise the superb and long-standing work of Professor Margaret Greenfields."

Prof Greenfields added: "I'm over the moon at the news that our collaborative work with community members, NGOs and other academic partners on widening participation for Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters has been shortlisted for this award. "We are all united in our commitment to enhancing educational inclusion for students from these often excluded populations and this news helps us to showcase the strengths and added value of close partnership working between the academic sector and community stakeholders."

Despite a pandemic and dramatic changes to working patterns, hundreds of entries from all corners of the UK were submitted to The Times Higher Education Awards which are now in their 16th year.

John Gill, THE Editor said:  “This has been a year like no other, and universities have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. While we are by no means through the crisis, the response over the last six months has been immensely impressive, and served yet again as a reminder of the dedication and commitment that exists across UK higher education. In 2020 more than ever, it is vital to recognise and shout about those achievements, and we have been gratified by the huge number of entries at a time when university staff had so many demands on their time.” Pictured: The BEN logo of the University's intranet; Sam McCormack; and Prof Margaret Greenfields (image by Mary Humphrey).