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We've won - University of the Year

15 October 2009


The champagne corks were popping across Tees Valley after we were named University of the Year by the Times Higher Education magazine.

The award – one of the most prestigious in the national higher education calendar – was presented to Professor Graham Henderson, Vice-Chancellor of Teesside University, at a glitzy gathering of higher education leaders in London’s Grosvenor House. And the smiles just got bigger as we also picked up the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative of the Year award for our Business School’s highly innovative foundation degree in leadership and management developed with the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Award judge Dianne Willcocks, vice-chancellor of York St John University, praised Teesside for its 'history of working with communities and businesses that makes it the public benefactor par excellence and truly a well-merited winner.'

Times Higher editor, Ann Mroz said: 'Teesside is a fantastic example of an institution that has put itself firmly at the heart of its community, embracing with zeal its mission of working with both individuals and businesses to help them achieve their full potential. With an ambitious 16-point plan it has helped to create and sustain jobs in the midst of a recession. The university has been a beacon of hope in the region’s economic gloom. It also set a fine fiscal example by turning in a strong financial performance of its own. Teesside is a very worthy winner of this year’s top accolade.'

Professor Henderson said: 'Teesside is the first modern university to ever receive recognition as the University of the Year. It was therefore both an amazing moment and a huge personal honour for me to be able to accept this award on behalf of my University.

'I really cannot put into words how proud everyone at the University feels at having been given such a wonderful accolade. There is, as I am sure you can imagine, a tremendous buzz around the campus because of this achievement. I am sure that I speak for the whole University community – our staff, students, Governors and our many partners – when I say we all feel a sense of pride and elation that our achievements have been recognised in this way.'

Professor Henderson added: 'To win such a major national award in competition with such 'outstanding institutions shows how far we have come in this our 80th year. We started our journey from quite humble roots, first as Constantine College, then as Teesside Polytechnic and now as Teesside – the University of the Year.' 'We are confident that winning this Award will go a long way towards changing perceptions - not just of the University but also of the town and the Tees Valley, both nationally and internationally.

'I would like to personally thank all those who contributed to our success – namely our staff, students and governors, but also our many partners and supporters in the region and beyond.'

Among the first to congratulate the University on its success was Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon who said: 'This recognition will attract more students and shows how far this University has come in a very short space of time. I offer my congratulations to everybody concerned. What I like about the University is that it is very positive, it’s got that wow factor and a real sparkle about it.'

Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of One North East, said: 'This is fantastic news and I would like to offer my huge congratulations to Teesside University and all of those involved who have helped achieve this impressive accolade. This award is national recognition for Teesside University and their staff who have worked tirelessly to help the university continue to make great strides to the benefit of students and the region.'

Also adding his congratulations was entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, who said: 'It’s absolutely fantastic that Teesside University has won the award of University of the Year from the Times Higher. As a Teesside Honorary Graduate, I offer my congratulations to the whole University community.' Professor Henderson paid tribute to all the excellent finalists in this year’s University of the Year Awards and to the Times Higher Education magazine for sponsoring the Awards.

He went on to say: 'I believe the award will really put Teesside on the map as a strong player, particularly in terms of our mission of providing opportunities and promoting enterprise around a first-class experience of higher education for our 28,000 students and helping the North East region out of recession. I am incredibly proud of all of my staff and students and this award is true recognition of what they have all worked so hard to achieve - and I am sure there's more to come in the future.'

Notes to Editors Teesside was the only northern university to make it through to the final six in the University of the Year category and had to beat off strong competition to make the finals. The judges’ panel sent representatives, led by the Times Higher Education magazine’s editor, Ann Mroz, to Teesside for a day to check out the campus and meet staff, students and graduates. They talked directly to management, trade and students’ unions, met graduates who had set up their businesses on campus and visited the Crime Scene Laboratory House and the University’s state-of-the-art Environmental Chamber.

The Times Higher Education judges said in addition to an outstanding level of overall performance, they were looking for evidence of particularly bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced the institution between July 2008 and June 2009. In this respect, Teesside’s submission was based upon its 16-point plan to support the regional business economy through the recession with measures such as halving the time it takes to pay bills, bringing forward new building plans and building renovation work, working with local FE colleges to provide enhanced workforce development opportunities, and providing subsidised business start-up units on campus.

In the wider context of its overall achievements in 2008-09, the University pointed to its: >student growth in 2007-08 of over 1,000 students >exceptionally strong financial position, which has been further strengthened by its success in winning another 10% increase in its income from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for 2009-10 and a £5m Strategic Development Fund grant to support its work with employers >good track record of exceeding, by some distance, its government-set benchmark targets for widening access and social inclusion >excellent industrial relations, leading to it becoming the only university in the UK to receive whole Institution Investor in People accreditation at level 2 >success in being voted ‘Business Incubation Champion of the Year’ >improved performance in each of the major university league tables in the Independent, Guardian and Times >outstanding results in the National Student (satisfaction) Survey, placing it in the top 20 of all universities nationally >rapid growth in Knowledge Transfer Partnership and Collaborative Innovation Partnership activity with businesses >involvement as lead sponsor of two academies and co-sponsor of a new trust school under the Building Schools for the Future initiative.

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