THE finalists for the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards have been announced.
The awards, in association with the University of the West of Scotland, were launched in March to recognise the outstanding contribution made by colleges and universities across Scotland.
There are 12 categories overall which look at how institutions develop innovative materials and methods in their teaching and research to allow them to compete with the world’s best higher education providers.
Supported by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), City of Glasgow College, technology provider Jisc, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Scotland (QAA) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the awards also examine how colleges and universities market themselves, use technology, engage with employers, support students and promote economic sustainability.
The judges have been overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of entries received in the first year of the awards with a total of 103 received.
Barclay McBain, chairman of the judging panel and The Herald’s deputy editor, paid tribute the high quality of entries.
He said: “My fellow judges and I were impressed by the quality and quantity of the submissions for the inaugural awards and we enjoyed a robust debate during the judging process which bore testimony to how difficult it was to choose the finalists.
“I was heartened to learn of the great work being undertaken across the higher education and further education sectors and I would like to congratulate the institutions and individuals on the short list.”
Professor Craig Mahoney, principal of UWS, said: “The interest in this competition is fantastically energising and the quality and breadth of entries from across the sector is quite astounding – a true reflection of the calibre of Scotland’s higher education sector.”
Rowena Pelik, director of QAA Scotland said: “The submissions across all the awards have been superb and illustrate the wonderful creativity and commitment of staff and students within our higher education institutions in Scotland.
“Enhancing the student learning experience and continuing to find further ways to provide outstanding opportunities for students to learn and flourish is an essential part of our culture.”
Jason Miles-Campbell, head of Jisc Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “The shortlist is evidence of the excellent practice within higher education in Scotland, and further confirmation of the transformative power of technology. All finalists should feel proud of their achievements.”
Laurence Howells, chief executive of the SFC said the “energy, imagination and determination” helping to break down barriers to higher education were clear from the entries.
Derek Houston, regional manager at SQA said: “We have read about some great work in Scotland’s colleges and universities, the high standard of education being offered, the level of learning that is produced, how they engage with employers and support their students.
“I’d like to add my thanks to all those who submitted entries and congratulate those who have been short-listed as finalists for the awards ceremony in July.”
And Paul Little, principal of City of Glasgow College, added: “The shortlist demonstrates the incredible talent within Scotland’s education sector and the innovative work that goes on everyday in our colleges and universities. Congratulations to all those institutions and individuals who have been selected.”
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