The Herald launches its prestigious annual higher education awards

The Herald is today launching its third annual Higher Education Awards to recognise the outstanding contribution to society made by colleges and universities across Scotland.

The awards, in association with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), are made up of 15 categories which throw the spotlight on innovation in teaching and research across the sector.

The event also seeks to highlight productive partnerships between universities, colleges, industry and the wider community as well as rewarding institutions at the forefront of efforts to widen access to students from poorer backgrounds.

Professor Craig Mahoney, principal of UWS, said he was delighted to be supporting the awards for the third year running.

He said: “The awards celebrate the many successes and achievements that exist in Scottish higher education and highlight the valuable contribution that institutions make, both economically and socially to our country.

“Scottish higher education has, for centuries, had a significant and positive impact on the lives of individuals in Scotland and businesses across our great country as well as more widely.

“We are therefore extremely proud to partner with The Herald to ensure these efforts are suitably recognised.”

Supported by Anderson Strathern, City of Glasgow College, technology provider Jisc, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Scotland (QAA) and Universities Scotland, the awards will also examine how colleges and universities market themselves, use technology and support students.

This year we have introduced a new category, the Best Use of Articulation Award to recognise the hard work of colleges to identify talented students who are able to study up to degree level, but may have missed out on the required grades at school.

The overall award for the Higher Education Institution of the Year, which is supported by Anderson Strathern, will be judged on the basis of the quality of the submissions from the other main categories.

Fiona Killen, the firm’s education governance lead, said: “The work taking place in higher education across Scotland plays a crucial role in Scotland’s economy and is an integrative force in wider society.

“The many talented people working or studying in the sector, from Scotland and across the world, are worthy of recognition and these awards are one way of doing that.”

Ailsa Crum, head of quality at awards body QAA, said: “We are delighted to continue our support for these awards as part of our commitment to inspiring excellence and celebrating student partnership in Scotland’s university sector.”

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, which is sponsoring the student support award, said he was looking forward to finding out more about the many creative mechanisms universities have put in place.

“The hope is that no student will need a safety-net, but universities have comprehensive support structures in place to help students with the varied academic, personal and financial challenges they may face. This award gives us a good opportunity to celebrate best practice,” he said.

A spokesman for City of Glasgow College, which is sponsoring the Lifetime Achievement Category, said: “These awards showcase the amazing work that goes on within our world-renowned education sector and that is definitely something worth celebrating.”

Jason Miles-Campbell, head of Jisc Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “Scotland’s higher education sector is world class. The Herald Awards offer us a chance to showcase Scotland’s high-achievers.

“We’re thrilled to once again sponsor the technology innovation award, to celebrate the transformative effect of digital in teaching, learning and research.”

Entries are invited before the deadline of Thursday, May 11.