Brunel University shortlisted for University of the Year 2012
Brunel University has been shortlisted for the prestigious University of the Year award at the Times Higher Education Awards 2012.
Shortlisted in three categories overall, Brunel will also be fighting it out for Best Business School and Outstanding Student Support when the winners are announced at an awards dinner in London on 29 November.
Professor Chris Jenks, Vice-Chancellor at Brunel University said: "To be nominated for three categories at the Times Higher Education awards this year is great testament to the hard work done across the institution in recent years. We have a clear vision to become a research-intensive university and have those benefits cascade down to influence teaching, employability and student experience and it is great to now see it all coming together with the university performing better than ever."
University of the Year
Brunel's shortlisting for University of the Year comes on the back of strong improvement in the annual university league tables in which it was the most improved institution in the UK.
The University's long-term strategy is to become a research-intensive institution providing its diverse student population with a unique mix of research-based teaching and practical work experience. As part of this strategy the University has funded 40 new academic posts attracting world leading researchers alongside household names including Will Self and Benjamin Zephaniah.
Recent research highlights have included the Institute for the Environment being awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2012 for revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health and the Brunel Innovation Centre attracting research funding for 15 projects worth a combined total of €6.5 million.
In terms of student experience in 2011 Brunel climbed 78 places in the National Student Survey, achieved through dedicated effort and targeted initiatives working jointly with students and their student union to enhance the Brunel education.
Best Business School
Brunel Business School (BBS) has also been singled out for a nomination following a significant change in direction in 2006. Professor Zahir Irani, Head of Brunel Business School explains, "The School set out a coherent long-term strategy to create a 'balanced economy' of teaching and research, transforming itself into a research-intensive, global competitor."
The focus for the School has been on quality with the proportion of AAB entrants now at an all time high. Improving student employability has also been a core focus with the development of 'Business Life', a distinguishing employability programme both parallel to and embedded in the curriculum of all course modules providing students with the core employability skills and experience that employers are looking for.
The MBA programme has grown from 32 part-time students in 2006 to 51 full- and part-time students today. BBS also now has one of the largest UK business school doctoral programmes with 170 PhD students, up from just 11 in 2006.
These developments have been recognised in international business school league tables with the Guardian's latest ranking for Business and Management seeing the School jump 52 places to 45th in the world. In 2011 the Financial Times ranked BBS 56th for the MSc in Management, overtaking Durham, Lancaster and Manchester.
Outstanding Student Support
The shortlisting for this award is recognition of the services and support provided to students by Brunel University Library. In 2009 the Library created a new Academic Skills Service (ASK) to work in partnership with subject librarians to deliver a holistic approach to student study support.
In 2009/2010 a purpose built space was developed for this new service offering open, flexible drop-in and resource areas, teaching space and private consultation space. Students are supported through a mix of drop-in sessions, 1:1 appointments, email advice and a central timetable of workshops and skills courses together with workshops delivered in schools through the curriculum.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Campbell explains: "The Library has been instrumental in providing relevant information for students 'when they want it, where they want it'. They have put in place initiatives to assist students before they get to university allowing them to transition into Brunel in a more effective way than previously was the case. Once at university the Library are aware that students start with differing levels of preparedness and individual skills. ASK is a Library service that has gone from strength to strength, providing individual and group support to students in study skills development, engaging students at all levels."