Building up to become University of the Year
THERE were fireworks over the Tees Valley after Teesside University was named University of the Year - but when you look back at its history, particularly since gaining university status in 1992 - it is not so surprising that it gained the Times Higher Education accolade.
The transformation from a technical college, opened in 1930 to up-skill the workforce and serve the needs of local industry, to the strong university of today has been attracting national attention and praise, particularly for sticking to its mission of providing opportunity, promoting enterprise and enhancing the quality of its provision to students and employers.
It was noticeable that Teesside not only won the top University of the Year prize, but also gained the Times Higher Education Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative Award at last year’s higher education “Oscars” - showing that it remained true to the ideals of its founding fathers while moving forward to become a dynamic and innovative university.
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.”
The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson, said: “Teesside is the first modern university to ever receive recognition as the University of the Year and 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.
“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.
“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.”
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. What I like about the university is that it is very positive, it’s got that wow factor and a real sparkle about it.”
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.”
THE Times Higher Education judges said they were looking for an outstanding level of overall performance as well as evidence of particularly bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced the institution between July 2008 and June 2009.
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.
The university also pointed to its:
Student growth in 2007-08 of more than 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 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
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.
When Professor Henderson became Vice-Chancellor in 2003, he said he intended to build on the strong foundations from Professor Derek Fraser’s ten years at the helm of the new university.
“I want Teesside to become one of the country’s leading universities for teaching, scholarship and widening participation while continuing to support economic regeneration,” he said on taking office.
Winning the twin awards from the Times Higher shows just how far Teesside University has come from that day back on July 2, 1930 when the Prince of Wales came to Middlesbrough for the official opening of Constantine College. And the journey continues as the university faces the future with confidence.
A new visual identity
TO build on its recent successes, the university introduced a new brand last year, including a new and stronger logo to reflect how far it has travelled since becoming a university nearly two decades ago.
“The exciting, colourful and positive new visual identity will make it easier for us to get our business partners and others to see Teesside as the confident and innovative University it has become.
“Changing what we call ourselves from the University of Teesside to Teesside University reflects the name we are colloquially known by among our students and the outside world, and works well with the fresh new identity,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Henderson.
IT started with a gift 80 years ago with the generosity, as our story tells, of the Joseph Constantine family. And now, 80 years on, we are launching an 80th Anniversary Appeal, the proceeds from which will be used to support postgraduate students, inspire new enterprises and improve the environment in and around the campus.
And thanks to a matched funding scheme from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Gift Aid, for every £10 donated the University will receive £25.30.
A £200 donation is worth £506 which could help a student get their graduate business start-up off the ground and £1,000 becomes £2,530, enough to help a postgraduate student from a less privileged background pay for their fees so that they can continue their studies.
The university has made giant strides in recent years, becoming University of the Year and winning an award for Outstanding Employer Engagement from the Times Higher Education magazine.
Donating money over the next 12 months through the matched-funding scheme is an investment in the economic regeneration of the region.
The scheme only runs until July 2011, so, if you can, please make a gift now - no matter how large or small - and keep the spirit of Joseph Constantine alive.
To find out more about the 80th Anniversary Appeal or to support the fund, please contact Alex Robertson email@example.com, 01642 738 227, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, Tees Valley. TS1 3BA.