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Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) was presented with the award.

Exeter scoops celebrated award at “Oscars” of higher education

The University of Exeter’s position as being amongst the most innovative global institutions has been strengthened after winning a prestigious award at a high-profile ceremony, known as the ‘Oscars’ of higher education.

Exeter was one of a select group of universities to be bestowed with a Reimagine Education Award, at a special gala event held in Philadelphia, United States, on Tuesday, December 6th.

A panel of international experts presented Exeter with the Sustainability Award, for its submission centred on the Green Consultants project, which started in 2013 to provide students with practical experience for those wishing to pursue a career in the environment and sustainability sector. The programme consists of a 3 day intensive training programme followed by the opportunity to work as a consultant with a partner company to look at sustainability problems, find solutions and then present their findings to their partner company.

Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Exeter and who was presented with the award hailed it as a “magnificent achievement for Exeter on the global stage.”

Professor Quine said: “These awards shine a light on the most pioneering, world-leading learning and education projects from around the world, with some of the most prestigious and eminent universities putting forward their submissions.

“To be shortlisted for 5 separate awards is a truly incredible achievement, and to win the Sustainability Award is truly magnificent, and a real testament to the academic and professional staff involved, as well as all of our engaged students in these ground-breaking and innovative projects”.

The prestigious awards ceremony, which attracted more than 500 entries from across the globe, is designed to reward the most innovative projects, initiatives and ideas from the education sector worldwide.

Exeter was shortlisted for five awards at the illustrious ceremony from the 14 categories available – almost half of the total number of shortlisted entries from across the UK and almost one-in-five of those from Europe.

The other four shortlisted projects were:

Climate change: Challenges and Solutions MOOC (Digital Content category)
This online course, delivered by a multidisciplinary team of academics from across the University led by Professor Tim Lenton, explains the science of climate change. Designed to encourage collaborative learning through sharing examples, stories and understanding from the location and perspective of the learner it has been taken by more than 22,000 learners from more than 100 countries. A unique aspect of the course was student facilitation, initially employing PhD students and, subsequently, undergraduates to manage questions, conversations and participate in weekly feedback videos.

Pathways to International Trade (Nurturing Employability Award):
Pathways to International Trade consists of a 5 day technical skills training programme followed by a week-long paid internship with a UK South West based SME (Small to medium sized enterprise), developed in collaboration with the UK Department of International Trade. The programme is an extra-curricular non mandatory programme open to all Exeter students, both under graduate and post graduate from any year of study and from any of our four campuses.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) (Nurturing Employability Award)
Peer assisted learning is a University wide scheme which aims to promote student participation and engagement in modern languages by creating a mutually supportive community of language learners. It is open to students from all disciplines and provides a framework for more confident students to volunteer their time to coach peers in need of additional support. Since starting over 187 students have taken part with 40% of them becoming peer leaders. It aims to create relaxed and comfortable learning environments and develop transferable skills.

Grand Challenges (Cultivating Curiosity Award)
Unique to Exeter, Grand Challenges is an interdisciplinary, enquiry-led learning experience which improves employability. Students choose from a range of global issues and work in small groups to create a solution to their Challenge. It is an annual event that lasts for a week, normally after the examination period in June. Students choose from a range of themes such as Climate Change, Global Security, Mental Health and other and sign up to a sub-group to tackle a particular aspect of the Challenge. Grand Challenges has been in existence for four years, and it went through four annual cycles. Since its beginning, 3,743 students engaged with it in some way, while 1,833 students completed the programme.

This international contest is a joint initiative of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publisher of the QS World University Rankings, and The Wharton School SEI Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The idea behind the venture is to provide a platform through which to celebrate and share the most effective higher education innovations worldwide, with a focus on enhancing learning and nurturing employability.

For more information about the Wharton QS Stars Awards: Reimagine Education, visit the Reimagine Education website or join the conversation on Twitter with #Reimagine.

Date: 7 December 2016

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