Huddersfield wins Global Teaching Excellence Award

Inaugural HEA award is latest accolade for Yorkshire institution

September 4, 2017
Huddersfield football supporters
Source: Getty

The University of Huddersfield has won the Higher Education Academy’s inaugural Global Teaching Excellence Award.

The award, which was launched in partnership with Times Higher Education in February, recognises outstanding institution-wide approaches to driving up teaching standards.

Huddersfield’s success was announced at an event in London on 4 September, coinciding with the THE World Academic Summit taking place at King’s College London on 3-5 September.

More than half the 27 finalists on the shortlist were UK institutions – 16 in total – and five hailed from Australia. Universities from Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Hong Kong, South Africa also made the running.

Stephanie Marshall, the HEA’s chief executive, said that the number of high-quality submissions from around the world showed that the award had “really captured the imagination of the higher education sector and will help to raise the profile of teaching globally”.

While all 27 finalists had made “compelling submissions” that demonstrated strong leadership, teaching and student support, Huddersfield’s entry was “unanimously applauded” by the award’s international panel of judges, Professor Marshall said.

The university – which was named THE’s University of the Year in 2013 – was praised for “the drive and energy with which the executive team is leading teaching” and for its “success in developing students as independent learners”, Professor Marshall added.

Huddersfield’s win follows a momentous few weeks for the West Yorkshire town, whose newly promoted football team briefly led the Premier League last month after making an impressive start to life in the top flight.

The university scooped the HEA’s highest award ahead of the universities of Bath, Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter, as well as University College London, the University of Adelaide and Canada’s McMaster University.

Svava Bjarnason, chair of the award’s judging panel and a former member of the World Bank Education Sector Board, said that the judges had been “impressed by the overall quality of the submissions”.

Ms Bjarnason, the founding director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education thinktank, identified three characteristics that the universities on the shortlist shared: a strong commitment to teaching through mission-relevant strategies; the integration of scholarship of teaching into continuous professional development programmes; and the promotion of industry placements, internships and volunteering for students within the curriculum.

The HEA will publish a detailed report in the autumn to share lessons from all the submissions to this year’s award.

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