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Three Kingston University case studies featured in new University Alliance initiative to spotlight real world impact of university research

Posted Monday 23 March 2015

Kingston University\'s Fiona Jones speaks to a patientA report by University Alliance, of which Kingston University is a member, concludes that collaboration and connectivity must be top priorities for universities and funders if the UK is to continue to lead the world in research and innovation.

The report, Evolve. Connect. Succeed. Funding a healthy research and innovation ecosystem was launched at an event attended by vice-chancellors, parliamentarians, businesses and researchers. The accompanying website resource of more than 60 impact case studies was drawn from submitions from Alliance member universities to the REF 2014 exercise.

The case studies were grouped in four categories and the research from Kingston University is:
Bridges for more effective post-stroke care (category: Improving healthcare)
Protecting victims of press abuse (category: Shaping society)
Tracking sports success (category: Shaping society)

Increased global competition means that for Britain's research and innovation ecosystem to continue to flourish it will need greater collaboration with partners within academia and with businesses, charities and governments. In response, Alliance universities are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training scheme. The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery.

Find out more about research at Kingston University.

Kingston University takes steps to close the BME attainment gap

Posted Monday 16 March 2015

Students in a group study session at Penrhyn Road campusThe gap in attainment between BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) and other students has been a long-standing concern across the whole higher education sector. However, Kingston University is now about to play a key role in addressing this important national issue.

Following a recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor and, with the endorsement of the University's Board of Governors on 4 March 2015, Kingston University will now continue to build on work undertaken over the past three years. Led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), the University will introduce initiatives that aim to ensure students from BME backgrounds get the very most out of their time at university, achieve their full potential, and leave with great prospects.

Kingston University aims to lead nationally and will focus its efforts to improve institutional processes, enhance knowledge and skills, and better support its diverse range of students.

The decision is based on a several key factors:

• Across the UK, BME students are less likely to achieve their potential when compared to white students even where entry qualifications and subjects studied are identical.
• The University has a majority of BME students and wants to ensure all students realise their full potential.
• There is a need to address a complex range of influences. Only some factors relate to students' circumstances (e.g. many live at home, have caring responsibilities, need to work to support themselves), which distracts from their ability to learn and study. Other factors relate to the way a higher education institution behaves, such as ensuring there is a climate which is welcoming to all students and a curriculum which is relevant to all student experiences.

As a result the University has now adopted:

1. The reduction of the BME attainment gap as an institutional KPI.
2. A value-added score system, as used in the Guardian league tables, as the key metric.
3. An Achievement Plan containing key initiatives that improve the institution, knowledge and skills, and student outcomes.

Students discussing their studies at a seminar at Penrhyn Road campusThe Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University, Professor Julius Weinberg, said: "By adopting this approach, Kingston University is seeking to further identify the main issues and then take steps to ensure all students achieve their full potential. Our initial focus will be on disseminating clear accurate data, supporting those courses with the largest attainment gap, increasing understanding of diversity and cultural differences, as well as offering support to ensure the curriculum is inclusive and relevant."

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds, said: "We are making it a key priority to ensure that the University offers all students an equal opportunity to succeed. We know from research that BME students often have less self-confidence than white students and so we have introduced some key opportunities that we know make a difference.

"For example our Student Associate Programme has shown that 92.9% of those BME students who engage with it progress in their studies, whilst only 77.9% of those who do not engage, progress. Also, our Student Leadership Project run by student services showed a progression rate of 88% for BME students who engaged, and only 79% for those who did not. All of these opportunities are designed to build self-confidence and develop the skills that are valued by employers and are likely to make students succeed in their assessments."

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at Kingston University

Students from the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment ‘think critically to make a difference' for South African settlement

Posted Thursday 5 March 2015

A student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingA student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingKingston University students and academics flew to South Africa for a two-week field course that saw them actively involved in the lives of locals in different locations. This included working with the residents of Village Heights - an impoverished informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Working with the community and with landscape architects and representatives from the Cape Town municipality the students cleared land to create a community garden, shifting 250 bags of household waste, concrete blocks, old mattresses and rubber tyres. Village Heights inhabitants often build their homes with corrugated iron, offcuts of wood, polythene and other found materials. They even created benches, chairs and a see-saw from the debris. The organic compost for the garden was funded by the carbon credits the students bought to offset the carbon footprint caused by their trip.

The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming

The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment were invited to Village Heights through links Kingston University lecturers had built with the Cape Town municipality over several years. This trip gives students a unique opportunity to work with locals and debate development issues in a real-life context while learning more about the challenges facing residents while outside of a classroom setting.

Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingThe students all study the Development Geographies module, which introduces critical issues of development including resource management, poverty, exclusion, inequality, natural hazards, gender and conflict. The ethos behind the trip was think critically to make a difference. Different days focused on different issues such as socio-spatial inequality, legacies of apartheid, rural development and eco-tourism, carbon-neutral agricultural and ecological conservation strategies and land management challenges.

• Find out more about studying Geography at Kingston University
• Find out more about the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Kingston University.

February 2015

Obituary: Marking the achievements of Harry Fraser-Mitchell, former School of Engineering lecturer and outstanding aircraft-engineer

Posted Tuesday 17 February 2015

Obituary: Marking the achievements of Harry Fraser-Mitchell, former School of Engineering lecturer and outstanding aircraft-engineer

Harry Fraser-Mitchell became fascinated with aircraft from the age of seven having been shown round an RAF biplane and from that moment decided that his future was to be in aeronautics.

Kingston University MBA among Europe's top 50 in QS Global 200 Business Schools ranking report 2015

Posted Friday 13 February 2015

Kingston Business School BuildingKingston Business School BuildingKingston Business School's full-time MBA has been ranked 43 out of 200 in the latest QS Fulltime MBA rankings of business schools across Europe. The survey asks international employers to select the schools from which they consider hiring MBA graduates. This information is combined with the QS Intelligence Unit survey of academics from all over the world each year to produce the final ranking.

Employers returning data in the European section included companies from the finance, technology and consulting sectors including Google, Bloomberg, PWC, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, AXA and more. Experienced HR and line managers from each company are asked a series of questions about MBA recruitment in the previous and the forthcoming year. They are then asked to list, unprompted, the international schools from which they have recently attempted to recruit MBAs.

This is the first year that Kingston University has been included in this ranking. Recent improvements to the MBA programme include a renewed focus on the global nature of business, offering students opportunities to study modules in both Berlin and Moscow, and the introduction of a dedicated MBA careers coach and an MBA Careers Week.

Most recently, Kingston Business School has partnered with the prestigious Boston University in the USA to offer postgraduates a high-quality, international education leading to a dual degree from the two institutions. Kingston Business School's international collaborations include delivering the Kingston MBA with a partner in Moscow - the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration. This MBA has been ranked number one in Russia several times.

Ron Tuninga, dean of the Faculty of Business and Law welcomed the new ranking, saying that it was a tremendous achievement for the Business School and highly deserved; "We now rank more highly than some well-known schools on the continent such as Vlerick School of Business in Belgium." Chris Bristow, director of the MBA programmes, said: "It is a tribute both to the teaching team and the excellent MBA participants who join us from far and wide to make this a truly international, transformational programme".

British Heart Foundation funding boost to heart disease research at Kingston University

Posted Friday 6 February 2015

British Heart Foundation funding boost to heart disease research at Kingston University

Every day, 480 people will have a heart attack in the UK and, at any one time, 900,000 Britons are thought to be living with heart failure. Coronary heart disease is the country's single biggest killer and something that touches every family. The British Heart Foundation has been fighting heart disease for more than 50 years. Kingston University researcher Dr Andrew Snabaitis has a well-established relationship with the charity - one that has brought hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding to the University.

January 2015

Kingston University architecture graduate Simon Dean awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bronze Medal for the best degree-level design project

Posted Friday 16 January 2015

A recent Kingston University graduate has received one of the most prestigious international awards in architectural education, beating submissions from 317 schools of architecture in 61 countries. Simon Dean, who graduated from the University's BA (Hons) Architecture course in 2014, was presented with The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bronze Medal for the best degree-level design project, at the RIBA Presidents Medals award ceremony.

Simon's project, entitled Flow 1944, was chosen by a distinguished panel of judges. It was produced as part of Kingston University's School of Architecture and Landscape's examination of sites within UNESCO World Heritage contexts and proposes a design for a bathhouse carved into solidified lava that erupted from Mount Vesuvius in 1944.

Announcing Simon's award David Gloster, RIBA director of Education said: "The judges were impressed with the student's beautifully crafted images and models and how these delicately created a seductive landscape from which a new architecture may be born."

Simon Dean (centre) is presented with his RIBA Bronze Medal by Roz Barr, RIBA vice-president Education and Stephen Hodder, RIBA president.Simon Dean (centre) is presented with his RIBA Bronze Medal by Roz Barr, RIBA vice-president Education and Stephen Hodder, RIBA president.

The RIBA President's Medals are considered the world's most prestigious and established awards in architectural education. The Bronze and Silver medals are of equal merit, being presented to students at different stages of their education. The Bronze medal recognises the design work of students at Part 1 - normally the first three of five years of the professional qualification in architecture. The Silver Medal goes to students at Part 2 - usually the last two years of the architecture qualification. A Dissertation Medal was introduced in 2001 to reward written work produced at either Part 1 or 2.

Simon's work will now form part of an exhibition of selected awards' entries at the RIBA headquarters in London for two months, before touring the UK and overseas. His success follows notable achievements for other past Kingston University students. In 2013, Minghui Ke and Shapur Keshvari received commendations in the Bronze Medal and Dissertation Medal categories respectively. The Royal Institute of British Architects is the oldest and most influential architectural institution in the world. It has over 43,000 members internationally, including 13,000 students.

• Find out more about the School of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston University.

Kingston University professor Fiona Ross awarded CBE in New Year's Honours list for contribution to healthcare and higher education

Posted Wednesday 7 January 2015

Professor Fiona RossProfessor Fiona RossProfessor Fiona Ross, the former dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by Kingston University and St George's, University of London, has been recognised in the 2015 New Year Honours list with a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her work in health and social care and higher education.

Professor Ross says: "I am amazed, delighted and honoured to receive a CBE. I have been privileged to work at Kingston and St George's universities where, perhaps because of its unique partnership, there has always been a pioneering spirit as well as a desire to be the best. It has been great to work with colleagues across the University, who I have learned from and who have supported me to improve education, build evidence and advance our understanding of professional practice in health and social care."

Professor Ross studied at Edinburgh University and obtained a PhD at King's College London. She was appointed to St George's Hospital Medical School's first chair in nursing (primary care) in 1996 through its partnership with Kingston University and was involved in setting up the joint faculty. In 2002 she went to King's College London as director of a Department of Health-funded research programme and then returned to Kingston and St George's as dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education - a post she held for eight years. Under her leadership the faculty expanded, flourished and advanced interprofessional approaches to applied research. It is now recognised as one of the foremost places to train as a nurse, midwife, allied health professional, social worker or teacher.

Professor Ross took up a new appointment as Director of Research at the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in summer 2014. She continues to work for Kingston and St George's as a research professor on NIHR studies and is chair of Kingston University's equality committee. She also has a part-time secondment to the Health Innovation Network (the South London Academic Health Sciences Network) as a senior responsible officer for education and training.

Her research interests include improving the quality of care of older people notably in primary care settings, in outcomes of teamwork in stroke care and shifting professional boundaries towards collaborative practice. She served for eight years on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Commissioning Board for Health Services and Delivery Research, is a fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Sciences, the elected president of the International Collaboration of Community Health Nursing Research, fellow of the Queen's Nursing Institute, a trustee of Princess Alice Hospice and board adviser to Hounslow and Richmond Community NHS Trust.

• Find out more about the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St George's, University of London.

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Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034