Posted Tuesday 16 May 2017
Kingston University has won the NEON University of the Year Award for the second year running and has also triumphed in two other award categories. The NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards recognise commitment to increasing access to higher education for everyone – but in particular for under-represented individuals and groups.
The University won the Widening Access Initiative Award (Retention and Success) for its student engagement programme and was highly commended for its inclusive curriculum work – for which it recently won The Guardian University Award for Teaching Excellence.
In addition, 25-year-old postgraduate English literature student Beth Taswell won in the Student of the Year category in recognition of her significant contribution to the University's outreach work with children who have come through the care system and in developing the University's programme of support for care leavers, KU Cares.
Jayne Aldridge Director, Services for Students, said the NEON award for student engagement provided further confirmation that putting students at the centre of everything was the ultimate key to success. "It is fantastic that the initiatives delivered by our Student Engagement Team alongside our student support staff – known as connectors – have been recognised for their contribution to the retention and achievement of our student body," she said.
Founded in 2012, NEON helps organisations involved in widening access to higher education affect change in their own communities. It takes a cross-sector approach bringing together universities, schools, colleges, the voluntary sector, professional bodies and employers.
Jenni Woods, Associate Director for Widening Participation, who last year won in the Outstanding Contribution to Widening Access category, said the University's success was down to the cross-institutional approach it took to support access, accomplishment and progression throughout the student lifecycle.
"Being named the HE Institution of the Year again and seeing Beth recognised for her individual contribution is overwhelming and demonstrates that the principles of widening participation are embedded in everything we do," she added. "I and all my colleagues are so proud of the many staff and students who have contributed to helping more people have the chance to study at university which, in turn, has led to this fantastic result at the 2017 NEON Awards."