Posted Thursday 24 September 2020
Kingston University and its pioneering staff have been shortlisted by sector-leading publication Times Higher Education for its prestigious annual awards, which recognise outstanding work in higher education.
The Kingston projects selected span career development support for Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) mental health nurses, educating trainee teachers to recognise and address the special needs of armed forces children, and improving the provision of midwifery education in Bangladesh to reduce the country's birth mortality rate.
Nursing expert and inclusivity champion, Judith Francois, is the academic lead for the mental health nursing initiative Harnessing BAME Mental Health Nurses Talent programme. Shortlisted for the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year award category for a range of innovations including the BAME programme, which develops the skills and confidence mental health nurses from BAME backgrounds need to get into senior roles they might not otherwise put themselves forward for. As a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Leadership and Management for the University's School of Nursing, Ms Francois was best placed to recognise the need for a customised programme.
So far almost 80 mental health nurses have taken part in the programme which offers one-to-one coaching, and explores how participants' cultural backgrounds may be influencing their professional development. The programme has notched up a number of successes with many of the nurses who applied for a promotion being offered interviews and then given the job. As well as being shortlisted for The Times Higher Education Award, Judith's work was recognised this year with a National Teaching Fellowship and shortlisted for a Royal College of Nursing Institute award in 2019.
Also recognised in this year's Times Higher Education awards, is the University's progressive approach towards the military community. This has been achieved through two connected initiatives. The first encourages Forces families to connect through shared-reading via Reading Force , established at Kingston in 2011, while the other educates trainee teachers about the issues experienced by armed forces children in schools and the positive contribution they can make to their learning environment – and in the process hopefully encouraging them to consider progression towards higher education.
This work has been shortlisted in the Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year category. In Kingston's PGCE curriculum, future teachers now learn how to support Forces families as they experience the unsettling effects of moving between schools multiple times, how to engage their parents, and how to boost integration for all. Kingston is the first teacher training provider in the country to embed this training into its PGCE curriculum, an initiative that is now being more widely shared within higher education. This drive to raise awareness about the issues, which then led to the teacher training curriculum development, was spearheaded by the University's publishing expert Professor Alison Baverstock – working with Claire Jackson, who leads Kingston University's School of Education PGCE Primary course.
Another project, recognised in the awards shortlist, is one which former Kingston midwifery expert, Dr Lesley Kay, was heavily involved in. Dr Kay was invited to be midwifery educator as part of this life-saving twinning project, between the Royal College of Midwives and the Bangladesh Midwifery Society. Her role was to support the development of midwifery education in Bangladesh and advocate for the profession, as well as set-up mentoring and online learning. Since setting up the mentorship programme in two sites, the number of caesarean births has reduced already by three per cent. This project has been recognised in the ‘International Collaboration of the Year' category.
The awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 26 November and is being held virtually for the first time.