The University of Kent has been shortlisted in the two categories for which it made submissions to the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2013: Excellence & Innovation in the Arts and ICT Initiative of the Year.
Kent’s shortlisting for Excellence & Innovation in the Arts is based on its recent programme of development, innovation and investment in this sector. This has resulted in the University not only consolidating its existing reputation as a first-choice arts destination for students but in it also becoming an arts champion and cultural hub forCanterbury, Medway and the region. Kent’s successes in this area include:
- the creation and launch of its new £5million School of Music and Fine Arts on Chatham’s Historic Dockyard
- the construction of its £8million Colyer-Fergusson Music Building and School of Architecture Crit Building on its Canterbury campus, both of which were shortlisted for the 2013 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Southeast Regional Awards
- increased interdisciplinary research, with one of the most impactful projects beingImagining Autism, a Kent School of Arts led investigation into how drama-based activities may play a key role in helping autistic children’s development
- the expansion of its innovative and cross-disciplinary postgraduate degrees taken between its Canterbury campus and Paris centre
- its affiliate partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, the aim of which is to provide extensive educational benefits and opportunities for students and staff.
Kent’s shortlisting for ICT Initiative of the Year reflects its commitment to develop and promote a high quality learning experience through innovative teaching methods. The focus of the submission is the development and use of ‘serious games’, or immersive technologies, to enable students and child protection professionals undertaking continuing professional development to practice and discuss difficult child protection cases in safe environments.
Developed by Professor David Shemmings and Dr Jane Reeves from Kent’s Centre for Child Protection, these games combine expertise from a number of the University’s units, disciplines and academic schools, as well as external experts from organisations such as Special Branch, Kent Police, Kent County Council, Kent Probation and Child Health Services (Essex). The resulting programme is considered to be a ‘trail blazer’ for Kent and is expected to set the standard for its future distance learning courses. Feedback from students, practitioners, local authorities, children’s homes, voluntary organisations, training providers and charities has also demonstrated the need for this new style of learning tool – one that is also a far reaching and impactful ICT solution to a range of virulent social problems.
Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: ‘This is further good news for Kent in a year during which the University has been ranked among thetop 20 in the UK. It is also further recognition of Kent’s academic strengths and successes, as well as the impact it makes upon society at all levels. I congratulate all those involved in the shortlisted projects and offer them my best wishes for the awards ceremony.’
The winners of the THE Awards 2013 will be announced during a ceremony on 28 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.