Provost's View: Inaugural Provost's Excellence Awards
21 January 2016
Before the Christmas break I mentioned that I had recently had the pleasure, alongside my fellow panel members, to consider the nominations for the inaugural Provost's Excellence scheme.
We received many high quality nominations showcasing exceptional contributions across all six categories (excellence, equality, collegiality, innovation, leadership and environmental sustainability). That made the judging extremely difficult, so one of the key concepts that the panel focused on was the extent to which the nomination identified individuals that had gone well above and beyond their defined role. I'd like to share with you the colleagues that we chose:
Matthew Cole, Administrative Assistant, Psychology & Language Sciences (Collegiality)
Matthew's nomination highlighted his innovative creation of a divisional social media strategy. This transformed the way the division communicates with its stakeholders, by setting up its social media platforms. We were impressed that best practice was shared via a faculty network - a clear example of excellent work beyond the scope of Matthew's role..
Professor Susan Cunningham, Eastman Dental Institute (Collegiality)
Professor Cunningham's nomination highlighted her sheer commitment to excellence in the Orthodontics programme, ensuring that it delivers outstanding teaching. Professor Cunningham had gone the extra mile for students and the programme's supportive learning environment is exemplary.
Dr Russell Evans, Admissions & Examinations Administrator, Statistical Science (Excellence)
Russell received an unprecedented number of nominations for the excellent support he offers colleagues. It was noted that Russell is someone who stands out as an employee who always goes the extra mile, particularly where identifying and improving existing processes to make them more efficient.
Marcia Jacks, Institute Manager, Institute for Women's Health (Equality)
Marcia's voluntary commitment and proactive involvement in race equality at UCL is commendable. Her work as co-chair of the Race Equality Steering Group has seen the group dramatically raise the profile of race equality. The panel agreed that Marcia is an excellent role model for staff and students and also recognised Marcia's contribution to developing UCL's successful Race Equality Charter Mark submission. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0815/13082015-race-equality-cha...
Abbie King, Student Engagement Officer, CALT (Innovation)
Abbie's nomination conveyed her tremendous contribution to CALT and UCL's education development agenda. The panel were highly impressed by Abbie's ability to work creatively and propose new ways of thinking, typified (but not limited to) her contribution to the excellent UCL ChangeMakers initiative. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/changemakers
Dr Fiona Leigh, Department in Philosophy (Equality)
Dr Leigh has displayed outstanding leadership and dedication in progressing LGBTQ+ initiatives over a number of years. This includes the mentoring scheme Dr Leigh developed to support homeless LGBTQ+ young people succeed in further and higher education, her proactive approach to partnership working with Stonewall, and constructive engagement with the Global Engagement Office. These initiatives (and many others) have made a significant contribution to advancing equality at UCL.
Denis Lincoln, Head Porter, Estates and Facilities (Excellence)
Denis's nomination came from outside his division and conveyed his overall excellence and dedication, from greeting staff to attending the building in an emergency. It is recognised that he has led the portering team to deliver outstanding service and this has been warmly recognised by UCL Institute of Ophthalmology staff.
Jo McIntosh, Administration and Projects Co-ordinator, Student and Registry Services (Leadership)
The panel recognised Jo's leadership contribution to the UCL and IoE merger process. We particularly noted her commitment to leading a wide-ranging programme of integration and development across student processes and systems within UCL and the IOE with excellent results.
Nadine Mogford, Doctoral Training Partnership Administrator, Biosciences (Innovation)
Nadine was chosen for a number of reasons, but the panel were particularly impressed with her efficient and innovative reworking of the doctoral training programme in her area. Nadine's nomination really conveyed her commitment to improving the student experience with tangible results, which is of course absolutely vital to UCL.
Madiha Sajid, Course Administrator, Institute of Epidemiology (Collegiality)
Madiha displayed exceptional leadership in establishing and coordinating the UCL Parents and Carers Network (PACT). The group's coaching sessions have provided practical support to UCL staff and are very well received. Her contribution to PACT has made a significant contribution to equality and community across the institution, reaching far beyond Madiha's role.
Jörg Saßmannshausen, Computer Officer, Chemistry (Environmental Sustainability)
Jörg was instrumental in upgrading the Chemistry High Performance Computing clusters, which resulted in his department saving energy in the long term. The panel recognised the foresight, personal skills, tenacity and commitment to the UCL community it took to to drive this change through.
Professor Andrea Sella, Chemistry (Environmental Sustainability)
Professor Sella has campaigned to reduce water consumption in his building. Working with colleagues and implementing innovative methods resulted in a reduction in consumption circa 60-75%, which had clear environmental and financial benefits. We were delighted that this scientific approach had been integrated into student learning.
Sean Taylor, Computer Science, (Excellence)
Sean has been exemplary in his adoption and promotion of new Helpdesk software which his Faculty has been using. He has demonstrated exceptional levels of customer service for the five Master's level degree programmes he coordinates. This level of service is essential to the student recruitment activities of these degree programmes.
Snjezana Voloscuk, Financial Administrator, Economics (Excellence)
Snjezana received numerous nominations for her calm efficiency in dealing with a very high volume of tasks without missing a deadline. Her effective management and cover of work beyond her role in a transitional period was widely appreciated by her department.
I'd like to congratulate of all the winners and at the same time to recognise the work of the many other staff who I know make an exceptional contribution to life at UCL.
Updating the UCL values
During this academic year, we intend to conduct a piece of work to consider and update,the stated values of UCL (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-2034/founding-principles).
A scheme such as the Provost's Excellence Awards, which draws upon UCL's values in order to identify common themes underpinning the outstanding performance of UCL staff in diverse roles, exemplifies how a clear set of values can be a unifying force and a useful reminder of what is central to the very nature of UCL.
In the main, our current set of values remain entirely relevant - and what is more, underpin our strategy, UCL 2034. It is, however, quite helpful to conduct an exercise to remind ourselves of what these values are, to reexamine them afresh in the light of the contemporary concerns of UCL and perhaps to consider how our values may serve to differentiate us from other universities.
This proposal emanates from some early thinking on the issue from our UCL ethics committee, and involves members of SMT - and I would also like to invite the winners of the Provost's Excellence Awards to join the review team. All members of UCL are similarly welcome to join in - we will be holding 'town meetings' and taking this exercise through a wide consultation, but if you are particularly keen to be even more closely involved please contact me via this form.
Professor Michael Arthur
UCL President & Provost