Award-winning Nottingham Trent University blazes impressive trail

Award-winning Nottingham Trent University blazes impressive trail

 May 22, 2019

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Nottingham Trent University (NTU) continues to forge a strong commitment to equality and diversity, now is a really exciting time to consider a career with this prime employer for women.

The University enjoys well-deserved success having scooped the prestigious accolade of Guardian University of the Year and climbed to 38th place on the UK Complete University Guide league table - not to mention scooping the Bronze Award under the Athena SWAN Charter and being the first university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

Solid recognition of success, coupled with NTU having hosted a diverse programme of activities for International Women’s Day, shows that the university is blazing a trail when it comes to academic excellence and workplace inclusion.

Where Women Work takes a closer look at some of NTU’s impressive activity and events that reinforce their success.

NTU is Guardian University of the Year

NottinghamTrent University - award winning

Perhaps one of the most exciting announcements for NTU is having been named University of the Year by The Guardian.

The Guardian University of the Year award is based upon performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide as well as considering retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME (black, minority ethnic) students.

The awards organisers were impressed by NTU’s Success for All agenda that demonstrates that the university strives to provide the opportunity for all students to succeed and is at the forefront of implementing excellent support for students.

Nottingham Trent University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Edward Peck, said: “I want to thank The Guardian for recognising the achievements of NTU over recent years. My colleagues and our students set out our shared ambitions and challenging objectives back in 2015 and we have all worked incredibly hard to deliver these.”

NTU also won the Course and Curriculum Design category of the Guardian University Awards for its SCALE-UP project. Originally a small-scale idea trialled in the USA, NTU has enhanced and scaled-up this approach to teaching which turns its back on traditional lecture theatres and the student/teacher relationship by encouraging students and lecturers to work more collaboratively in a roundtable environment.

This initiative has reduced the attainment gap in underrepresented groups, and improved non-continuation rates across all groupings. For BME students specifically, the attainment gap as reduced by 4.2 per cent, attendance improved in the 90 per cent -100 per cent category by 13 percentage points, and the non-continuation rate almost disappeared.

The awards continue to roll in, as NTU has also been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking possible.

Athena Swan recognition for NTU’s commitment to gender equality

NottinghamTrent Univ - women - Athena Swan

NTU is recognised for its commitment to gender equality by achieving the Bronze Award under the Athena SWAN Charter. Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was originally launched to encouraged commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM employment in higher education and research – but now recognises humanities subjects as well as work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Mark Biggs, chair of NTU’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team, said: “This result demonstrates the strong commitment that NTU has made to improve gender equality across the institution at all levels.”

To obtain the award, the university had to produce a four-year action plan to improve gender balance. Much of the work towards these goals has already begun, including targets to increase female representation among Professoriate to 35 per cent by 2022.

Mark added: “The award is a significant achievement and comes on the back of the hard work and dedication of a dynamic and influential team comprised of colleagues from across NTU, with its membership reflecting the diversity of experiences and identities of our NTU community.”

Highest ever ranking for NTU in UK league table

NTU students

Further reinforcing NTU’s commitment to providing the best education possible for its students, is the major news that NTU has achieved its highest ever ranking in a national university guide – rising 25 places in the past three years.

The Complete University Guide 2020 shows NTU has moved up four places – the most of any university in the East Midlands – to reach 38th position out of 131 institutions.

This builds on NTU’s climb during the previous two years and means NTU has reached its highest ever position in the guide, which ranks universities on 10 measures including: student satisfaction, research quality, graduate prospects and spending on student facilities. NTU is also named in the top 10 for seven subject areas.

Professor Peck continues: “This ranking is further confirmation of our commitment and achievement in improving the student experience and helping them to attain outstanding outcomes.”

Helping forge a #BalanceforBetter on International Women’s Day

NottinghamTrent Univ - women - IWD
Continuing to demonstrate its work as a champion for equality, inclusion and diversity, NTU as an IWD Supporter, hosted a rich mix of activities for International Women’s Day 2019 to engage with both students and colleagues.

Activities varied from an institutional conference event and a panel discussion on Women in STEM, to an exhibition of ‘Trailblazing Women of Nottingham’ and a grassroots poster campaign led by academic colleagues.

Among the program of multiple events there was also a ‘Where are all the Female Icons?’ panel discussion where seven guest speakers came to NTU to discuss female icons for an audience of students; and NTU officially launched the Employability Women’s Mentoring Network: which pairs students up with mentors to provide career insight to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

NottinghamTrent Univ - women - IWD event

Meanwhile, NTU’s Women’s Staff Network activities for International Women’s Day included:

  • Bags for Balance collection - asking people to donate handbags filled with sanitary products and toiletries to be given to local charity, Nottingham Women’s Centre
  • Wall of Wisdom - asking women to think of a pearl of wisdom that they would give their younger self or other women
  • Go purple for IWD - whereby the network invited conference attendees and colleagues across NTU of any gender to wear purple to signify their support for International Women’s Day

NTU’s interpretation of the International Women’s Day theme #BalanceforBetter involved ensuring a balance was evident in every aspect of its programme. This meant engaging students as well as colleagues, and men as well as women. As Professor Peck said in his speech opening NTU’s International Women’s Day conference: “Equality is everyone’s business.”

First university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge

And the positive news surrounding NTU’s diversity efforts doesn’t end with International Women’s Day. NTU has demonstrated its commitment to furthering social mobility through education by becoming the first UK higher education institution to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

The pledge was launched by former Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and UK financial technology entrepreneur, David Harrison, founder of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. It sees companies and institutions commit to working with local schools and colleges, offering work placements and apprenticeships and adopting open recruitment policies.

NTU is at the forefront of social mobility. Its outreach team raises achievement as well as aspiration among school pupils in the least advantaged communities in Nottinghamshire.

In 2016, NTU admitted 13 per cent of students from disadvantaged neighbourhoods compared with 11 per cent for all England universities. NTU recruited the sixth highest number of these disadvantaged students of all UK universities.

In addition, 56 per cent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds graduating in 2014 progressed to further study or professional employment, compared with 67 per cent of graduates from non-disadvantaged backgrounds. By 2017, this gap had narrowed to just one percentage point, with as many as 80 per cent of graduates from disadvantaged neighbourhoods progressing to further study or professional occupations.

Provisional data for 2018 shows that over 70 per cent of NTU students from disadvantaged widening participation backgrounds achieved a 2:1 or First Class compared with 61 per cent of the 2013 graduating cohort.

Changing lives and making a difference via employment

Justine Greening - Nottingham Trent University

Justine Greening MP visited NTU to see social mobility in action first-hand and to meet some students whose lives have been transformed as a result of studying at the university.

She said: “The Social Mobility Pledge is about making a practical difference to employment opportunities by making sure employers can focus on talents and competence over connections. And there is a clear link between what we are doing and how forward-thinking universities see their own role. I’m very grateful to […] all the staff at Nottingham Trent University. They are committed to making a real difference to social mobility in Britain and I hope other higher education institutions will follow.”

Working to close the UK’s progression gap

After signing the Social Mobility Pledge, NTU worked with Think Social Mobility – a research arm of the Social Mobility Pledge – to produce a report offering insight into the success it has had in improving access to university and raising attainment levels of students from areas where participation in higher education is low.

The report, called Closing the UK’s Progression Gap, also sets out recommendations for other universities and businesses to follow.

When visiting NTU, Justine Greening MP praised the report, saying: “People across our country rightly have an expectation that universities are open to students irrespective of their background – yet three quarters of people believe elite universities are not doing enough to recruit students from less well-off backgrounds – but also about what happens once students are there.

“Nottingham Trent is a great example of a university that understands the importance of this. They are using technology to track signals often missed by the human eye and to then generate an intervention in good time. The overall effect is improved engagement, which is a key factor in higher levels of social mobility.”

Important cultural and outreach events at NTU

The awards and initiatives outlined in this article offer only a small taste of how NTU champions inclusion for everyone – both within its staff and student body. The university organises and supports a host of events and initiatives throughout every academic year – from getting involved in cultural and outreach events such as the Nottingham Poetry Festival, through to running an annual Global Week that celebrates people of all backgrounds. Clearly, NTU is a prime employer committed to supporting its wider community.

Work for an employer committed to inclusion, diversity and equality

With a committed team of staff working hard to ensure all students feel welcome and receive the best access to education, there is no better time than now to launch a career with award-winning Nottingham Trent University and be part of their journey.

Search and apply for vacancies with NTU today and join the many impressive women making a difference via their careers with this top university.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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