Brighton Students’ Union

‘Brighton Students’ Unions Excellence Awards are our way of celebrating great course reps and outstanding teaching practice or academic support.

In our first year we were able to achieve 468 nominations for University staff and course reps at the institution and awarded 9 University members of staff awards for their impact at Brighton (6 from nominated categories, and 3 for outstanding contributions that were decided separately by the judging panel).
Now in our second year, we started with an aim of increasing participation by 30%. By the end of our nomination period, we had managed to increase our  participation by 168%, receiving more 1,100 nominations. This includes nominations from every school and faculty of the institution, and every campus and partner college (we have 10 campuses across 45 miles of East Sussex!) which was not achieved last year.

The success we have accomplished this year has come down to 3 significant factors.
To begin with, we re-evaluated the launch event of our nomination period, and sought to see how we could make it more high profile. So, we launched the nomination period for the Course Reps Awards and Staff Awards separately within our Engagement Week campaign titled “I <3My Education”. This campaign saw us celebrating great practise across the University of Brighton and encouraging students to critically engage with their course and give the SU constructive feedback on how they would change their experience at Brighton. And was the first time we were funded to hold a campaign with a presence on every campus for every day.
By separating these two groups of awards, we were able to highlight each one significantly more within the campaign week, and promote what each meant to students without confusion.

The second way we did things differently was to move a significant focus for promotion to Social Media bases, rather than relying upon posters and word of mouth. We looked at targeting every student course, society and sports team group on Facebook, whether they were official or unofficial pages. We also used our Course Reps (we have around of them 1,000 at Brighton) to push the Awards nominations through their personal and course networks.

Finally, we decided to modify the award categories from the previous year and added 2 new awards that University staff were able to be nominated for.  This was designed to receive student feedback on issues that we know effect them significantly in their studies, as well as to give students some titles that are a bit more fun to play with.

This year’s award categories for 2012 are:

Achievement Award
– The tutor who has helped me to achieve more than I ever thought possible

Teaching Award for Academic Engagement
– The most engaging tutor who is exciting, enthusiastic and dynamic, and makes the difficult easy

Support Staff Award
– The member of support staff who has really helped my learning
Individual Award
Group Award

Post Graduate Support Award
– Most supportive postgraduate supervisor/ tutor

21st Century Teaching Award
– The tutor who makes the most innovative use of technology in their teaching

The ‘Mastermind’ of Student Central Award
– The tutor who uses Student Central to effectively engage students with their learning

Inspirational Teaching Award
– The tutor who has inspired me and set my imagination on fire

2011 awards names are available at:

The increase in impact and participation we have achieved at Brighton would be non-existent if it wasn’t for the support from the institutional staff and SMT at Brighton, as well as the dedication of the staff team at Brighton Students’ Union’.

Amy Rutland,
Vice President Academic Affairs
Brighton Students’ Union

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