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Pictured centre is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, who won the Educate North Lifetime Achievement Award.

The University received a second record-breaking year of 13 shortlisted nominations across nine categories. Now in their fifth year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding teams, people and initiatives from higher and further education institutions across the north of England. The awards were announced at The Hilton Hotel in Manchester on Thursday, April 25.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, won the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in education, both in the North and in the country as a whole.

As one of the UK’s longest-serving vice-chancellors, Professor Wheeler will be retiring later this year after 22 years at the helm of the institution (having overseen its progression from Chester College in 1998, to the University of Chester, in 2005).

According to excerpts from his citation: “Under his leadership at the University, student numbers have risen from 4,000 to more than 20,000 (recruited from over 130 countries), with 4,600 of these in a wide network of partner organisations, including 1,800 studying for University of Chester degrees at locations beyond the UK. The University now employs the full-time equivalent of more than 1,550 staff directly, and sustains 3,000 more jobs regionally as part of its annual economic impact, which approaches half a billion pounds.”

Other winners on the night were:

  • Professor Howard Williams, Professor of Archaeology won the Teaching Excellence Award. Howard – seen on Channel 4’s Britain’s Viking Graveyard on Easter Sunday -  pursues both teaching and research, with special research interests in death, burial and commemoration, particularly during the early Middle Ages. He also has a sustained interest and expertise in community and public archaeology identified through his fieldwork, including co-direction of the fieldwork investigation of the Pillar of Eliseg (Vale of Llangollen, Denbighshire) and his role as co-convenor of the new research network investigating the history, archaeology and heritage of the Anglo-Welsh borderlands from prehistory to the present: the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory. He maintains a popular Archaeodeath blog which brings many of his interests together and promotes them for the benefit of his students and specialist and popular audiences. The award has been welcomed by the University’s Department of History and Archaeology, which achieved a 100% student satisfaction rating for Archaeology in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2018.
  • STEM Green-Power Car Challenge won the Social Mobility Award. Based at Thornton Science Park, Angela Lupton, the University’s HE STEM Co-ordinator, devised an outreach project to raise awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects amongst male school students, and demonstrate the advantages of continuing to Higher Education in this sector: this was the Green-Power project following UCAS data that there had been a significant drop in male students from disadvantaged backgrounds continuing into Higher Education. Green-Power, which started in October 2017, is a four year project during which students, working as a team, are involved in designing, building, refining and modifying a Green-Power car to race at venues around the country.
  • Chester Business School, Centre for Work Related Studies - Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship won the Business Collaboration and Partnerships Award. Since March 2018, the University’s Centre for Work Related Studies has worked collaboratively with businesses to design, manage and continuously develop one of the earliest and most innovative business management and leadership master’s degree apprenticeship programmes in the UK. This builds on its long-running work based learning and accreditation work for adult learners. Their work requires proactive engagement and collaboration with an array of national and regional stakeholders, including universities, colleges, private providers, schools, councils, local enterprise partnerships, government departments, employers and funding agencies, to combine curricula and accredit workplace learning opportunities, providing more effective progression routes, developing workforces, and widening participation through enhanced social mobility and lifelong learning strategies. The award was accepted by programme leader, Lisa Rowe.
  • The China Centre won the International Partnership Award. The University of Chester China Centre is an entrepreneurial unit focusing on achieving sustainable long-term international partnerships through cultural, business and academic exchanges between the UK and China. It organises and delivers major business and education initiatives to foster international collaboration, partnerships and programmes between Chester and ASEAN universities, as well as collaboration between businesses in the different countries. The award was accepted by Dr Wing Lam, Director of the China Centre.
  • Westminster Centre for Research and Innovation in Veterans' Wellbeing won the External Relations Team of the Year. The Centre has subsequently developed an impressive educational model and research profile. These impact positively, not only on military veterans’ health and social support, but also that of the wider Armed Forces Community. The Centre is now connected into an extensive UK and international network of collaborations. The award was accepted by Professor Alan Finnegan, Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, said: “It was an honour, a delight and a complete surprise to have been recognised by my peers with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. My congratulations go to my fellow winners from the University of Chester, and to those who were shortlisted too. To achieve recognition across the spectrum – in terms of our individuals, our teams and our initiatives, is particularly pleasing and reflects their hard work, commitment and dedication.”

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