31st May 2020
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Praise for college’s student engagement activities

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Two Shetland College projects have won accolades at the first ever University of the Highlands and Islands Student Support Initiative Awards.

Introduced this year, the awards celebrate innovative projects which have enhanced the experience of UHI students.

The Shetland College UHI’s Review of the Year video project was “highly commended” by the judges and the Talk Box, an anonymous student feedback system, was “commended”.

Judges decided that the Review of the Year was “innovative, multifunctional and a great way for families and support teams to share in student success”.

It brought together footage of college events, press clippings and radio clips. Compositions from college music students were used on the soundtracks, with HNC Music student James Dade composing a piece of music especially for the 2013-14 video.

Talk Box is an anonymous student feedback system at Shetland College. Judges noted it was a clear route for students to receive prompt feedback on studies and other aspects of student life.

Responses are placed on display in Briggistanes, the college cafe and social area, which encourages dialogue and “embeds student feedback in the quality structures of the college”.

This year’s winning entry was the Essential Student Skills project, an initiative which developed a portal of online materials to help students throughout their time at university.

Out of 13 other nominations, two were “highly commended” and two were “commended” with Shetland College UHI projects present in both categories.

College operations manager Susan Smith said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase these projects. We are delighted that two of our projects were commended and highly commended by the judges, highlighting the important work that our staff does in engaging and supporting our learners in their studies at Shetland College UHI.”

UHI dean of students Iain Morrison, who introduced the awards scheme, said the judges were blown away by the “high quality, innovative and evidence-based projects which were put forward”.

Dr Morrison added: “In a way it’s a shame there had to be one winner, since these initiatives demonstrate that students all over this university are benefiting from fantastic support and development.

“Students don’t just value high quality learning and teaching; they value the life-enhancing opportunities that are available and the resources they need if they encounter tougher times.

“This award gives our university the chance to highlight one of our major strengths: how we look after the people who mean most to us, our students.”

Shetland College has been able to develop its student engagement remit since creating the role of communications and student engagement assistant in 2012.

The post, currently held by Greg McCarron, was intended to assist in the promotion of the college, and encourage learners to engage within their own learning experience and the life and work of the college.

Education Scotland endorsed the post as good practice during the successful College Review in January 2014.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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  1. iatinkler

    What a total disgrace, a completely self-appointed meaningless and pointless organisation announces awards to University of the Highlands students for what? I have seen some pretty futile self-congratulatory awards before but this one really stands out for nothing. At a time when the Scottish Government under SNP control cutting funds to meaningful scientific and technical University courses these awards should be seen for what they are, absolutely without merit, an exercise in public relations and no more. I ask you what does this idiocy actually mean” “innovative, multifunctional and a great way for families and support teams to share in student success”. This is a pointless statement, pure hype and no more. Now consider what really generates wealth and actually benefits us all, Science, technical, engineering and maths subjects (STEM) the SNP offer nothing but cuts and under funding. Take for example Aberdeen University Sciences, cuts in key research funding results in 150 scientific and technical jobs being lost. These are vital posts, benefiting industry and real wealth creation. Now Scotland today, on a world scale, has not a single college or university scoring in true Sciences, in the world top ten ranking. That is a total disgrace, under SNP stewardship Scotland fails abysmally, the rest of the UK scores many times in the top ten of these league tables. Ten years ago, Scotland was a world leader in the sciences and technical education, it is now fast becoming third world. Simply lack of funding in sciences at university and higher education. Try and find a decent higher education science course (STEM subject) taught on Shetland, try and find any true science course (STEM subject) taught at University of the Highlands and Islands, for that matter.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, instead of flying off on your usual rant, why don’t you spend a little time on research? for example: how well were Scottish universities doing prior to the SNP becoming the Scottish government? in other words, were ALL Scottish universities up there with the big boys for decades, only to be destroyed by the “Evil SNP Government”? or are you just talking out a hole in your head with absolutely NO basis whatsoever to your havering?
      Lets take your link in world ranking for the top 3 Scottish universities prior to the SNP Scottish government from 2004-2006 and let’s look at from and overall perspective, not just in sciences but everything, how well are we doing?

      University of Edinburgh, 2004 – 48th, 2005 – 30th, 2006 – 33rd

      University of St Andrews 2004 – 70th, 2005 – 136th, 2006 – 109th

      University of Glasgow 2004 – 112th, 2005 -101st, 2006 – 81st

      Now let’s take the last 3 years while the SNP Scottish government’s been in power:

      University of Edinburgh, 2012 – 21st, 2013 – 17th, 2014 – 17th

      University of St Andrews, 2012 – 93rd, 2013 – 83rd, 2014 – 88th,

      University of Glasgow, 2012 – 54th, 2013 – 51st, 2014 – 55th,

      Hmm, not too shabby I see, perhaps that’ll cheer you up Ian?…[on second thought, probably not ;( ]

  2. Haydn Gear

    Ian Tinkler’s sour response to the Shetland UHI report made for miserable reading.Having spent my working life in situations of a similar nature I can assure him that whilst there is need to wean scientists and engineers life extends far beyond such areas of activity. Before anything of worth can be explored and success achieved there is a need to encourage and praise (when appropriate) young people who may be inspired to move on to greater things.I am confident that the drivers of the scheme know this and will help those in their charge to benefit for the rest of their lives. This would be no mean feat. So, Mr Tinkler,try to adopt a wider perspective instead of sniping in a negative manner. HG. southWales.

  3. iatinkler

    O dear, criticism from Hayden Gear, for my sour comments. I am so sorry Hayden, but as a mere science graduate perhaps I am a little bit of a philistine when it comes to the endless awards and accolades awarded by arty types to other arty types. Utter nonsense like “The Turner prise” awarded for “pickled shark” (Damian Hurst) and labelled as “Contemporary art” to a further 20 or contemporary art awards, internationally acclaimed by the pretentious few for arty works. Now to see such trivia handed down to every level of arty type to undergraduate students is to say the least, it is a little meaningless.
    However enough said. The purpose of my post was to publicize the dire level of Undergraduate Science education in Scotland and Shetland. Creative Industries seems to all on offer here. As I stated the Scottish Government, under control of The Scottish Nationalist appear totally illiterate in Science, technical, engineering and maths subjects (STEM), they are cutting funding and risking dire consequences… Take for example, Aberdeen University Sciences. Cuts in key research funding is resulting in 150 scientific and technical jobs being lost. These are vital posts, benefiting industry and real wealth creation. Now Scotland today, on a world scale, has not a single college or university is scoring in true Sciences. In the world top ten ranking, not a single one features. That is a total disgrace, under SNP stewardship Scotland is been failed abysmally, whilst the rest of the UK universities, score many times in these top ten league tables. For centuries’, Scotland was a world leader in the sciences and technical subjects, it is now fast becoming third world. Simply, a lack of funding and drive in the sciences at university and higher education levels is the cause. Try and find a decent higher education science course (STEM subject) taught on Shetland, try and find any true science course (STEM subject) taught at University of the Highlands and Islands, for that matter. Yes, Hayden Gear, I appreciate the pretty stuff turned out by the arty boys is nice, however its is of little use beyond aesthetic, sorry if that sounds a little sour, it just happens to be a fact.

    • Carl Pickard

      What a joyless, pitiable existence. I truly feel sorry for you Ian.

  4. iantinkler

    Please do not worry Carl. I am having a fabulous time and really loving my life. I appreciate your concern but it really is not warranted. Come to my facebook and see how I live, you may not feel so sad for me then. I thank you for your comment, it is good to know you are following my posts.

  5. Haydn Geat

    I was glad to read in his reply to Carl Pickard that Ian Tinkler is having a fabulous life.One might have been forgiven for thinking that he carried all the worries of the world on his shoulders particularly in relation to higher education in the sciences.That said, he appears to be sadly lacking in his appreciation of the numerous roles played by artists/designers which offer a massive input to the UK economy.It’s not all arty farty stuff which he thinks is the norm. Take the degree courses up and down the country, the Royal College of Art in particular, too many to list here. In their ignorance people like Mr T leap on any opportunity to belittle art endeavours whilst totally ignoring the great stuff which is usually unheralded.The Arts embrace more than painting and animals in formaldehyde.Highlighting the latter is a cheap shot. Only a boorish person would do that. Many of my former colleagues (science PhD people)were only too keen and happy to enjoy the Arts but they were keen to live happy, rounded lives. It seems to me that Ian Tinkler should get out more and widen his horizons. We shouldn’t have to wait long for a foot stamping, defensive response! By the way my name is Haydn not Hayden and it should be Turner PRIZE not PRISE. Oops!

    • John Tulloch


      What do you think about Ian’s point on the inadequacy of Scottish science education?

      (“By the way, your name is Gear, not Geat”!)

  6. Iantinkler

    Sorry Hayden, about the spelling, I am dyslexic!, however to move away from the totally trivial, have you anything to say about the falling standards in higher education in the Sciences in Scotland under the SNP’s poor management. That was the point of my post, you really do not have to be so defensive about the Arts, The Arts and sciences are not mutually exclusive of each other. It sadly is a matter of fact higher education in the Sciences is failing in Scotland, your learned opinion on this please, if you have one?

  7. Haydn Gear

    Well spotted John—- my name is indeed Gear (a name well known in Shetland) The letters r and t , as you know are adjacent so I was not careful enough. To answer both you and Ian, I think that the reduction in science provision in Scotland is to be deplored under the watch of the SNP. How could any sane person disagree? History shows us that truly great engineers and scientists have sprung from Scotland and who knows, embryonic “greats” could be being thwarted on account of present day cock eyed politics exerting a short sighted stranglehold. Within the Scottish nation there could be young people capable of CHANGING THE WORLD just as their ancestors did. As you must know the Industrial Revolution essentially began in south Wales and Merthyr was not only the hub of activity but also the capital before Cardiff took over.Today, thanks largely to Thatcher,it is top of a sad table of workless young people with poor health and lack of opportunity. So, despite Leanne Wood’s best efforts( Plaid Cymru) it will be a long, hard struggle.Deprivation in Scotland exists in Wales too. I hope that I have made my point and answered your question. HG

  8. Ali Inkster

    You advise Ian to get out more Haydn, but the fact is without the sciences the only arts you would have is mime, the earliest form of art known cave paintings relied on primitive chemistry, todays bands rely on electrical and mechanical engineers to boost their performance. The FACT is that without the sciences there is nothing not even art. So for my mind and any rational mind then the sciences must take priority not be put on the back burner to favour makin stuff fae bits o oo an macaroni as seems to be the way of Shetland college.

  9. Haydn Gear

    Ali, I hadn’t realised that the endeavours of Shetland College are sustained by macaroni.If true, then it should be converted to a food factory which could be very lucrative. Since record numbers of fish have been caught, fish based products would be able to benefit from a world wide market. Shetland needn’t worry anymore about Sullom Voe or the Viking scheme !! But to be serious,as you said, early examples of art are to be found in caves.Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain are fantastic places (I’ve been to both).and being in them makes one aware of what it is to be human.Our ancestors used their hands ,mud,crushed herbs and plants to mark their existence and give visible evidence to their mental processes. But all of this came before science was dreamt up and most certainly before the word chemistry was born.Therefore, it is quite facile to say that without science there is no art. As for music , many forms of performance use electrical support but many don’t.The famed fiddlers of Shetland such as my namesake Peter Gear along with vocalists do not rely on ear splitting electrical mechanisms. In Wales our singing tradition is strong and nobody can rival Millennium Stadium performances during rugby internationals. Music and art at their best raise the spirits. Nothing to do with science. Incidentally Ali, I would never suggest putting science on the back burner.Leaving out details, I owe my life to medical science. Without it, I would now be pushing up the daisies !!! H G

    • Ali Inkster

      science wasn’t dreamt up Haydn, it is everything around and in you and the ability to use and begin to understand it is as old as the human mind. Mixing the mud and herbs, that’s chemistry whether they called it that or not, that’s what it was. It was from these basics that spawned alchemy. It is the curious mind of man that that took us forward into chemistry, the ability to build tools mechanics, the ability to design better tools engineering, Every leap froward in the experience of humanity s because of science, and if you want to prevent man from making a complete mess of the planet then science again will be what saves it.
      The Skyinbow is an electric fiddle designed in Shetland “Led by technology inspired by tradition.”
      I am not saying there is no need for the arts but if you want Shetlanders to have fruitful careers long into the future ignoring technology for the arts is not the way forward. i have spoken to a lot of engineering companies in Shetland and they all complain about a lack of qualified people to fill the well paid jobs they have on offer. I wonder how many of the hairdressing places at Shetland college have been filled?
      The fact is Shetland college is letting down the young folk of Shetland for god knows why.
      An I’m braaly sure I’m seen Peter amped up on mony an occasion, I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. Iantinkler

    I just wonder why the arty types have to be so defensive about the monies spent on teaching art in higher education. Could it be that nearly every great artist in nearly every type of art managed their special gift without the benefit of “The Mickey Mouse” type of University degree? Sorry Haydn, but Shetland College and Mareel have not as yet created anything, that was not better created by our forefathers. Sad fact, but I do not believe you can teach true creativity, it is a gift, probably has far more to do with genetics than tutorship. I am however glad that you see eye to eye with me about the catastrophic state of science teaching in Scotland under the present regime of Sturgeon and formally Salmond. Never mind, the Creative Industries are flourishing, just what they create of real value alludes me. I am sure you will inform us all of exactly what is being created that is dependent on a B.A in Disney rodent studies?.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, could you please back up your statement with a few more facts? like linking or posting how well Sciences in our Universities were doing over the last, say, 30 years? and how it has been systematically eroded by the “Evil SNP” [in your eyes] It’s just that it seems a bit strange that Scottish Universities have improved fairly dramatically overall in world figures, [if you’d like to scroll up] So, is it just Science then that’s got worse in the last seven years? or has it actually got in worse at all?
      Looking forward to your information.

  11. iantinkler

    Robin, just check my listed references across the sciences, Scotland does OK with the Mickey Mouse subjects, such as Media Studies and Creative industries. Not so well in the STEM subjects. The SNP gives free tuition but lacks the funds the Universities need and is cutting Science funding.

  12. Haydn Gear

    Chief among the reasons why so called”arty types” ( by those who are intolerant as well as always being right) are often defensive is because they are all too often under attack from people on the offensive. Art history from the days of our cave dwelling ancestors provides a chronological record of human development.As in many areas of activity,the capacity to think,create and discover are much in evidence.The same goes for the scientific boffins and nerds who are also prone to producing bad as well as good results. It was claimed in a recent letter that science would save the world.With an oversupply of nuclear. weapons, science has the potential to end the world. “Chemistry is everywhere” it was also said. Well I never did ! I thought it was all ice cream and spaghetti . The stated comment was a bit amlwg, as we’d say in Wales (obvious). Hopefully the startling chemical revelation will not be extended to include and describe that the act of procreation is no more than an exchange of chemicals between two people ! Polonium hasn’t exactly done much for us. Likewise thalidomide. I wonder how many knockers of “arty types” don’t have pictures on their walls ,never enjoy poetry and literature,stay away from theatres ,concert halls and art galleries.In short,how many lack the essence of feelings and soul? If life is not to be enjoyed then death should come as a welcome release.

    • Ali Inkster

      No Hadyn the great engineering feats are what has marked our progress through history. From the broughs in Shetland to the standing stones in Orkney and the western Isles and Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The Pyramids of Egypt, South America and Asia. The great cities with their civic buildings, the Colosseum in Rome, the Parthenon in Athens, St Pauls cathedral in London, etc etc. All great feats of engineering and science.

  13. Ian tinkle

    Hayden, Arts and Science are not mutually exclusive. I sell my own art (photographic, mostly natural history shots) to the Shetland Times as well as other openings, however that is hardly relevant, my complaint was about how the SNP is cutting funds tor vital research at Aberdeen University. As a matter of simple fact my daughters could not pursue science courses (undergraduate) on Shetland, because there are none taught on Shetland, outside The open University. Literally £ millions has been invested and mostly squandered in “The Arts” and creative industries on Shetland. The arty courses offered, at this time are not even fully subscribed, nor appear to teach anything of practicable value. No degree in music, for example, qualifies you for anything other than teaching music. We have vast natural talent here. and that natural talent was not taught in a class, the same is true for all great art. RADA, the Royal School of Ballet and many of the great Artistic institutions do not make an academic study of Art, great art and great artists do not need academia. They are born, not created by a BA qualification, that is just pure pretension. With regard to your other comments pertaining to science, they are just a little facile, Science is literally knowledge, no more, no less, it is what man does with it that decides whether the knowledge is used for good or bad. Sadly that is a question for the politicians and leaders, they are the abusers of knowledge, not the scientists.

    • Robert Lowes

      Presumably, brilliant dentists are also born, and not trained. Give them a Black and Decker drill and a pair of pliers and set them away yanking molars out of people’s mouths. No need for expensive medical qualifications. A doctorate is of course, sheer pretentiousness.

      • iantinkler

        Robert, for your information, I hold no doctorate, that is purely a title awarded , due to the length of the training (can, with registration be 7 years plus), and an EU policy regarding medical/dental protocols. My manual and technical training for dental and oral surgery was not academic, although undertaken at university, was much in line with a modern apprenticeship. The degree side was more to do with, physiology, anatomy, comparative anatomy, biochemistry pharmacology and pathology. They had to be learnt and taught as academic degree subject (modules), otherwise we would not recognise dangerous diseases and life threatening conditions. Also without scientific knowledge of material science, toxicology and pharmacology my treatments would and could be incompetent and certainly dangerous. As regards people handling, in a stressful scenario and the pure artistry of modern aesthetic dentistry, that was never learnt at university, that is a gift, probably genetic and down to experience. We had no useful training there, at dental school, in my time.

  14. Haydn Gear

    Ian, To be fair, I agree with much of what you said in your last post.I’m not convinced, as you seem to be, that artists are born.Were you born a photographer or did you acquire you skills?I am a painter largely because I had an inspirational art teacher which led me to teaching at Leeds Metropolitan University where I tried to treat my students in similar fashion. Without any “push” from me my son did a BA in film and television whilst my daughter went on to do a PhD in English.This in turn enabled her to become an Editor-in- chief of a big publishing house. My late wife was an accomplished pianist and teacher but died at 38. The point of all this is that we did what we felt we had to do.If only everybody had the chance to follow their preferences. H G

  15. iantinkler

    Haydn, to put things into perspective, on Shetland and in Scotland there is massive investment in the “Creative Industries” whiles the STEM subjects, on which we all so depend are largely ignored and seriously underfunded. For example, Shetland has a new Arts Center, at vast cost, £14 million plus. Most use it as no more than a bar and cinema, pretty, but really an utter waste of money. We have now at further vast cost, the appointment of a Professor of Creative Industries!! Whatever that means (Highland and Island University) based in that Art Center and local college. All very good but we cannot even fill the course places with a full complement of students at this time. Whilst all this money is being squandered our population is so short of science graduates, are true wealth creators, that oil, gas, renewable and softwar,engineers/scientists, true wealth creators, have to be imported graduates from outside Shetland and Scotland. Education in MAST subjects is so lamentable on Shetland not a single course is on offer, not a single science teacher at junior lecturer or above has a post at Shetland College and the SNP / SG cuts fund for science and research at Aberdeen University.. This I find utterly unacceptable and wholly stupid, so very typical of the SNP.

  16. Haydn Gear

    Ian, You have clearly indicated that there appears to be an imbalance in the way resources are distributed. Is this because SIC are incompetent or has misinformation been fed to them? If you can identify the perceived problems , why is there not a groundswell of people prepared to take them on? Are the people of Shetland apathetic enough to sit back and be led by the
    nose?I If the suited brigade can blind the residents with science. (that word again!!) then they’ll continue to do so.

  17. iantinkler

    Haydn, I have long since stopped commenting on the SIC, and some of its self serving councilors. Easy money and maximizing every type of grant and something for nothing seems to be the driving force there.. Oil money has sadly made many people (Shetlanders) apathetic and more than a few indolent, but that is another story altogether.


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