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.