THE Awards – University of the Year Submission

by | Sep 7, 2017

We have been shortlisted as University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2017. In entering the awards we were asked to make a submission of no more than 500 words, outlining why Dundee should be University of the Year. You can read our submission below:

A complete overhaul of the academic structure and culture of the University of Dundee – implemented for the 2015-16 academic year – has had a transformational impact on our performance.

In the time leading up to the restructure the University had become becalmed. Applications and admissions were not at the level that would enable us to be financially sustainable in the long term. League table positions had stagnated.

The restructure was delivered in the space of only a few months, with the support of the university community which through extensive consultation had identified a need for change. This was done under the ethos of ‘One Dundee’, working together as an institution to foster a culture of excellence across nine new academic schools and the professional services, and in the interactions between them, to the overall benefit of the University.

Staff and students worked tirelessly throughout 2015-16 and beyond to make the project a success.

The results are remarkable. We have achieved an average rise of around 20 places across the three leading league tables in the UK. In the THE World University Rankings last year we were the only Scottish University in the top 200 improving our position.

We have long been a research-intensive university, punching well above our weight in research income and performance. We are the top university in the UK for biological sciences research and top in Scotland across the STEM and Art and Design subjects (RAE 2014) and have the fourth highest proportion of research grant income to total income of any UK university.

We have matched that world class research – which led to us being named among Europe’s ‘Most Innovative’ universities – with excellence in teaching.

We achieved a Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, one of only eleven universities in the UK to hold that award and THE World Top 200 status.

Student satisfaction and employment have soared, with Dundee in the top ten of the NSS and THE placing us in a similar position for graduate prospects. We have been consistently ranked as providing among the best student experiences in the UK. Underpinning work across teaching and student experience is an unparalleled level of engagement with our Students’ Association, which is formalised through the Student Partnership.

On widening access we lead the way in Scotland. We have moved from one quarter of our students coming from the 40% most deprived areas in Scotland to more than one third, making more progress in this area than any other university in Scotland over a three-year period.

We have managed this even while seeing demand to study at Dundee rise as our core aims of increasing our applications and ultimately our student numbers are met, often in spectacular measure. Applications are up across the board, bucking all UK national trends.

Our wider impact is symbolised by the rise of the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee, a project that originated at the University and broke ground in 2015.

Restructure could be a drag on performance. Dundee’s has provided the boost to even greater things.