De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has secured two nominations in higher education’s ‘Oscars’ the Times Higher Education Awards, it was announced today.
The university’s work to help hundreds of people learn basic IT skills has made the finals in the Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year while a groundbreaking approach to staff training has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development category.
The IT4Free project is run by DMU’s Square Mile programme, which demonstrates the university's commitment to public good by sharing world-class expertise and resources to help others.
IT4Free has seen a team of academics and 50 students share their skills in an area of Leicester where fewer than 40 per cent of its 8,500 residents have access to a home computer.
IT4Free has taught people basic IT and social media skills and worked in primary schools to teach the principles of coding and robotics.
Pensioner Sharda Parmar, 79, took basic computing lessons last year, and recently joined free social media lessons. She told a Leicester City Council ward meeting: “DMU Square Mile IT4Free is vital, we have all learned so much.”
The award Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development is sponsored by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and seeks to recognise and reward imaginative schemes that foster leadership development at any level of management.
DMU was shortlisted for its Leadership Summits, designed by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard and the People & Organisational Development team.
The aim was to involve the whole senior talent pool in developing university strategy and send a message that leadership can and should be demonstrated by all professionals. Placing staff at the heart of the leadership development process has produced inspiring results.
Sarah Setchell, Director of People and Organisational Development, said: “A key objective was to expand strategic thinking and leadership discussions beyond Executive Board to all senior leaders (including professorial staff) and then their guiding coalitions.
“There never used to be a forum at DMU that enabled all senior staff to come together to discuss corporate strategy and its implications other than all-staff briefings.
“This approach didn’t really support their role as DMU leaders, a role that is wider than their discipline and vital to the success of the university.”
Posted on Thursday 4th September 2014