De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has secured two nominations in this year’s The Guardian University Awards which recognise the very best work being done in the UK’s universities.
#DMUlocal, which sees students support projects that help communities across Leicester, has been shortlisted for the best Community Impact scheme while DMU’s innovative work to support disabled students has been nominated for the best Student Diversity and Widening Participation Scheme.
#DMUlocal runs more than 100 projects the support a range of needs – from supporting primary school children with language, literacy, maths and science classes to helping patients and their families through serious illness and giving free legal advice to hundreds of people in Leicester.
One of its key programmes in the past year has been its work with HMP Leicester. A programme of education and health activities was devised to give prisoners the best chance of a positive future on release. The prison has risen 51 places in the league tables and #DMUlocal has been credited by the prison governor as a major factor in its improvement.
Mark Charlton, Head of Public Engagement at DMU, said: “Sharing the skills and experience on campus with the surrounding community is, we believe, one of the key responsibilities of a modern university.
“So to be recognised for the ways we have worked to do this is extremely satisfying but none of the work could have been done without such a dedicated team of staff and the endlessly enthusiastic voluntary efforts of the students.”
DMU’s sector-leading work in creating an inclusive learning environment has also been nominated for a top honour. DMU’s Disability Enhancement Programme (DEP) aims to increase the independence of our disabled students and narrow attainment gaps.
With one of the largest proportions of students registered disabled in UK universities today, DMU wanted to make the experience of disabled students as good as it could possibly be – in keeping with the university’s core values of diversity and inclusivity.
The principle of Universal Design for Learning was introduced, which recognises that learning variability is the rule rather than the exception, an example of this in practice being our DMU Replay policy which means that lectures are recorded.
Quiet-themed accommodation was established with the needs of autistic students, and those with mental health conditions in mind. New assistive software was introduced, as well as enhancements to our approach to providing study materials in accessible formats.
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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills described the work as “inspirational” and DMU has been asked to help introduce change in the higher education sector.
Jo Cooke, programme leader of DEP and Director of Student and Academic Services (SAAS), said: “Inclusivity – being welcoming for all students – is another one of DMU’s most important concerns.
“We are constantly working to make sure every student has the greatest possible opportunity to make the most of their time here and as such we are proud and thrilled to be nominated for this work.”
Augustus Mbanasor, deputy president (education) at De Montfort Students’ Union said of DMU Replay, “(it is) a great initiative that benefits all students including disabled students, international students, and any student who wishes to revisit lectures in their own time and at their own pace”.
The Guardian Awards shortlist was announced today. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 29 March.
Posted on Wednesday 8th March 2017