University of Brighton
University of Brighton wins prestigious national award
The university's Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp) has
won a major national award. The programme, which seeks to reduce social
inequalities in communities local to the University, scooped the 'Outstanding
Contribution to the Local Community' award at the Times Higher Education
The Cupp team were presented the award by David Lammy MP, the newly
appointed Minister of State for Higher Education, at the awards ceremony
held in London last night (23 October).
The Times Higher Education Awards aims to recognise the ground-breaking
work undertaken by UK universities. Now in its fourth year, competition is
fierce, with more than 90 per cent of UK universities entering in one or more
categories. Brighton was one of six universities shortlisted for the award but
fought off competition due to Cupp’s outstanding work in the field
Founded in 2003, Cupp has transformed relations between the university and
hundreds of local community organisations, and develops solutions to real
problems using university resources. Between July 2007-08 Cupp supported
15 partnership projects which involved over 300 students and its helpdesk
service responded to 130 enquiries. Through strong academic links led by two
professors, the helpdesk draws on the expertise of 30 senior members of staff
across 12 disciplines.
One community organisation which has worked successfully with the
university is Amaze, an advice and support service for parents of children with
special needs. Amaze started working with Cupp four years ago and attributes
Cupp with helping the organization improve staff development and formulate
Kim Aumann, director of research and training at Amaze, says: "Whenever we
need help and support, if the university is capable of providing us with it, we
know that they will do their best to, in a way that is genuinely user-friendly.
"Reflecting on the work that Cupp has done over the years, I can see that this
goes for the many other community groups they support, and I admire their
tireless enthusiasm and commitment to serving the local community, even
when it wasn't a very fashionable thing to do. Commitment to Cupp stretches
from the Vice-Chancellor's office right across other sectors of the university
community, academic and administrative alike. This institutional commitment
is a key source of its strength and effectiveness."
Cupp's other successes include helping community organisations to prevent
older people taking the wrong medication because they misunderstand their
prescriptions and helping talented artists with learning difficulties to access
university-level tuition and develop their professional art practice.
Cupp's academic director, Professor Angie Hart, says: "It's exciting to work for
a university that is so visionary about community engagement, and willing to
invest in it. Writing the submission and quantifying what we've done at
Brighton really brought home to me the scale of our work. There's so much
people are doing across the university community to try to meet the needs of
our local communities whilst producing really good academic work in the
process. So it really is win win.”
David Wolff, Director of Cupp added “We're grateful to the many academics,
students and administrative staff across the university who've put time into
working with Cupp - without them we wouldn't have won this award - this is a
team effort right across the university."
Ann Mroz, Editor, Times Higher Education, commented: “The range of
activities in the programme as well as the great engagement from both staff
and students made this project stand out from the crowd.”
For the 2008 Times Higher Education Awards more than 130 institutions
submitted an impressive 500-plus entries. Categories include Best Student
Experience, University of the Year, Outstanding Student Financial Support
Package, Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, Marketing
Initiative of the Year and Outstanding Support for Disabled Students.