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28th November, 2018

Double shortlisting for Kent in Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2018


The University has been shortlisted in two categories of the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2018.

The first shortlisting is in the Outstanding Support for Students category for a project that seeks to improve access to learning for all by implementing a range of accessibility initiatives.

Known as OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement), this project was launched in 2016 to challenge the need for students declaring a disability to request a ‘ladder’ to overcome obstacles in the form of individual adjustments for each of the barriers they encounter.

In collaboration with students, staff from a range of University departments identified 2,600 individual adjustments and by offering a proactive type of support that aims to remove obstacles from the outset have transformed the culture of the University into one where a disability is no longer viewed as a ‘problem’ but as an opportunity to make things better for everyone.

This shortlisting follows the University’s success in 2017 when it was named the outright student support winner for its acclaimed Student Success Project.

The second shortlisting is for Professor Nicola Shaughnessy (School of Arts) as Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year.

Since her appointment to Kent in 1999, Professor Shaughnessy has nurtured several generations of neurodiverse postgraduate students to success through creative and interdisciplinary approaches. This includes offering twice-monthly shorter tutorials and making use of Skype, interactive and open space technologies. Over the years, she has also developed a network of postgraduates working across disciplines and institutions on autism and gender. This online community offers cross-disciplinary research exchange and peer support.

Graduate testimonials endorse the value of her supervision, which has resulted in many creative and neurodiverse scholars making a difference to future generations through their work in arts, education, social and community settings.

Professor Shaughnessy won the University’s inaugural Graduate School prize for Outstanding Supervisor 2017-2018.


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