2021 winners and shortlist
Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the Vice-Chancellor's Award 2021!
Our Finalists and Winners
The award categories within the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards aim to represent and celebrate the variety of skills and knowledge at the University. Find out who our finalists and winners were in each award category.
Business Impact Award
Lynn’s ingenuity, creativity and exceptional communication skills has meant that this year, against the odds, she has been able to find crucial placement opportunities for our nursing students. She is held in extremely high esteem by our external partners and also, quite clearly, by her colleagues here at the University.
As the University's property law expert Linda's role in completing a crucial and highly complex real-estate sale was fundamental in putting the University in a good position to face the financial strains of the pandemic.
Sue has supported our international staff, working students and visiting guests through a period of uncertainty and change regarding Brexit. Sue provides formal policy and guidance, has established strong relations with the Home Office and has been able to support the international workforce during a challenging time.
Student Experience Award
As the Student Support Officer for our international students, Adam consistently champions student experience and ensures that students really are at the heart of every decision we take. This year Adam has shown outstanding leadership qualities and resilience, taking all the challenges that this year has created in his stride, and never letting them dampen his enthusiasm for enhancing the student experience.
Karthik Kumar Bonkur
As the President of the Students’ Union, Karthik has of course had the student experience at the heart of everything he has done. However, since the social aspect of student life has been sorely missing this year, Karthik has worked exceptionally hard to embed various virtual and online events which have become very successful and popular - a testament to his determination.
Julie Vuolo, Sam Onagoruwa, and Oluwole (Tope) Bamgbelu
As part of the work the University is doing to eliminate the awarding gap between white and BAME students, Oluwole, with the support of Samuel and Julie, has designed and established a one to one coaching scheme for Black students who are at risk of dropping out. The team are determined that this scheme be seen as an opportunity for students to be empowered to succeed.
Professional staff member of the Year
Over the past year Tom has excelled professionally throughout the pandemic. Not only has he delivered above and beyond in his typical facilities management role within Estates, but he has also taken on responsibility for projects such as managing the logistics for creating a brand new asymptomatic testing centre on campus.
Gilmar’s knowledge of the Higher Education sector is second to none and he works tirelessly to ensure that the quality of his, and his teams work upholds the reputation of the University in the business community. He is also a passionate Equality and Diversity Advocate, supporting social mobility and widening participation across the country.
Fiona has led the one area of the Sports Village that has been permitted to remain open during the pandemic. She has done this in her usual professional way, creating an incredibly positive environment for her team and the elite athletes who have used her facility, whilst always ensuring that everyone is kept safe.
Technical staff member of the Year
Alex has never been one to shy away from a challenge, and this year he oversaw the process of procuring, packaging and sending components for our Engineering students for at-home practicals. His positive attitude and professionalism make him an absolute asset to the University.
Richard is an outstanding Educational Technologist whose approach to the support and guidance of staff and students is exemplary. Regardless of how busy he is, he always remains professional, supportive, approachable and, above all, kind in how he communicates and offers his time and expertise.
Jenny has quietly played a crucial behind-the-scenes role at Herts during the pandemic, overseeing the University's production of hand sanitiser for the local community, and taking responsibility for ensuring the School’s staff and students are kept safe in line with evolving health and safety guidelines.
Research success of the Year
Claire is nationally and internationally renowned for her research on people living with dementia and those living in care homes. She has recently been awarded National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator status and her exceptional reputation both nationally and internationally makes her a truly leading light in research at Herts.
Constantine is a leading authority on the ‘philosophy of action’, and which expertise has led to a recent collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge on research that explores the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence. His work has formed an integral part of the University’s REF2021 submission for Philosophy.
Andreas has developed an exceptional research and innovation profile and in particular has sustained a 13-year relationship with C4 Carbides, a global power tool accessories manufacturer. His research has led to changes in the company’s processing approach which has arguably yielded the top-performing diamond drill on the global market.
Tutor of the Year
Dr Caitlin Shaw
This year has been such a difficult time for both students and lecturers alike, yet Caitlin’s lectures and seminars do not feel any less engaging than her in-person teaching. It is clear that she genuinely cares about every student’s wellbeing and their success, which creates such a welcoming and motivating atmosphere.
Dr Joseph Williams
Joseph’s supportive nature and personalised academic delivery has seen him become a favourite of his students. Over the past year he has continued to make himself available and visible to his students across all platforms, allowing them to feel fully engaged with their learning.
A kind, considerate and down-to-earth tutor, Howard ensures that he builds individual relationships with each student, making sure that student wellbeing is a priority. He instils students with an excitement and confidence in themselves as individuals and as future professionals.
Manager of the Year
Karen passion for the professional development of her team means she actively encourages them to continually grow their expertise by experimenting with new technologies and connecting with the wider University. She sets clear goals and objectives while allowing her team the autonomy to make their own choices about how best to achieve them.
Over the past year Alex has really shown his innate empathy and compassion for each team member’s individual circumstances, and has gone to great lengths to ensure the team continues to have a feeling of togetherness and of being one unit despite not being physically together.
Jo displays an infectious passion for her role. She consistently shows her team what leadership is truly about: giving clarity on the team’s direction, challenging them to be the best they can be, and encouraging them to use their knowledge and expertise to help support and drive the University forward.
Team of the Year
Health Placements Team
This year the Health Placements Team have played a pivotal role in supporting the NHS. They adapted to a constantly evolving situation with consideration, patience and dedication to ensure that nearly 300 of our student nurses were able to start with NHS Trusts across the country, on placements through to qualification.
Placements Team (Careers and Employment)
This year the team facilitated even more students than ever in undertaking valuable placement opportunities both in the UK and overseas. The team worked closely with employers, academics, students, legal and health and safety departments to ensure that our students were kept safe while they gained priceless professional experience.
Active Staff and Hertfordshire Sports Village team
The importance of physical activity to support mental wellbeing is universally recognised, and so by providing countless ways for staff and students to remain active and feel part of a community even when isolating the team have been a real lifeline for many across the University over the past year.
Colleague of the Year
Catherine excels at building relationships across the University through her preparedness to listen, explain, support and take upon herself the resolution of tasks. She is a caring and compassionate manager, supporting her team and encouraging their professional development at all opportunities.
Dr Mariana Lilley
David has a consistently positive attitude to work, which in a challenging year has helped others remain positive too. His attitude to teaching online has been inspirational, and his focus on an excellent, high quality student experience ensures that student outcomes are strong and colleagues are proud to work on the programme.
Teaching Roll of Honour
As placements for paramedic students were paused during the pandemic, the paramedic team – led by Alex – created “Paramedic Simulation Fortnight” to fill that essential hands-on experience gap. The value of this experience to her students is clear, with one commenting ‘Simulation Fortnight has genuinely been one of the most valuable learning experiences I have ever had.’
Michael Wright is an exemplary and inspirational colleague who brightens the life of all students and staff who come into to contact with him. He values and appreciates every individual student and supports and encourages them to achieve great things, and to build on their own passions, interests, intellectual curiosity and ways to create positive change.
Tia is passionate about building the mathematical capital of our student teachers so that they have the knowledge and skills to challenge social disadvantage in our primary schools. She is also an exceptional staff mentor, providing thoughtful and well-considered feedback for less experienced colleagues to learn from.
Jimmy’s passion for teaching and encouraging students to achieve their best is remarkable. His professionalism and enthusiasm in creating interactive content in novel ways to engage students was especially praised by his students. His willingness to share best practice technology tips has also earned him recognition and appreciation among his colleagues.
Jahid’s qualities go far beyond his engaging and interactive teaching style. He embraces student needs for effective pastoral support alongside high quality teaching to fully realise their potential. Student wellbeing really matters to him he has shown particular support to our international students during a very challenging and potentially isolating year.
Helen’s approach to teaching is innovative and evolutionary – with a constant commitment to keeping abreast of developments in learning and teaching. She actively encourages student feedback, helping to shape a new Employability Skills module, making her a real asset to the University.
It is not only Madeleine’s dedication and professionalism that are hugely valued by her students, but also her commitment to pastoral care which is exemplary. She is an outstanding communicator and a noted authority on dermatology, and the feedback from her students reflects that she truly is a star in the School.
Thomas displays a real joy in teaching and seeing the students develop to their full potential. He was also pivotal in the redevelopment of the Aerospace, Automotive & Mechanical MEng/BEng programmes - enhancing the practical, hands-on, application of engineering education at the University even further.
Student of the Year
Annie Clarke, Greta Mazeikaite, Thelma Gossel
This team of three School Community Organisers have worked as a unified whole, exceeding all expectations in terms of motivation, compassion and enthusiasm to bring the staff and students of the School of Life and Medical Sciences together. They represent the very best of their School and are exemplary ambassadors for the University and for all that we stand for.
João Pinheiro Camacho
João’s determination and energy makes him a true role model to his classmates. Over the past year he has shown outstanding leadership and organisational skills around co-curricular activities, focussing on offering as many creative and community building opportunities to as many students as possible.
Snekha is an unfailingly professional, courteous and respectful student, but it is as a Student Ambassador that she has truly thrived. She genuinely lives the University’s values, promotes the University with genuine and heartfelt positivity. She is destined to be an amazing educator of young children and a wonderful role-model.
It is not often you come across a more proactive, professional, ambitious student than Charlotte. Having secured numerous professional placements during her studies to enhance her employability, she has also delivered two large-scale local events as well as being a University ambassador and Programme representative.
Anna’s professionalism and adaptability as a student is reflected in her ability to expertly manage studying working part time, looking after her child, and advocating strongly to
create change within the School. She is a fantastic ambassador for the Hertfordshire Law Clinic, was instrumental in establishing the School’s Students/Staff Parent Network, and ensures her voice is respectful and representative of all.
Kiyan is an exceptional student representative, unfailing in his commitment to the University and fellow students. He is both a much-appreciated contact for prospective students and a support for all current students both in the clinical and academic setting.
Chloe embodies our University’s graduate attributes through her integrity, respect for and embrace of diversity, commitment to inclusive practices, adaptability during the pandemic, and her desire to enhance the wellbeing of others. She is a committed advocate for the LGBT+ community, working to create a safe space and enhancing the voice of that community at our University.
Manuel Gomes Rosmaninho
Manuel never ceases to impress with his problem-solving skills, technical ability, initiative, strong sense of responsibility towards our learning community and positive attitude. Throughout his studies he has demonstrated not only intellectual rigour and innovative thinking, but also compassion and kindness for his peers at all times.
External Partner of the Year
Tenon FM, the University’s long-term cleaning and maintenance partner, have been the constant on campus throughout the pandemic - ensuring our spaces are safe, clean and well maintained. They have been critical in the implementation of COVID secure measures and have adapted our systems to align to new guidelines for ventilation.
Alumnus/Alumnae of the Year
Michelle Johnson MBE
Winner – UK Alumnae
Michelle is the Chief Nurse and Director of Allied Health Professionals at Whittington Health NHS Trust, and is known across her sector for championing diversity and inclusion. During the pandemic, Michelle was reasoned voice amongst the clamour of noise, giving people strength and clarity when it was needed.
Winner – International Alumnus
Since graduating in 2017, Hamid has joined visual effects studio Moving Picture Company, and co-founded his entertainment company, Kugali. Kugali is a leading augmented reality experience creator, telling stories inspired by African culture, and has recently joined forces with Walt Disney Animation Studios to create a first-of-its kind series titled
Diversity and Inclusion Award
Over the past two years, Ian has taken the lead in changing attitudes and encouraging debate within Estates. He is not afraid to call out behaviour that is not inclusive and works hard to ensure make Equality Diversity and Inclusion is taken seriously by all and is a key priority on everyone’s agenda.
Carrie Ricketts and Dr Samantha Rolfe
Both Carrie and Sam have demonstrated an enduring dedication and drive to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity over many years. Their approach of engaging others in discussion and debate, speaking passionately about issues, and providing 1-2-1 support have led to considerable improvements in the way we think and embrace diversity and equal
Debbie is an active member of the Human Resources Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team, actively promoting EDI objectives and principles within the department. She is also a volunteer Dignity Respect Advisor for the University, providing confidential guidance and help to support others.
Living the Values Award 2021
The ultimate accolade of the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards is the Living the Values award.
This award celebrates an individual member of staff who is the epitome of our University values. Judged by the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive group, nominees will fully embrace the University values in all aspects of their role.
While Diana seeks out new ways to be entrepreneurial and student focussed, it is her friendliness and collegiality are her real strengths. She is never too busy to catch up with colleagues, she remembers the small details about their work and home lives and always thanks them for their contributions.
As the hospitality industry was decimated by the pandemic Simon’s ingenuity and ambitious nature kept his team busy and engaged with the local community, arranging apple crumbles for a local hospice and creating a student food box service to help those isolating on campus.
Dr Stéphane Farenga
Always welcoming, friendly and supportive Stéphane makes a point of putting everyone at ease. He continually offers creative ideas, always striving to enhance the student experience. He is one of the most trusted members of Law School staff for professional, working advice.
Outstanding Community Contribution Award
Office of the Dean of Students
From the moment the University campuses started to close and staff began working from home the team in the Office of the Dean of Students have shown enormous strength, humour and humility during an overwhelmingly challenging time. They work with our most at-risk students, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They continuously put our students’ wellbeing first, never faltering in their support.