University wins THELMA award for Outstanding Leadership & Management

Swansea University has beaten off tough competition to win the prestigious Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMA) for its Outstanding Leadership and Management work.

The annual THELMA awards showcase and celebrate the best examples of professional services innovation, teamwork and enterprise underpinning university achievements.

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The citation for Swansea University's winning entry outlined the reasons for its success:  

"Improvements in research quality, undergraduate enrolments and the successful opening of a £450 million second campus earned Swansea University the award for Outstanding Leadership and Management Team.

Swansea placed emphasis on building a “better managed” institution, underpinned by the introduction of the Swansea University Leadership Model, which recognises that successful outcomes are achieved through people and enabled through leaders who are self-aware and values driven.

The new model included a focus on improving student experience and employability while a vision of becoming a top-30 institution for research excellence was achieved three years early.

A new management approach to the research excellence framework 2014 brought about a cultural shift in the university’s attitude to the research agenda, seeing the institution achieve the largest growth in quality-related funding in Wales and the third largest of all research intensive universities in the UK.

Swansea also became only the second university in the UK to achieve corporate accreditation from the Association for Project Management.

Engineering Central street entrance with reflection of Tower Information CeThe £450 million Bay Science and Innovation Campus (pictured), supported by the European Investment Bank, was delivered on time and on budget. It was the largest infrastructure challenge in the university’s history to date, and will transform not just the university but also the derelict industrial site where it was built.

‌‌The judges said: “Swansea’s decision to embed a strong and consistently applied project management approach and skills across the institution, combined with a shared leadership approach to engagement, evidences a strong commitment to both engagement and implementation.

Tackling management processes alongside leadership development has paid dividends in delivery of the strategic plans, campus development and local regeneration.”

Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice Chancellor at Swansea University, said:

“Winning this highly prestigious award adds further recognition to Swansea University’s successes and meteoric rise over the last 10 years. This is a testament to the vision and leadership of our senior management teams right across the University and the dedication of all staff in delivering these achievements.

We can truly demonstrate that Swansea University is a successful international university with top quality teaching and research.”

600 x 476Picture: flow structure downstream of a wave turbine, generating renewable energy. Research by the Marine Renewable Research Group.  Credit: Rami Malki.  

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice Chancellor at Swansea University, said of Swansea's shortlisting in the awards: 

“I am delighted the THELMA awards have shortlisted Swansea University, recognising we have achieved exceptional and unparalleled success in leadership and management.  

We have simultaneously improved the quality of our research, student satisfaction, and graduate employability, and delivered the new £450m Bay Campus, which co-locates academia and industry partners, fostering collaborative research and helping to improve the regional economy.

This shortlisting follows other recent awards success for Advancing Staff Equality in the Guardian University Awards 2016; ranking 36th in Stonewall’s Top 100 inclusive employers in Britain and being shortlisted in nine out of ten categories for WhatUni’s Student Choice Awards including the Overall Best University category which we won in 2014.”

Swansea University has also:

  • Been placed as the 26th university (up from 52nd) in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014).
  • Achieved 5-Stars for excellence in the global QS Stars quality assessment, placing the University amongst other world-leading institutions such as Harvard and Oxford.
  • Achieved a top 400 rank in both the Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings in 2015.
  • Won the 2016 Guardian Higher Education Award for its impact on improving staff equality and diversity. 
  • Been shortlisted in the Overall Best University category of the WhatUni awards once again this year, having won it in 2014, as well as in eight other categories.
  • Been chosen to host the 2016 British Science Festival, a vibrant celebration of science, engineering and technology, which will shine the international spotlight on Swansea’s world-leading research.