Argyll College UHI scoops prestigious annual awards
Two of the top accolades in the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association’s (HISA) annual awards scheme have been won by Argyll College UHI representatives.
Mo Mckenna and Judi Worthington, who run the College’s Arran Centre, were named ‘Best Support Staff’ and Dunoon student Scott Anderson won the ‘Best Engagement with the Student Voice – Student’ category.
A further three staff members were Highly Commended in this year’s honours, which are open to nominations from all 13 different Colleges and research institutions which make up the University of the Highlands and Islands.
The announcement was welcomed by Argyll College UHI Principal Fraser Durie, who was very impressed by both the number and standard of nominations from across the area.
“It is wonderful that our students felt strongly enough about the fantastic job many of our staff and student representatives do that they took the time to nominate them for these prestigious awards,” he added.
“The Argyll College UHI nominees were up against high quality competition from an area stretching from Shetland to Elgin to Perth, so to come out with two awards and three commendations is brilliant.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our winners in particular, but also all other nominees and other staff who together work so hard to ensure Argyll College UHI provides the best educational experience it possibly can.”
Mo and Judi, the Arran centre manager and assistant centre manager respectively, were nominated by a student who said although there were only two of them, they ‘provide the support, encouragement and advice of a team of 100’.
“They are always so happy, enthusiastic and positive and work together so hard as a team to make our lives at college as smooth as possible,” the student added.
“The pair of them are true stars and it’s fantastic that they’ve been recognised for all they have done for me and every other Arran student. They truly deserve it.”
Mo said she and Judi were both ‘stunned and absolutely delighted’ to have received the award.
“Supporting students through good times and bad can be one of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, parts of our job. I know how hard all staff in University of the Highlands and Islands work to support students, so to win this is just amazing,” she added.
Scott Anderson, won the Best Engagement with the Student Voice category, and is no stranger to awards last year having won the Best Class Representative accolade in the same scheme.
Scott spent 20 years in the catering industry before embarking on life as a student, and now juggles his studies with helping to look after his three children.
The student who nominated him states he has “worked tirelessly ….. always trying to engage with students across our network. He has made every effort to hear what students are saying and to act on their feedback. He has gone above and beyond in his role and his dedication should not go unnoticed.”
Scott said: ““I am genuinely shocked, honoured and humbled that people went out of their way to nominate me again! I’m really grateful to the students of Argyll College UHI and to HISA for giving me these opportunities and experiences that I have enjoyed so much over the last year.”
The three Argyll College UHI nominees who were Highly Commended were Campbeltown’s Kerry McGeachy in the Most Inspiring Lecturer category, and Morag Nimmo from Dunoon and Dawn Miller from Campbeltown, both in the Most Engaging Video Conference Tutor category.
The University of the Highlands and Islands was one of the first UK institutions to introduce student-led teaching awards. The initiative, now in its eighth year, recognises excellence in 14 categories, with winners coming from around the university partnership.
Dr Iain Morrison, dean of students at the university, said: “You cannot fool a student: they know high quality learning and teaching and great student support when they see it. The fact that there was a record number of nominations, covering every part of the university, suggests that our staff continue to provide excellent teaching and support for the people whose feedback they care about most, their students. The student testimony from these awards is genuinely moving at times and anyone considering studying with us can be assured they will be in good hands.”
Holly Scrimgeour, president of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, said: “The HISA Awards are an excellent opportunity for our students to celebrate the people who have supported them throughout their studies and reward them for their efforts and contributions to university life.
“Our lecturers and support staff are vital to the student experience during study and these awards allow us an insight into who is going above and beyond to positively benefit our student population.
“The nominations are a delight to read. The HISA Awards also acknowledge our class representatives and clubs and societies ensuring that we celebrate those students who give their time and support to their classmates. It is an honour to give these awards.”
For more information on Argyll College UHI, an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, go to https:// www.argyll.uhi.ac.uk/ Scott Anderson and Luke Humberstone