Leeds Trinity University based in Horsforth has won a prestigious WhatUni student choice award for the 2020/21 academic year, placing first for excellence in the diversity and inclusion category in a stiff competition that saw them edge Swansea University and Newcastle University into second and third place respectively.
What is WhatUni and the student choice awards?
WhatUni, founded in 2007, was set up as an alternative university course comparison and ranking site. Partnering up with IDP Connect and its parent company IDP Education, WhatUni, through student community engagement and honest reviews, helps prospective students to find the right course and university for them. Their official motto is to seek to place students at the heart of everything they do, with an advisory board of students helping to deliver what students want.
The student choice annual awards – taking place for the 8th time – are awarded to universities to highlight the work done to support their students. The awards celebrate resilience, innovation and diversity within higher education. Uniquely, the nominees and winners are selected and judged by a student-chosen panel made up of prospective and current university students.
The student choice award categories include: diversity and inclusion, enhanced graduate outcomes, excellence in digital innovation and student support. You can read about the universities that were nominated for each category on the IDP Connect website.
Why did Leeds Trinity University win?
It was a tight-run race with stiff competition between the three universities. Leeds Trinity triumphed in the ‘diversity and inclusion’ category, after impressing the judges with initiatives that included the introduction of a compulsory module on race equality for all first-years, as well as the establishment of safe spaces for students to discuss issues related to discrimination and inequality.
The university prides itself on its comprehensive equality, diversity and inclusions policies and strategies with the core aim being:
“To create an enriched environment based on dignity and respect, in which diversity of culture, heritage and background is positively embraced at all levels and which helps us all to thrive and to realise our full potential.”
Responses to the announcement
Following the announcement, Professor Malcolm Todd, who was appointed deputy vice-chancellor in March of this year and has a passion for social mobility and equality of opportunity within higher education, issued this statement:
“We are incredibly proud to have won the diversity and inclusion category at the 2021 WhatUni Student Choice Awards. Now more than ever, we recognise the importance of providing a supportive, nurturing, and inclusive community to enable our students to develop and thrive, and to receive this award is humbling.
“This award recognises the hard work and care of our academic and professional services staff, and the bursary will enable us to provide further financial support to our students as we continue to progress important work and cultural change in equality, diversity and inclusion.”
“The past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for universities and their students, and the WhatUni Student Choice Awards are a chance to recognise those institutions who have excelled in supporting their students even in the face of a global pandemic. This year has thrown up some real surprises, with some smaller institutions winning across all categories.
“Leeds Trinity University’s commitment to championing diversity and inclusion with creative programmes and campaigns – despite the challenges of Covid-19 – make them worthy winners of the diversity and inclusion category at this year’s awards.”
To find out all the winners and the runners-ups for each of the categories, you can visit the WhatUni website.
Each winning institution in their respective category will receive £10,000 to be awarded to five eligible students as WhatUni bursaries in 2021/22 (£2,000 each).