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Celebrating the People That Make a Difference: STAR Awards 2023

Updated: May 19

This year’s STAR Awards topped all expectations, with every person turning up ready to support and celebrate each other.

The energy was high at the STAR Awards 2023, as staff filled the room ready to celebrate a year of incredible work at the university. Each person that works at UWL shares the collective goal to make students’ experience the very best it can be. Academic and support staff alike, every department should truly be proud of the difference they are able to make. At UWLSU, we are honoured to be able to put on an event to celebrate the fantastic people that put in the hours to make this institution what it is.

Every year, we collect nominations from students all over the university, who have felt supported by their lecturers and support staff that have helped them through their journey. A record number of 881 nominations were made and the things that were said within them were incredible. It’s obvious how big of an impact staff make on students’ lives.

The night kicked off with our hosts, Lewis and Maisie, and it was clear that it was going to be an enthusiastic and exciting evening. The crowd was the loudest we’ve had so far, and it filled us with joy to see everyone enjoying themselves! Before the awards were announced, we heard a few words from Sara Raybould, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience). She expressed how thankful she is for the hard work put in by all the staff and how much of a difference it can make for students:

“Every single person, whether they’re in front of the students on a daily basis or back office; the work that you do makes a difference. Many of our students are actually aspiring to do your job, so every time you meet a student, every time you walk past them in the corridor and bother to say hello, bother to check that they’re okay, bother to take them to where they need to be, you’re actually making a life changing activity at that point, and I don’t think we always realise it.” - Sara Raybould, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience)

The awards were the main event and the guests really showed up when it came to celebrating their colleagues. You could feel the appreciation between everyone in the room; we hope everyone left feeling proud of themselves. The 12 lucky winners were all gracious in their acceptance speeches, here’s some highlights from what they said...

“My job is not a job, it’s a passion, my students make it my job to keep them engage; they keep me engaged, actually. So, this award is for my amazing students and also to the School of Biomedical Sciences.” - Dr Bernadine Idowu, SBMS Lecturer of the Year

“I just want to say thank you to my students. It’s an honour to nurse and it’s also an honour to teach, so to put the two things together is the best job in the world.” - Scott Elbourne, CNMH Lecturer of the Year

“Thank you to the students! This is a huge honour, I’ve not been here very long, and the students are so engaged and so dedicated to what they do and that’s because of the university that they’re at and I think that’s such a testament to UWL itself.” - Emma Stiles, Most Inclusive Staff Member of the Year

Some of the winners unfortunately couldn’t attend the event and their presence was missed. Alison Griffin accepted the award for the Support Staff of the Year on behalf of Sam Ratzer, the incredible winner. She had some heartwarming things to say about Sam:

“I think all of you probably not only know him well, but he’ll know everything about every single one of you. I have a wonderful team, but I’ve never seen anyone go above and beyond in the way that same does, so I just want to second how proud I am that he’s won this.” - Alison Griffin, Head of Study Support

And the STAR Awards 2023 are complete! UWLSU want to say a huge thank you to every single person in the university who work so hard at what they do to really make a difference to students’ experience in education. University is so much more than an education and we see firsthand just how much the help they get means to them.

See the full list of winners below:

Check out some memories from the night...



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