Higher Education Academy Chief Praises University's Inclusivity Focus

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The Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Professor Stephanie Marshall, has praised the ‘wonderful’ sense of community and focus on inclusivity at the University of Worcester.

Professor Marshall, who heads up the independent organisation which champions excellent teaching and learning in higher education, visited the University last week, and was shown around facilities such as The Hive, the University of Worcester Arena at the St John’s Campus accompanied by the University’s Director of Quality and Education Development, Dr Marie Stowell.

She also met with members of staff, University Teaching Fellows and Student Academic Representatives (StARs) to discuss key issues around the University and higher education.

After her tour of The Hive, Professor Marshall said: “I had certain expectations before I came to Worcester; I was well aware of The Hive, having read about it, but it has really exceeded my expectations. I was so impressed by the space, the architecture and the feel of the building.

“I had heard all about parents with and small children intermingling with students, and you do have that wonderful sense of community there, as well as the ability to capture the enthusiasm of small children  who look around and think ‘I want to be a student’.”

Professor Marshall also visited the University Arena, Britain’s first fully inclusive indoor sporting facility, and met with a team of young disabled basketball players before praising the University for promoting ‘inclusivity in its widest form’.

She added: “I feel inspired – you can see how committed and passionate people are about what they are doing here; Worcester has achieved an awful lot.”

Dr Stowell added: “Professor Marshall’s visit to the University gave us the opportunity to show her not only the fantastic facilities of The Hive and the University Arena, but also how these are being used by colleagues to take forward innovative initiatives in widening participation, student retention, and learning and teaching – all of which are priorities for the HEA.

“She was also able to hold a very productive discussion with students and staff over lunch, and is keen that the University is involved in further partnership work with the HEA.”