As the University of Worcester prepares for its first Open Day since lockdown began, it can announce that it has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award recognising its work to make open days more accessible.
The University is a finalist for the Guardian University Awards in the Widening Access and Outreach category. The Guardian University Awards recognise some of the very best work taking place in universities across the UK and winners will be announced later this year.
Professor David Green CBE, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The University of Worcester has a long-held commitment to welcome, support, and engage students with a broad range of backgrounds and has consistently proved itself to be one of the fairest and most inclusive universities in the UK. This award highlights the innovative work we have done to ensure that our Open Days are as accessible as possible and that anyone who wants to study at the University has every opportunity to do so.”
The University, which is in the top 10 nationally for student satisfaction, for English non-specialist institutions, and for sustained employment after graduation, looked at a variety of ways to improve access to Open Days, aiming to support, in particular, potential students from areas of greater social deprivation, mature learners and students with a disability.
Building on existing support, the University provided transport from local colleges and developed a pilot project, working with West Midlands Trains and First Bus, to introduce free or significantly reduced fares, for prospective students attending an Open Day.
Open Day Roadshows put on by the University in a number of regional locations, recreating where possible a normal Open Day, allowed people to find out more about studying at the University and experience the event on their doorstep without the cost or inconvenience of travelling.
The University also expanded its on-campus Open Days to include impartial advice to all university applicants, including help with personal statements and free dyslexia screenings.
The University is hosting its next Open Day on Sunday, June 28. The current situation has meant the University has had to review its delivery while ensuring its inclusive approach to events is continued. The event will include virtual course talks, live virtual question and answer sessions, 360-degree tours and videos. The University will also operate careful, socially distanced, outdoor, self-guided campus tours at its St John’s campus, as well as accommodation viewings, to ensure students have the best opportunity to make the right decision about where they wish to study.
“We know how important open days are for prospective students in deciding whether a particular university is the right place for them,” said Professor Green. “Our decision to offer some in-person tours reflects our commitment to ensuring those students wanting to visit can do so, in order to help them make that importance decision. Of course we will be very carefully managing numbers and social distancing on campus.”