Posted 23 December 2013
The year started with a bang for Harper Adams, with the news that it was to become Shropshire’s first university.
The following 12-months have continued in this vein, with a host of influential visitors and important events on campus.
Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, said: “We were able to start 2013 on a real high, thanks to being awarded full university title in December 2012.
“Since then, it has been a year of firsts, including our first graduation ceremony as a university and welcoming our new intake and returning students to a new university academic year.
“In November, we installed HRH The Princess Royal as our Chancellor. This momentous occasion took place in St Peters’ Church, Edgmond and was followed followed by a reception for students and staff on campus.”
Back in January, it was announced that Harper Adams Governor, Christine Tacon, was to take on the role of the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator. Ms Tacon, who was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004, is now responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets ?and the farming sector.
Around £225,000 was awarded to students in February at the annual Harper Adams University Development Trust Scholarship Presentation. During the same month, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Owen Paterson, also visited the university to meet with students.
Dr Llewellyn added: “We welcomed a host of visitors to the campus over the year, many from industry keen to work with us to recruit graduates or collaborate in research.
“In November, for example, we saw around 120 compnaies on campus as part of our student placement and graduate careers fairs, underpinning our strong performance in graduate employment in the higher education sector.”
The start of the year saw the announcement of £6m of investment into campus facilities – amongst them an additional teaching block, an agricultural engineering building which accommodates and supports the National Centre for Precision Farming, and a Veterinary Services Centre.
Dr Llewellyn added, “Students are at the heart of what we do, and as always, they have shown themselves to be extremely successful both academically and in other activities.
“In February, two of our students won first and second place in the European ‘Farming by Satellite’ competition, and travelled to Paris to be awarded their prizes.
“In May, three students won an all-expenses paid trip to Bulgaria with their nutrient recycling idea, and in June, Harper Adams Student, Jocelyn Orr, was named Farmers Guardian Agricultural Student of the Year.
“We are extremely proud of the achievements of all of our students.”
This success soon spread from the students to the staff, with Grounds Manager, Mark Hall, named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June, and receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM) in November.
August saw the announcement that Harper Adams remains one of the UK’s leading universities for its educational provision – the National Student Survey (NSS) showed that 90 per cent of students were satisfied with the quality of their course.
This was followed by another first for Harper Adams – a live web-stream of the graduation ceremony onto the university’s website.
Dr Llewellyn, said: “Graduation is one of the most important events of the year for our students, and as the first one as a full university, we wanted to celebrate that fact.
“By streaming the ceremony to our website we were able to share the event with friends and relatives who were unable to unable to attend, and we know that the ceremony was watched from as far afield as China and Australia.”
October, one of the busiest months on campus, lived up to its reputation. For the first time, the university engaged in World Food Day to raise funds for Self Help Africa. Harper Adams was also highlighted as a national example of good practice in the university sector by the Fairtrade Foundation when it was re-accredited as a Fairtrade institution.
This was followed by an equally busy November. Dr Llewellyn, added: “We were delighted to work alongside West Midlands universities to host a road-show to introduce primary school children to university life.
“Year five pupils from Telford, Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford took part in learning sessions organised by ourselves, Keele University, Staffordshire University and the University of Wolverhampton.
“We have made a commitment to increase out widening participation activities and hope this initiative will be built upon during the next year.
“The past year has proved to be enormously successful for Harper Adams and we are very much looking forward to what 2014 will bring.”