2020 has not been the year many of us expected (to say the least!) but with 2021 just around the corner and still a bit of uncertainty as to what next year will bring, we think it’s important to reflect on the positives of this year and remember everything you’ve achieved, no matter how big or small! Of course, we want to get in on the action too, so we’re reflecting on the year we’ve had and celebrating some of our RGU’s top 20 of 2020.
Let’s begin RGU’s top 20 of 2020, in no particular order…
1. Scottish University Of the Year
We are absolutely delighted to have been named the Scottish University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. We were awarded this accolade for performing well in teaching quality, student satisfaction, graduate employability, and industry engagement. Go RGU, definitely one of our top 20 of 2020!
2. Business School of the Year
Another fantastic accolade for us this year was our Aberdeen Business School being recognised for its business-connected learning, teaching and the innovative approaches of its staff. It was announced as the Business School of the Year at the Times Higher Education 2020 Awards in November this year.
3. Shortlisted for hat-trick of THE awards
We are so proud of everyone who makes RGU what it is, and being shortlisted for a hat-trick of the Times Higher Education Awards is a true testament to our hard-working staff. RGU were nominated for Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year, Business School of the Year (which we won!), and Innovative Teacher of the Year. It’s certainly something to be shouted about!
4. Top Modern University in Scotland
Alongside our other accolades, we have also been ranked as the Top Modern University in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2021.
5. First university in Scotland to offer SIE accreditation
The RGU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG) had a great year in 2019 and they just keep going from strength to strength. Leading the way in producing innovative thinking students, RGU became the first university in Scotland to be awarded Scottish Innovative Student Award (SISA) self-accreditation status from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE). This means that academic staff can identify innovative teaching and skills development practices within their own academic module framework.
The EIG Group is looking for applicants for its next cohort of the Innovation Accelerator. Have you got an innovative idea which could solve global problems? Or do you want to launch impactful new ventures? Apply now.
6. Virtual graduation ceremonies
You can’t spend years studying for your degree and not have a graduation ceremony. However, Covid-19 had other plans and put a halt to the usual graduation proceedings for this year. That didn’t stop us putting on a virtual ceremony for everyone to enjoy and bask in their success though. With over 2500 people tuning in to watch the ceremonies, we hope you all managed to have a fantastic day and celebrate virtually with your friends and family.
7. Appointing a new Principal and Vice Chancellor
In September, we welcomed our new Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Steve Olivier to the University. Succeeding our previous Principal, Professor John Harper upon his retirement after 47 years’ service to RGU, Professor Olivier brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the higher education sector.
8. Halloween safety pumpkin mask message
We have some seriously dedicated employees here at RGU that want to help bring you important information, but in a fun way. Check out our Halloween pumpkin taking social distancing measures seriously in order to keep friends and family safe! Our Halloween Pumpkin was a hit on our social channels, follow us for more like this!
9. Awarded £1.3 million in funding for fashion heritage research
We love multi-disciplinary working at RGU and we are so lucky to have a research team from the University working with Shanghai academics and industry partners in Scotland, to educate consumers about the sustainability, craftsmanship, heritage, and value of traditional fashion and textile products. The project that received the £1.3million in funding is called “Augmented Fashion: Immersive Interactions for Sustainable Heritage in Fashion and Textiles”. Find out more on the following website.
10. Your off campus dissertation hand in photo creativity
You guys never fail to inspire and amaze us with your creativity, making this one of our top 20 of 2020. Not being able to have the usual dissertation hand in celebrations did not stop some of you going all out anyway. Huge congratulations to everyone who submitted their dissertations this year, check out some of our favourite hand in pics below.
11. RGU alumnus Ivor Ferguson gifts £10,000 to widen access to higher education
We are so lucky to have such an incredible alumni community here at RGU and one of our extremely generous alumnus, Ivor Ferguson, donated £10,000 to the University to provide access to higher education for traditionally under-represented students. Thank you, Ivor!
12. Award winning response to pandemic teaching challenges
Covid-19 has thrown everyone this year, but we have some exceptional staff members who responded to the pandemic in such a way that won them an award. RGU won the Imaginative Educator Awards’ team category for planning and delivering multiple programmes during the pandemic which prepare students for the future needs of industry and the economy by developing their entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and mindsets.
13. Gray’s Degree Show goes virtual for 2020
Not wanting to miss a beat and prevent the talented students from our Gray’s School of Art showcasing their work, a partnership between Gray’s School of Art, Look Again and independent design agency, Design and Code, was established to work collaboratively with the graduating students of 2020 to create a Virtual Degree Show. This entirely new online space allowed graduates to showcase the breadth of their creative work and also allowed the viewer to engage with each student’s unique practice.
14. RGU hosted virtual architecture exhibition with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Pier Arts Centre
Our graduates really do stand out! A virtual exhibition called “Drawn North” was the culmination of three years’ work by our Architecture students to reimagine waterfront areas in Aberdeen and Orkney. The virtual exhibition in a collaboration with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums (AAGM) and Pier Arts Centre in Orkney took place in July of this year. You can view the exhibition on the Drawn North website.
15. Imagine video
The RGU community came together at the beginning of lockdown to try and put a smile on people’s faces and bring some positivity to your social feeds. Staff members from across the University were inspired by the viral celebrity video of Imagine and decided to put their own spin on it. There was no doubt that this had to make our top 20 of 2020 list.
Watch ‘Imagine’ on RGU’s Instagram.
16. Honorary graduation ceremony
One of our own was awarded an honorary degree in March of this year for his contribution to transforming young people’s lives through sport. Alongside Scottish classical violinist, Nicola Benedetti, Mark Williams, the Chief Operating Officer of Streetsport, was celebrated in an honorary graduation ceremony for their ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for young people, promoting inclusion and encouraging participation. Congratulations Mark and Nicola!
17. Elf and Wellbeing Nursing course
It’s snow-joke, you might have heard about our brand-new course we launched in December. BSc (Hons) Elf and Wellbeing Nursing is a degree that will provide you with the skills and knowledge for a life-affirming career supporting the distribution of joy and cheer!
18. RGU staff and students respond to the NHS call for support to fight COVID-19
We are so proud of our staff and students who bravely volunteered to support the emergency response through the pandemic. Many of our nurses, midwives, social workers and allied health professionals stepped up in a host of different ways to support the NHS, care homes and support services in their fight against Covid-19. Thank you to everyone who has provided support at this time.
19. RGU launches free short courses in response to the economic impact of COVID-19
To deal with the economic challenges of Covid-19, RGU launched a portfolio of free short courses to support individuals and workforces across Scotland, giving them the opportunity to strengthen businesses and provide people with skills development opportunities. These courses were so well received that the number of places available per course was increased by 300%.
20. We joined TikTok!
Last of our top 20 of 2020, but certainly not least, this year we joined TikTok. Come over and join us for some super fun and informative content and tag your campus videos on TikTok with #RGU.
As you can see, it’s been quite the year for us at RGU, despite the challenges we’ve all faced. We hope you enjoyed our top 20 of 2020. We’re already looking forward to seeing what’s to come next year.
RGU wishes you all the best for 2021!