Cardiff Metropolitan University has been awarded the highly prestigious title of University of the Year 2021 by the Times Higher Education.
Now in their 17th year, the Times Higher Education Awards are a highlight of the academic calendar and a celebration of the very best within the Higher Education sector in the UK and Ireland.
The award recognises Cardiff Met’s achievements throughout the 2019/20 academic year and the ways in which the University has established itself as a progressive values-driven university with an excellent student experience, staff culture and impactful research and innovation. The compassionate leadership and proactive approach to managing the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic were also highlighted as features of Cardiff Met’s outstanding performance. The University’s recent success is evidenced by a track record and trajectory of growth, diversification and improvement, supported by sustainable finances, with Cardiff Met deemed to be the most financially sustainable university in Wales by the Wales Governance Centre in 2020.
Speaking about this outstanding achievement, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Professor Cara Aitchison said: “The entire Cardiff Met community is absolutely delighted to have won what is widely regarded as one of the most significant awards in the UK Higher Education sector.
“This award recognises and rewards the values-driven character of our university and the significant improvements across all areas of performance in recent years.
“Winning this national award has put Cardiff Met on the map of high calibre UK universities and builds upon our recent success in major league tables and the award of the title of Welsh University of the Year 2021 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.
“I wish to thank every single member of staff for the part they have played in creating a resilient, ambitious and high achieving global university.”
Chair of the Board of Governors, John Taylor added: “This is a remarkable achievement which follows in the footsteps of a number of notable successes this year.
“I wish to echo the Vice-Chancellor by thanking all members of staff for their continued dedication and, of course, the students whose commitment to learning has remained constant throughout these challenging times.”
The University, under the leadership of Professor Cara Aitchison, has worked towards seven bold priorities which were set out in a strategic plan in 2016/17 and refreshed in 2019/20 in response to the pandemic.
These priorities have focused on addressing student demand and industry need by establishing Cardiff School of Technologies in partnership with business to support the growing number of digital and technology companies clustering in the Cardiff Capital Region. In 2020 the University also launched three Global Academies to develop inter-disciplinary, international and impactful research and postgraduate education to address some of the most entrenched challenges affecting us locally, nationally and internationally. Global Academies for Health and Human Performance; Food Science, Safety and Security; and Human Centred Design bring together strengths in education, research and innovation to deliver improvements to the economy, environment and individual and societal health and wellbeing.
The award also recognises how overall student satisfaction improved from three per cent below average in the 2015/16 National Student Survey to two per cent above average in 2019/20. With students benefitting from the Cardiff Met EDGE to the curricula, with its focus on Ethical, Digital, Global and Entrepreneurial skills and experiences, the University also entered the top 40 in 2019/20.
In addition to improving the experience and outcomes for students, Cardiff Met has delivered cultural change by prioritising health, wellbeing, equality and diversity as evidenced in the 2020 Capita staff survey results that showed that 96 per cent of staff agreed that Cardiff Met is a good place to work – against a sector average of 87 per cent.