Skip to content

How does the School of Social Science make a difference beyond the university?

Recognising and celebrating the work our colleagues do to enhance practice in all its forms

Campus shot aerial

In December last year we were asked to consider who was making a difference in the field of practice in our School.

Nominees for this award will be assessed against three criteria: Excellence, Engagement and Impact. Collectively these represent the important facets of excellent practice-led achievement by academics.

VC’s Outstanding Practice Award focus

Many of our colleagues aren’t interested in blowing their own bugles so this process of nomination allows others to come forward and suggest their peers.

At Nottingham Civic Exchange we work with colleagues from all three of our academic pathways and we are always willing to help promote and support their efforts across teaching, research and practice. They all deliver valuable and innovative work that makes a difference to a wide variety of people and communities. The practice pathway is inherently focused beyond NTU collaborating with others who design, deliver and measure services, projects and interventions with various individuals, groups or communities.

The examples shared here are the tip of the iceberg, but they highlight the way we engage with current events and issues that aim to make a tangible difference to our world. Our nominated colleagues bring their topic expertise and broader skills to bear on pressing societal issues. They wish to thank all their colleagues and organisational partners for their commitment to the areas in question and recognise that they work together with them all.

Across the four examples there are several common themes which we wanted to highlight:

  • Using research and expertise to inform changes to the way things are done
  • Ability to tackle sensitive issues and find creative solutions to them whilst navigating and working across multiple professional languages and cultures
  • The need to support others to grow and develop to achieve mutual aims
  • Ways to extend and enhance what is currently working and to find solutions when it is not
  • How to showcase the skills to lead and draw people to challenges whilst hosting space for debate and action

Our nominated colleagues worked across three topics where they have brought their academic skills into play to inform practice. Firstly, we have Rowena Hill who has spent the last 10 months supporting the national effort tackling Covid-19 on a full-time secondment. As part of the C19 National Foresight Group, a cross-government and multi-agency foresight group, she has provided 50 publicly shared reports and briefings (with much still marked official: sensitive) to inform Local Resilience Forum, Local Authority and government department work on a wide range of topics. She has translated academic evidence for diverse audiences as well as managing a range of projects from inception to delivery which have altered practice and challenged assumptions all with rapid timetables. This secondment occurred because of her track record in the disaster and emergency response community where her academic background was matched with her ability to find practical solutions to pressing challenges at both a practical and policy level.

The second team, Belinda Winder and Nicholas Blagden, have worked in and around probation and prisons for many years in a highly sensitive field. They bring their expertise of the policy and practice ecosystem to support projects on a wide range of areas from the voluntary use of medication in prisons, the use of novel treatment approaches and prison design and the successful delivery of an award winning social enterprise. They have been able to bring their experiences to both their research and teaching roles and inspire students by highlighting the practical difference forensic psychology research can have on people supporting them to live safe and meaningful lives.

The final two colleagues put forward for nomination work in the social work field and have made a difference at a national and regional level. Angie Bartoli has been the Vice Chair of the British Association of Social Work where she has supported and represented the profession at the highest levels and been a critical voice in the development of CPD for Social Workers in times of disasters. Angie has brought her academic expertise to this area clearly connecting those with lived experience with practitioners, academics and political leaders to move the conversation forward. Alongside this work in a disaster and emergency context Angie has also been shaping further training programmes that support social workers to transition into successful line managers through the Practice Supervisor Development Programme.

Chris Durkin, our final colleague nominated, has been the Project Manager for the D2N2 Social Work Partnership since 2017. This innovative partnership between three universities, four Local Authorities and several other partners has supported social workers to fully develop into qualified professionals. Through his work Chris has supported the partnership to continue beyond its funding in 2019 and has helped to create a virtual Health and Wellbeing Hub to support all partners and students during the pandemic. Alongside his work managing the project Chris has also built on his social enterprise expertise to develop a sustainable Trauma Centre in Nottingham that connects expertise from both of our universities to offer a crucial service across the city.

These nominations highlight a commitment to influence local and national policy, inform learning across academia, practitioners, and learners and ensure that a positive difference is made. They highlight the work we do across the School of Social Sciences to make a difference. Working together with partners in a broad range of fields we bridge divides and ensure that research, practical action and learning are utilised effectively across society in a mutually beneficial.

If you have a story to share about the difference you are making within the School of Social Science or want to find out more about the projects mentioned here please contact the Nottingham Civic Exchange which acts as the Schools Think Tank to develop meaningful ways for our Schools expertise to make a difference in the world.

The School of Social Science Practice Pathway Panel

The Panel supports colleagues on the Practice Pathway from across the School across six priority areas to grow and develop. The priorities are to:

  • Enhance the profile and practice pathway structures within the School and wider University
  • Invest in research-in-practice and impact development
  • Invest resources in the development and expansion pf professionally based and CPD courses
  • Invest in and develop practice staff to support the School and University strategic aims and individual career development
  • Increase our influence in developing policy and practice through consultancy, reputation building and external engagement, both in the UK and Internationally

To find out more contact Mike Marriott

Nottingham Civic Exchange

Nottingham Civic Exchange has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. Nottingham Civic Exchange acts as a resource to look at social and economic issues in new ways. This means facilitating debate, acting as a bridge between research and policy debates, and developing practical projects at a local, city and regional level.

Visit our website - Contact us - Follow us - @NottsCivicEx

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418