9 September 2014 - 12:00 pm

We did it!

The morning after the night before…

…or, more precisely, the week after the week before – in which, as some of the USE Team travelled up for three days of enterprise education best practice sharing, discussion and networking (and a bit of dancing) in Newcastle, we were also crossing fingers (crossing everything, in fact) in the hope of the University of Sheffield Enterprise Academy (USEA) bringing a National Enterprise Educator Award (NEEA) home to the Steel City.

The winners of the Awards, run by Enterprise Educators UK and the National Centre for Entrepreneurship Education, were announced on Thursday 4 September at the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference 2014 Gala Dinner and, after filling up on a delicious meal at Newcastle’s Civic Centre, we eagerly awaited the news.

USE Team NEEA Celebration

The USEA team (sans Maria) celebrating with our USE colleagues, and friends from Loughborough University. Liz can’t bear to look.

“And the winner in the Higher Education Educators’ category, sponsored by the Higher Education Academy, is…(dramatic pause)…The University of Sheffield Enterprise Academy!”

For a brief moment, we thought we had misheard. But no, ’twas true. We really are Higher Education Enterprise Educators of the Year 2014! So it was up onstage to collect the award, and then photo calls, and congratulations from colleagues and our many enterprise educator friends.  And then, celebrations! We danced. And danced. And danced. After all, if you can’t dance (and have the odd drink) in celebration of winning a national award, when can you?

And so, after all the highs of last week, it’s back down to earth, and back down to the business of continuing to do what we do. But first, a few words of acknowledgement.

There are so many people without whom this Award would not have been ours. We work as part of a fantastic, supportive, energising team, delivering enterprising learning opportunities both within your modules and through the many extracurricular activities you can read about on this website.

We’re lucky to work in a University that welcomes and promotes learning and teaching innovation; that – top down and bottom up – is openly supportive of enterprise education and of the work of the USEA team.

There’s also a culture, in Sheffield, of being a little bit maverick; a little bit ‘out there’. There’s more than just a little bit of intrapreneurship going on amongst some of our academic and teaching colleagues. And there are times when this makes our job a little easier.

The University of Sheffield has been ‘doing’ enterprise for many years now, and this Award is a culmination of the work we’ve been doing across all Faculties in supporting academics to embed enterprise capabilities in the curriculum. We believe that what we do has true value because we see the results – there are so many inspiring modules and course components that neatly contextualise enterprise, and the development of enterprise capabilities, within the subject-specific curricula, from Architecture through Biblical Studies, Biomedical Science, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, French, German, Information Studies, Journalism, Law, Linguistics, on to Mechanical Engineering, Music, Oncology and many, many more.

HE Enterprise Educators 2014 Award certificate

The proof – a lovely certificate to accompany our shiny trophy!

And finally, of course, there are all the fantastic students we support, and who are taught by our many enterprising academics. Our job involves a whole chain of ‘making it happen’ – from making our own USEA plans happen, through to empowering academics to make their teaching ideas happen, which, in turn, gives so many students the opportunity to make things happen in their courses, and continually to inspire and amaze us.

So, with an award in the trophy cabinet for all that’s been done so far, we’d better get cracking on this year’s programme of USEA events and activities, and make this year the University of Sheffield’s best year for curricular enterprise ever, so we can give ourselves even more excuses to dance.

We have a reputation to live up to.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the work of University of Sheffield Enterprise Academy, visit our sister website.

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  • About the author

    Anna Nibbs

    Howdy! I'm Anna, an Enterprise Education Developer, HEA Fellow, member of the National Enterprise Education Award-winning USE Academy team, and the first point-of-contact for academics in the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Medicine, Dentistry & Health. I also teach on USE's "Making Ideas Happen" module. I'm passionate about learning and teaching, and empowering lecturers - and students - to be as enterprising as they can possibly be. Outside of work, I like to exercise, write, grow fruit and veg, drink tea and spend time with my children reading books, doing crafts and exploring. If you're an academic and you want to know more about embedding enterprise into your curriculum, visit our Enterprise Education website at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/enterprise-education

    Ali Riley

    I am one of the three Enterprise Learning Development Officers here at USE, and I work directly with the Faculties of Science and Social Sciences. My background is actually in archaeology - random I know - but I have always had a bit of a side-interest in how people learn, and now this has led me to this very rewarding role! I'm still to be found in muddy holes at weekends though... I'll be blogging about Enterprise Education, including news, events, success stories, and my experiences of working with academics to offer a great learning experience to students.
    Chrissie Elliott

    Chrissie Elliott

    The colour orange rocks my world, which is handy here at USE. But other than loving the decor, I also have a bit of experience in enterprise, which explains why I've found my home here. I've previously co-founded and run a social enterprise, (Community Interest Company, or ‘CIC’ for short) which intersected my interests of landscape/architecture, social enterprise, creative practice, and action research. After this ended, I did what any good enterprising person would, and looked where my experience could take me next. Which is here in my current role, carrying out research to support our brilliant USE team. I'm also known to turn my hand to the odd design charrette, as well as deliver workshops in user experience, landscape construction and community engagement, amongst others topics. I have broad interests, which keeps me happy, and I intend to keep it that way! :-)