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Major milestone for social inclusion

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Published: 18 September 2020

University of Sunderland in London students at a class

The University of Sunderland has been awarded the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 award for University of the Year for Social Inclusion. 

This major milestone recognises the commitment of the University of Sunderland in London and the University of Sunderland to increasing inclusivity across both our organisations. 

We have always been extremely proud of the diversity of our staff and students.  

Our community is made up of students from all backgrounds and we support them in their journey with us. 

It's the third year in a row that we have been among the top 20 universities in the country for social inclusion. 

But this is the first time we’ve been named the University of the Year for Social Inclusion, showing that our continued efforts for improvement are having an impact. 

What is social inclusion? 

Social inclusion is about the ways people or groups in society can improve their chances in life, whether that’s ability, opportunity or anything else.  

At the University of Sunderland in London, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to exceed their goals, regardless of background or any other factor.  

We’re one of only a small number of universities in the UK where over 60% of our students are the first in their family to study for a degree.  

98% of the people that come to the University have had a ‘non-selective’ state education, rather than attending public or grammar schools, for example.  

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, said: “Students from all kinds of backgrounds have the opportunity to improve their career prospects and life chances when attending the University of Sunderland. 

“With a long tradition of being an open and accessible institution, we are absolutely delighted to have been recognised as University of the Year for Social Inclusion.” 

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “Sunderland’s track record for widening participation to higher education is hard to match. 

Alan Hardie, Director of the University of Sunderland in London, said: "Here at the University of Sunderland in London we take pride in celebrating all our students; their voices, their backgrounds, their nationalities, their differences.

And it's those differences that enrich the experience of all students and make this campus such a vibrant and diverse place to study.

We will continue to celebrate all that makes us different and embrace those who come here to share that unique experience."

Lynsey BendonAssistant Director (Operations and Student Experience) at the University of Sunderland in London, said: “I’m so proud to be a part of this institution.  

Our campus is like no other and we work hard to support our fantastic students who have made such positive choices for themselves and their families by choosing higher education, and have already worked so hard to get here.  

Their enthusiasm and energy lift us every day and to see them fulfil their potential with good degrees and outstanding career paths is a huge reward.” 

Dr Geoff Paul, Assistant Director (Academic) at the University of Sunderland in London, said: “The award is a wonderful achievement and underpins the hard work by all the staff at the University to provide a quality education to all members of society irrespective of background, ethnicity or race.  

It reflects a key value of the University – inclusiveness. It’s a value that is embodied across all aspects of the student experience.” 

University of Sunderland Chancellor, multi-platinum singer Emeli Sande´ MBE said: “Here at Sunderland our ethos is that of inclusivity, giving people the chance to reach their full potential. We want our graduates to go on and be a force for change.” 

The Times and Sunday Times Good Education Guide is one of the most popular and comprehensive rankings of higher education in the UK, ranking universities on a number of factors. 

The University moves up six places from 109 to 103 in this year’s Guide. See the full Sunday Times list. Find out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.