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Ten years of achievement

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Published: 4 April 2022

Aerial view of the University of Sunderland in London

This month the University of Sunderland in London turns ten. That’s a decade of learning, graduations, community, support and guidance. 

It represents ten years of watching students walk through our doors, taking their first steps on the road to achieving their goals, and ten years of seeing them finish their studies with the knowledge and enthusiasm to make those dreams come true. 

We are immensely proud of the dedication and hard work you in our student community, both our current intakes and our wonderful alumni network, have put in during your time with us. 

You have truly made our community what it is today, which is why we wanted to start the celebrations by looking back at some of the milestone moments of the last ten years. 

1) The University of Sunderland in London opens 

Let’s start at the beginning. The University of Sunderland in London officially opened its doors in April 2012.  

Our, perhaps not so simple, aim was to provide a hub of business, finance, tourism and health management higher education in the heart of the capital.  

Where better for us to be based, then, than Canary Wharf, London’s internationally renowned business centre. 

The decision to take on the Marsh Wall building meant our future students would be studying to become leaders while surrounded by the very skyscrapers they may one day be working in. 

It also meant they would have access to the thriving cultural life of one of the world’s most exciting cities. 

Since that time, the campus has only grown, not only in student numbers but even into new buildings. But more of that in a moment. 

2) APHEA accreditation 

In October 2021, the University was delighted to announce the addition of another credit to our long list of organisations to recognise the quality of our teaching. 

The Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA for short) is a leading organisation in the public health industry. 

They only put their name to the best courses in higher education, so for our MSc Public Health degree to be recognised in such a way was hugely significant.  

The course’s Senior Lecturer and Programme Manager Madhini Sivasubramanian said “This is a very prestigious honour. We could not be prouder of everyone in the department and across the University that put so much time and effort into making the MSc Public Health course what it is today.” 

3) Our first graduation 

With our initial intake of students came, of course, the first opportunity to dress up in black gowns and mortarboards for an official graduation - the culmination of many hours in lecture rooms and pouring over textbooks for assignments. 

To mark the occasion, which took place in July 2013, we invited our graduands up to the main campus in Sunderland to join their colleagues for a major affair at the Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland AFC.  

Students from across our postgraduate and top-up courses walked across the stage to shake hands with the then Chancellor, the Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram, before receiving their certificates and officially becoming the first graduates of the University of Sunderland in London. 

4) University of the Year nomination 

As a campus of the University of Sunderland, we benefit from the reputation, experience and skills of our parent institution. 

This was never more apparent than when the University as a whole received a nomination for the Times Higher Education’s University of the Year award. 

Coming just 12 months after we were awarded the University of the Year for Social Inclusion, the accolade marked a significant moment that highlighted the importance we place on the life-changing nature of our degrees.  

You can read more about what the nomination means in our Events and Milestones section. 

5) 15,000 students 

It’s incredible to think, but in the short time since that graduation, we have welcomed thousands of students through our doors - over 15,000 in fact. 

Less than two years since we welcomed the 10,000th student, Darshanaben Patel, to an award ceremony celebrating the growth of the University, we were gathering again for Raluca Antal 

A student on the BA (Hons) Business Management and Entrepreneurship (Top-Up) course, Raluca spoke passionately about the course being the beginning of her future. 

“Every entrepreneurial journey starts somewhere,” she said, “Having the chance to study this course not only expands my knowledge, but it also gives me a clear understanding of what I want to become in the future.” 

6) Four new courses added 

To go along with the theme of expansion, at the beginning of 2020, we launched four new courses of study. 

Quickly becoming some of our most popular degrees, each of these represents new opportunities for students looking to enter the worlds of business, tourism, events and entertainment. 

In particular, the two foundation degrees give the chance to learn about the sectors regardless of prior background and experience, representing our commitment to widening participation in higher education. 

7) Opening HX4 

The growth in our student numbers has provided a welcome challenge. We needed more space to go on providing the same level of excellent teaching our students have come to expect.  

With that in mind, the decision was made to take over the third floor of Harbour Exchange building four (or HX4 for short).  

Just across the road from our original building on Marsh Wall, HX4 is kitted out with specially designed classrooms and study spaces as well as a kitchen and dining area. 

In November 2021, Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell officially opened the 220-capacity building at an event to mark the occasion 

He talked about the “fantastic new facility” and how it was a testament to the willingness and resourcefulness of our students to keep achieving.  

8) Introduction of Personal Academic Tutors (PATs) 

Student support is a core concept at the University of Sunderland in London, which is why the establishment of the PAT system was such an important step in our continued growth. 

PATs work with our students to help them learn academic skills, keep on top of their workloads and talk through their career goals. 

These highly qualified professionals work with your lecturers and programme managers to identify areas of development you might come across during your studies.  

They’re helping to improve the quality and impact your education is having and, after being established just last year, are quickly becoming one of the biggest success stories at the University of Sunderland in London. 

9) Teaching and Learning Symposium 

The dedication of our academic staff was displayed yet again in October 2021 with the first annual Teaching and Learning Symposium.  

Hosted by Senior Lecturer (Academic Development APP and TEF) Dr Giuseppe Cantafio and the Academic Development team, the conference brought lecturers from across departments together to foster a culture of teaching and research excellence. 

"It is important for our students to be part of an innovative institution like the University of Sunderland in London that puts students at the centre of teaching strategy. Events like the Teaching and Learning Symposium can help the academic body share best practices to improve the student experience.” said Dr Cantafio.   

10) Dealing with COVID-19 

In March 2020, like every higher education institution, we were forced to move teaching and services online to protect our community as a worldwide pandemic took hold. 

While this was, undoubtedly, stressful and difficult, the strength, dedication and perseverance our student community displayed to the sudden change is something we are extremely proud of. 

Supported through a host of online and telephone services including the Health and Wellbeing, Careers and Employability, Student Engagement, Gateway and Library teams, you got on with the important task of working towards your goals, with many thousands of students completing their degrees from their homes.  

Luckily, we’re back on campus and into a different phase of the pandemic now.  

But as challenging as the last two years have been, seeing the way our students pushed themselves during one of the most difficult periods in modern world history has been nothing short of inspirational. 

Throughout April, we will be celebrating the last ten years of the University of Sunderland in London while looking forward to the next decade of excellence. 

Keep up to date with all the latest news and events by following #WeAreSunLon10th on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.