University picks up Times Higher award for outstanding student services

University picks up Times Higher award for outstanding student services

The University of Hull picked up an Outstanding Administrative Services Team trophy at this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAS).  

The THELMAs, now in their ninth year, recognise outstanding work across the professional services and administration of the UK’s world-leading higher education institutions. 

Judges said the team embodied the ideals for best practice in sector registry teams by offering outstanding services while remaining cost effective. 

At the heart of Hull’s entry was the creation of its AskHU central administration service. Before the establishment of AskHU, Hull students had numerous points of access to student services. For example, teams covering finance, registry, immigration, accommodation and health and well-being each had their own area in the students’ union building – an inefficient set-up that students found time-consuming. 

AskHU pulled all these services together to make a single point of access for students. It also supported staff by introducing a buddy system, which allowed people to shadow others to learn how to help with questions on unfamiliar areas. 

The new system includes a bespoke appointment management system, and better and more varied methods of engagement with students. 

The change has proved so successful that Hull’s careers and study abroad teams have been incorporated into the service, allowing the university to pool financial resources and cut costs. 

The Judging panel said: 

The AskHU central administration service epitomises best practice in the sector’s approach to one-stop shops for student support, including a buddy system for staff support and an appointment manager booking system for students.  

Not only has the new service received a 96 per cent satisfaction score, but it has saved the University money, too. 

Anji Gardiner, Director of Student Services at the University of Hull, said:

We are extremely proud to have picked up this award. The team work tirelessly to make sure student services are as streamlined as they can be and the student experience is the very best it can be. This transition has been a lot of work and I would like to congratulate everyone who has contributed for their continued efforts and support to make AskHU an outstanding service.

THE editor John Gill said: 

Once again we've seen examples of exceptional performance in the most important areas of university leadership, management and administration. At a time of ever greater competition in higher education, our hope is that by shining a light on these winners, institutions will learn from one another to improve the quality of what they do across the board. 

Anyone working in a UK university will know how dedicated and resourceful their colleagues are, but it’s our great honour to be able to showcase these examples from across the country.

For more coverage of the awards, profiles of the winners, and photos from the evening, please visit or pick up a copy of THE, available in newsagents from 29 June.