Look back at the highlights of 2023

20 Dec 2023

Before we make our New Year's resolutions there's time to look back on the last 12 months which have seen some amazing achievements by staff and student at the University of Winchester. Here are some of the most memorable moments of 2023 and some that you may have forgotten...


Honour for Beverley

Beverley Harden (pictured above) Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing received an MBE in the King's New Year's Honours List for services to healthcare. Since 2018 Beverley has been the Allied Health Professions lead within Health Education England, working to develop advanced skills and grow the workforce.

Making the seas safer

The Centre for Forensic and Investigative Psychology teamed up with Devon and Cornwall Police and charity Safer Waves on a new initiative to support the seafaring community and tackle the challenges facing seafarers reporting crime and accessing victim support. 

New Dean of Business

It was announced that Sarah Moore-Williams would join the University in March as the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Digital technologies. Sarah, a Chartered Certified Accountant, joined Winchester from the Business School at London South Bank University.


The launch of the University's partnership with Play to the Crowd

Partners in the arts

The University ‘s vital role in the cultural life of the city was to the fore in February and March.

It was announced that we had signed a strategic partnership with Play to the Crowd, the arts and education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers. The five-year partnership will provide opportunities for students at Theatre Royal and the Hat Fair, providing vital learning and experience for future theatre makers and performers. 

In March the University played a major role in the first Winchester Books Festival as main sponsor and a venue for several events. Many academics took part and film productions filmed events throughout the festival and produced a promotional film which was widely praised.


Students with their trophyBAFTA win for film makers

Three young film makers from the university were all smiles after their comedy won the audience award at The Making Waves Future BAFTA Winners Short Film Competition. Second year Film Production students Benjamin Phillips, Benjamin Dunks and Ollie Trowern produced Where Did We Park? The four-minute film follows the trials and tribulations of two young men who get lost in the woods when they forget where they parked their car. 

Outstanding nursing student

Sophie Amos, a third-year student on the Batchelor of Nursing (Hons) Adult Nursing degree course, was shortlisted for the Student Nursing Times Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs Award. Sophie, was the only nominee based in the South of England. Sadly, Sophie didn’t win but enjoyed a trip to the glitzy Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane for the awards ceremony in April.


Journalistic achievement

Ben Morris, won a coveted BBC journalism apprenticeship. Ben who completed the University’s journalism course in 2022, was one of just 22 successful applicants. He began his apprenticeship at London’s Broadcasting House in September. Ben has suffered all his life from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) - a rare genetic condition means the brain stops sending out the messages that control muscle movement. Ben manages to operate his electric wheelchair and do all his work – whether that’s typing a story or editing a radio programme ­– with just the use of his right index finger. 

Ryan’s last battle

History Professor Ryan Lavelle hit the headlines this month talking about his role as historical adviser on the hit TV series The Last Kingdom. The long-running Saxons and Vikings saga reached its climax after nine years with a feature-length episode Seven Kings Must Die which premiered on Netflix in April.

Line up students sports teams

Varsity win for Winchester

Winchester’s sports teams (pictured) got the better of their old rivals, the University of Chichester in the annual Varsity clash. Teams from the two university student unions went toe-to-toe in 25 events with Winchester winning 14-11.  Matches took place across 18 sports with Winchester winning in cheerleading, dance, volleyball, swimming, men’s football, men’s basketball, women’s rugby, futsal, tennis, esports, cricket and badminton. 

New Dean for HSS

The University of Winchester’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences welcomed a new dean – Professor Michael Bradshaw.  Michael joined from the University of Worcester where he had been the head of the School of Humanities since 2017.


Young man crowdsurfing

Godspell draws a crowd

The University of Winchester’s Musical Theatre ‘Class of ‘23’ took to the stage at the city’s Theatre Royal with a revival of 1970s favourite Godspell. Thirty-eight students appeared on stage with the actors alternating between main roles and ensemble. It was the first fully-staged student production at the theatre following the signing of the new partnership with Play to the Crowd.

Technology brings history to life

Ancient history and the latest technology converged when the Community of Enterprise, Design & Innovation (CEDI) held its first Digital Cultural Heritage Interpretation conference at West Downs in May. The event was organised by Dr Debs Wilson, founder of CEDI, Programme Leader in Digital Media Design at the University. Dr Wilson was also one of the speakers, giving a presentation about her Virtual Cities project which combines 3D modelling technology with historical research to recreate Winchester in the 1400s and 1800s.  

Line up of womenHelping educate the health educators

May saw the first cohort of health and social care professionals to receive the PG Certificate in Practice Education (pictured). The year-long, online course is aimed at nurses, midwives, social workers and allied health professions who wish to become qualified practice educators, who support students when they go on work placements. 


Botanical history brought to light

The contribution to the world of botany made by enslaved Africans and indigenous people on a Caribbean island was finally recognised fully thanks to research led by Dr Christina Welch. The St Vincent Botanical Garden, the first botanical garden in the western hemisphere, opened its new pop-up exhibition explaining its history. Christina’s fascinating project entitled 'Unearthing the Hidden Stories of the St Vincent Botanical Garden' was shortlisted for THE (Times Higher Education).

Two academics with Ground Penetrating Radar  Surprise for submarine seekers

University of Winchester experts hit the headlines around the world in June  and July when they went hunting for Dartmouth’s legendary buried submarine and found more than they bargained for… Simon Roffey, Reader in Archaeology, and David Ashby (pictured) who manages the University’s Soil Laboratory, were hoping to find traces of a First World War sub believed to lay buried beneath the town’s Coronation Park. Using Ground Penetrating Radar they found the outlines of what they believe to be the E52 Royal Navy submarine but also another shape which is thought to be a German torpedo boat from the same era.

Refugee Week

The University of Winchester marked Refugee Week (19-25 June) with two major events to support those fleeing violence and persecution.  Compassion in Education: The Inaugural Conference of the University of Winchester’s Sanctuary Network was held at the West Downs Campus and  three days later singers and musicians brought together by the University gathered in Winchester Cathedral for a special concert, Sing for Sanctuary.


Alex Whifield, HHFT Chief Executive, shaking hands with Professor Sarah Greer, Vice Chancellor, in front of the partnership agreement, accompanied by five HWB students.Healthy relationship with NHS trust

Building on years of collaboration, the University of Winchester and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) signed a new partnership agreement, during the week which marked the 75th anniversary of the NHS. The partnership will secure educational opportunities for both University of Winchester students with Hampshire Hospitals, and hospital staff at the University, providing high quality teaching and expertise to ensure staff are equipped to meet healthcare needs now and in the future.  

Paralympian pays a visit

One of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians passed on some of his winning wisdom to Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physiotherapy students on a visit to the university. David Smith OBE who has won gold in Boccia at three Paralympics spoke about his life and then gave students a masterclass in his sport. Boccia, which is similar to bowls but uses soft leather balls, is one of the biggest sports in the Paralympics. 


Top 10 for employment

The University of Winchester moved into the top 10 in the UK for the percentage of its students going into employment or further study. Latest data supplied by HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency)  showed that 92.8 per cent of Winchester students who graduated in 2021 went onto work and/or further study within 15 months of graduating – the eighth best result in the country as a whole and the fourth best among English universities.

Honour for Dave

The University’s Catering Operations Manager Dave Morton (pictured above centre) received an Outstanding Achievement award at the summer conference of TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation) held at St Andrew’s University. The 60-year-old has been catering manager at Winchester since 1998. Under Dave’s leadership, the University has won a host of food awards and seen a massive reduction in the use of disposable coffee cups thanks to the introduction of reusable Gum-tec cups. Dave was due to retire in December.  He and his wife plan to move to Devon to be closer to their daughter and her family. 

Royal experts go global

Dr Ellie Woodacre, Reader in Renaissance History at the University, and Dr Gabrielle Storey, a Visiting Research Fellow, appeared in Queens That Changed the World on Channel 4. The series, made by Woodcut Media, was sold worldwide.


High quality teaching

In September we learned that undergraduate teaching at the University of Winchester had been rated as generally “very high quality” but “outstanding” in some areas in the latest round of assessments by the Office for Students (OfS). The University received an overall Silver Rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023. The TEF panel stated Winchester’s “very high-quality teaching, assessment, feedback, course content and delivery inspire students to actively engage in and commit to their learning and stretch students to develop knowledge and skill.”

Young athletes and coaches on track standing shoulder to shoulderElite Sports programme up and running

NINE talented young athletes were the first group to sign up for the University of Winchester’s Elite Sport programme. The new programme is currently aimed at track and field athletics but there are plans to expand into other sports. It gives student-athletes the chance to gain an excellent degree while receiving high level sport-specific training.

Courting cat food controversy

A new study led by an academic from the University of Winchester suggesting that cats might be better off eating a vegan diet was featured around the world in tabloids, pet magazines and scientific journals. The vegan versus meat-based cat food study, was authored by Professor Andrew Knight, a visiting Lecturer at the University’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing with Winchester’s Dr Hazel Brown and Dr Alexander Bauer from LMU Munich.

Laura’s radio landmark

Professor Laura Hubner from the School of Media and Film took part in a broadcasting milestone as one of the panel of experts on the 1000th episode of Melvyn Bragg’s popular BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time. Laura was there to talk about The Seventh Seal – Ingmar Bergman’s classic 1957 film fantasy.


Two male models walk down catwalk at fashion showFresh look at fashion

The University turned on the style in October in its role as sponsor of Winchester Fashion Week. To start the week, we hosted a special screening of Fashion Reimagined looking at the creation of sustainable clothing and student explored their own fashion DNA and personal style choices in a poster exhibition entitled This Is Me. The week came to a climax with a glamorous catwalk show (pictured) which students helped to organise and run at the University’s King Alfred Centre.  

Dean Cathy on her way

It was announced that Dr Cathy Gower had been appointed as the new Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Arts (EDA). Cathy, who was  Dean of the School of Education at the University of Brighton, takes up her post in January.


man and woman at desk shaking hands

St John’s CEO Clive Cook and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sarah Greer shake on new agreement

Supporting St John’s

The University pledged to support one of the city’s oldest charities in its work helping older people when we signed a partnership with St John’s Winchester. Working across the generations, it is hoped the agreement will benefit the city’s older people while providing students with rewarding voluntary experience.

Castle collaboration

Winchester students now have almost exclusive access to a scheduled monument thanks to a partnership with Historic England announced in October. The collaboration focuses on Merdon Castle, near Hursley. Already the first cohort of archaeology and geography undergraduates have been able to practice their survey skills at the castle. The site, not open to the public, contains the remains of a Norman castle built on top of a Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age hillfort.

Uganda scholarship

A new partnership between the University and the city’s Rotary Club to provide scholarships for students from Uganda welcomed its first recipient, Thomas Bwambale Muhiwa. Over the next ten years the club will fund three students from the Kasese district of Uganda to study at the University. 

People hunting for clues in Scenes of Crime House

Hunting for clues in the University's Crime Scene House during  'The Winchester Whodunnit'

Murder mystery

The University became a crime scene when the departments of Policing, Criminology, Forensics and Law combined to create a murder mystery. 'The Winchester Whodunnit', part of Winchester Cathedral’s ‘Justice for All?’ week, was a sell- out success with 60 members becoming detectives for the morning. The Body on the Podium, which received rave reviews from the amateur sleuths, was specially written by Natacha Harding, Head of Department of Policing, Criminology and Forensics, who also turned out to be the killer! Watch out for similar events in 2024.


Clive Myrie in graduation robes

Clive joins graduation celebration

More than 2,000 University of Winchester students have celebrated their academic achievements at a series of joyous graduation ceremonies held in November. Winchester Cathedral provided the magnificent setting for eleven ceremonies attended by more than 8,000 guests. Thousands more, from all over the world, watched the events as they were live-streamed. The ceremonies also marked the achievements of some inspirational individuals recognised with the award of honorary doctorates and fellowships. Among those receiving honorary awards were BBC newsman and Mastermind presenter Clive Myrie, broadcaster Samira Ahmed and the cathedral’s own music maestro Andrew Lumsden, who is normally behind the scenes playing the organ for the ceremony.

Singing the praises of LDN nurses

The University hosted the first conference to highlight the work of an often overlooked and under-appreciated area of nursing. It’s now likely that the conference – Celebrating Learning Disability Nursing in Health and Justice – will become an annual event after receiving excellent and enthusiastic feedback. The event was organised by Jo Welch a Senior Lecturer in the Department Nursing and Midwifery.


Group of women in front of screenCall the midwives

The University of Winchester has been delivered some good news about two of its newest arrivals - a Midwifery BSC and Degree Apprenticeship. Both courses have been recommended for approval by the validation panel. The first courses will start in January. In December the University hosted Professional Midwifery Advocate (PMA) Conference for the Southeast Region which  was attended by 60 midwives working in NHS Trusts and for NHS England.


Back to media centre