Review of the year: 2020 at the University of Winchester

9 Jan 2021

Despite the enormous challenges brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on how our community has worked, lived and socialised together over the last year, 2020 saw the University adapt to the 'new normal', and contribute both to our understanding of the pandemic, as well as offering support to our local community.


On Brexit day, Friday 31 January, as the UK left the European Union, the University issued a statement reaffirming its ongoing commitment to our valued European partnerships and its students and staff, wherever in the world they hail from. 

Estates and Facilities staff with their framed award certificate

We celebrated with our Estates and Facilities Services (EFS) department on their award of the Cabinet Office Customer Service Excellence accreditation for the high quality of its customer services.



Winchester became the newest member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), underlining its commitment to tackling the significant global challenges the world now faces, including climate change. 

A packed audience filled the Stripe auditorium when BBC flagship political debate show Any Questions? was broadcast live from the University. Panellists included Lord Deben, Chair of the UK's Committee on Climate Change and Owen Jones Guardian columnist. 


People in forensics lab using ultra violet camera

Just before lockdown, a group Winchester District Explorer Scouts became real life forensic investigators solving crime at the University of Winchester, at a special event inspired by the popular board game Cluedo. The murder mystery 'who dunnit' evening took place in the University's state-of-the-art Forensics Laboratory, which features a range of industry standard equipment. 

When lockdown hit, experts in the University's Department of Sport, Exercise and Health shared invaluable tips about how we could all stay fit and active if we're self-isolating or staying indoors more because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, by working out at home. 



The University supported the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic, providing campus accommodation to frontline staff who were unable to stay in their own homes. 

We also set up a £3.4m fund to support students who returned home because of the pandemic and could no longer live in their University accommodation. 

This month also saw a team of researchers led by the University of Winchester launch a study to examine the effect of the UK Government's lockdown strategy on the population's physical activity levels and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. 


With students spread far and wide while the University was closed and the country in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Winchester Student Union (WSU) launched the Positive Pandemic, a clever and creative initiative to bring people together. 

 Still from TV show 'The Last Knigdom' of two armoured men on horses

As we all enjoyed more time to tune into TV and streaming services during lockdown, Winchester historian Professor Ryan Lavelle revealed how he helped to weave historical accuracy in to the fourth season of hit television drama The Last Kingdom, which launched on Netflix in May.


The Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020 revealed that the University excelled in the number of graduates from its undergraduate programmes who are in employment and further study - placing it in the top 10 universities in the country and the highest placed university in the region. 

The landmark West Downs Centre, the new learning and teaching building at our West Downs Quarter, was formally handed over to the University by construction company Osborne in June. 

The University's BA (Hons) Music and Sound Production programme was awarded accreditation by Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES), the leading professional body in this field. 

In a bid to capture the pandemic for posterity, we also launched a coronavirus diary project, inviting members of the public to document their experiences of living through these unsettling times to create a coronavirus archive. 

Professor Martin Broad was announced as the new Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies and Director of the University Business School. A chartered management accountant, Professor Broad joined us from the University of Southampton, where he was head of the Southampton Business School. 

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Winchester condemned racism and underlined our commitment to continually work with others to identify and deal with any systemic discrimination, unconscious bias or racism. 


The work and partners of the Service Children's Progression Alliance, hosted by the University of Winchester, features strongly in an independent report to Government by Andrew Selous MP. Living In Our Shoes looks at all aspects of Service life. 

Male student lying on treatment couch talking to four other physiotherapy students 

Winchester led the way during the pandemic in driving uptake of training and work placements for students studying on Allied Health Professions courses, including Physiotherapy and Nursing, across the country in a transformational partnership with Health Education England. 

As restrictions began to ease over the summer, the University lent its support to children's mental health charity stormbreak to offer children of all ages a fun summer challenge, encouraging families to introduce some mentally healthy movement into their daily routine during the summer holidays.


E-gamer celebrating by raising his fists in triumph

In the first study of its kind, Winchester began working with the University of Chichester and the Counter Strike Professional Players' Association (CSPPA) to plan a comprehensive research project examining the factors influencing the mental health of esport players, specifically in the first-person shooter game CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive). 


The University published a new report looking at what the so-called 'Generation Z' (those born between 1995 and 2010) want out of their university experience. Polling showed they are most concerned about two issues: the quality of care in the NHS and the climate crisis. When asked about society's handling of these issues that concern them most, the majority of Gen Z are deeply worried by the government's approach to climate change, with 51 per cent believing that it is being handled mostly or very badly. 

Man in hat standing in pond catching an orange fish in his hand

Having outgrown the University's small pond, five carp were resettled in a much larger pond at Basingstoke Crematorium, thanks to a campaign by a student and the work of Head Gardener Maurice James and his team. 


Throughout Black History Month, we hosted a range of events for students and staff to increase understanding of Black culture and history. Workshops, presentations, reading groups, online training sessions, and meetings of the BAME University Network, Equality and Diversity Forum and Race Equality Action Group all took place, with a week-long event exploring what 'decolonising the curriculum' means for the University. 

The Service Children's Progression Alliance - which is hosted by the University of Winchester - launched a self-reflection tool for schools to consider their support for children in Armed Forces families. The Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of seven principles through which to reflect on their practice and a three-tier set of Continuing Professional Development resources. 


Winchester was named one of the UK's top 50 training providers at the RateMyApprenticeship Awards 2020 for our degree apprenticeship courses. The league table of UK top training providers rewards those who have delivered exceptional training, and is based on the reviews of students across all apprenticeship and school leaver schemes on the national website

In game screen shot of characters from Assassin's Creed Valhalla 

Two University of Winchester academics shared their knowledge of Anglo-Saxon history, culture and language in advisory roles for the latest instalment of the highly successful Assassin's Creed action role-playing video game, which launched at the end of the year. Historian Professor Ryan Lavelle and English Language expert Dr Eric Lacey met Ubisoft games developers to help develop various aspects of the game. 

Dr James Faulkner, an expert in sport and exercise, was one of the contributors to a major new national report which recommended a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme to improve the health and wellbeing of older people. Older individuals are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus - making the report launched during the pandemic by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee vital to ensure quality care can be provided. 


View of the front of the West Downs Centre with the beacon of hope beaming up into a dark night sky

The University thanked its staff, students, the wider community and the NHS with a 'Beacon of Hope' event on Wednesday 2 December, marking the end of the second lockdown. Two single beams of light shone from the University's King Alfred and West Downs quarters from 5pm, symbolising hope after what has been a hugely challenging year for students, universities and communities across the country. 

Three primary schools from the Romsey area have joined the University of Winchester Academy Trust. Awbridge, Wellow and Halterworth schools have longstanding links with the University of Winchester through its teacher education programmes and join Barton Farm Academy in Winchester and Stoneham Park Academy in Eastleigh - brand new primary schools that opened their doors for the first time in September 2020 - as part of the Academy Trust. 

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