Director of Outreach and Community Engagement recognised in the New Year Honours list

31 December 2014

Director of Outreach and Community Engagement recognised in the New Year Honours list

Eleanor Wilson is to receive an MBE for services to community education

Eleanor Wilson is to receive an MBE for services to community education, through the University's sector-leading initiatives to raise aspiration and widen access to higher education.

An MBE is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. It is also awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to other people.

"I am delighted that the work carried out at Glasgow Caledonian University to open the doors of higher education and lifelong learning has been publicly recognised in this way," said Ms Wilson.

"This is a shared honour as I am privileged to lead a dedicated team of colleagues who are making a real difference to the lives of many and to the communities we serve. It is also testament to the pioneering work of our Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE who founded the Caledonian Club and the commitment of the partner schools who work with us.

"Having been the first in my family to go to university, I am passionate about creating opportunities and providing support to inspire people from all backgrounds with the confidence, qualifications and ambition to continue their education at the highest levels."

In her role as Director of Outreach and Community Engagement, Ms Wilson heads the Caledonian Club, engaging with 9000 young people and 2600 parents, and operating in Glasgow, London and, soon, New York. Its work has been supported by more than 500 student mentors, many of whom are former Caledonian Club members themselves.

Beyond the Caledonian Club, GCU continues to show its commitment to widening participation through a breadth of programmes that support the journey through school, college and university. The Schools and Colleges Engagement Transition Team works with partner schools and colleges, increasing the total number of learners who can benefit from GCU’s innovative approach.

After receiving £1m from the Scottish Funding Council, and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, GCU opened the Advanced Higher Hub in August 2013. The Hub supports sixth-year students from Glasgow schools in the study of Advanced Highers, complementing those being offered by schools. 

GCU also works closely with college students to make the transition to university as seamless as possible through the its College Connect Strategy and the flagship activity, the College Connect Academy. Additionally, the Mentoring and Peer Support programme provides students with access to peer support throughout their time at GCU.

"Together, these projects highlight a groundbreaking  partnership approach, which builds on the early success of the Caledonian Club, and which maximises opportunities for pupils, students and families in the many communities where GCU  works," said Ms Wilson.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE said: "I am delighted that Eleanor has been recognised in the New Year Honours list. It is a fitting tribute to the work she carries out, and is recognition of the commitment of her colleagues to the ongoing success of the University's widening access initiatives. As a University for the common good, GCU is proud of its sector-leading role in this area, and on behalf of the University, I congratulate Eleanor."

Glasgow Caledonian University Honorary Professors Caroline Rush and Jane Shepherdson are to receive CBEs for services to the British fashion industry and the retail industry respectively.