LSHTM's Pentacell project wins two prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards

LSHTM's Pentacell project wins two prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards

LSHTM's innovative Pentacell project has won two prestigious Circle of Excellence Awards. Pentacell won the Grand Gold Award for Best Volunteer Engagement initiative and Gold for Best Student Engagement initiative.

Pentacell uses alumni volunteers to facilitate informal support groups of five students. The project aims to:

  • Increase student wellbeing
  • Improve institutional engagement, satisfaction, and retention
  • Foster a sense of belonging
  • Develop teaching and learning skills
  • Be adaptable so other institutions can replicate it

LSHTM's Pentacell project significantly improved participants' student experience during the pandemic. The project delivered over 1,000 volunteer hours. One hundred alumni volunteers supported more than 500 students across 11 academic programmes. Around half the students were from outside the UK, and 30% came from low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Alumni facilitators came from 45 countries, with 35% from the LMICs.
As a leading public health institution, LSHTM wanted to take a systemic "public health approach" to improve student mental health and wellbeing, combating anxiety, loneliness and isolation. The benefits were felt by the students, volunteers and the institution, both now and in the future.

LSHTM's Pentacell Development Group includes:

  • Rachel Gould, Senior Counsellor and Wellbeing Manager
  • Ford Hickson, Programme Director for MSc Public Health
  • Mike Hill, Assistant Professor in Learning and Teaching
  • Clare Matysova, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager
  • Tom Osbourne, LSHTM alumnus and former Pentacell facilitator
  • Alice Perry, Head of Alumni Relations and Regular Giving

Head of Alumni Relations and Regular Giving Alice Perry commented, "One of the things that makes Pentacell so special is that it was a collaboration of colleagues from across the university with different, complementary skills, experience, and perspectives. It has been a joy to work with so many amazing colleagues and volunteers committed to fostering a welcoming, inclusive community for our students and alumni. This was made possible because of our amazing alumni volunteers – we are so grateful for the hundreds of people who made this pioneering project such a success."

CASE Circle of Excellence Judges in the Best Volunteer Engagement category commented that Pentacell provided "an innovative approach that had great impact. Easy for other institutions to replicate. Great way to engage current alumni and support students."

Judges in the Best Student Engagement category commented: "This cross-campus, science-informed, and data-driven program is outstanding! This program should be considered as a model for other schools looking for unique way to engage alumni, students, and colleagues while making meaningful change in the lives of students."

CASE's Circle of Excellence Awards are the premier recognition program for educational advancement. These peer-selected and adjudicated awards honour colleges, universities, and schools worldwide whose talented staff have advanced their organizations with resourcefulness and ingenuity.

"Our CASE Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate the creative, resourceful, and innovative ways advancement professionals around the globe champion their institutions' success," says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. "Advancement has never been more important to support and strengthen education. These 2022 Circle of Excellence recipients—from institutions and teams of all sizes and shapes, from regions across the world—showcase how advancement empowers teaching and learning, ignites institutional progress, and helps communities thrive."

In 2022, CASE received more than 4,500 entries from 636 institutions in nearly 30 countries.
Winners were selected based on several factors, including overall quality, innovation, use of resources and the impact on the institution or its external and internal communities, such as alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff.