Alison Davies, a 43-year-old part-time student, completed a foundation degree in Housing Studies in 2011 alongside her work as Performance and Service Improvement Officer for the City of York Council. She is now completing a BA (Hons) degree in Housing Studies at the University and will be presented with her award at the CIH presidential dinner in February.
Alison commented: "It's certainly been challenging at times trying to juggle work pressures, university deadlines and home life. It was at first daunting but I can honestly say the experience has far surpassed any expectations I had. I have developed a network of colleagues from other housing organisations and it has been great to learn and share with each other. The lecturers have been fantastic and have supported and encouraged me throughout my course. I would say to any student (young or old) don't hesitate in applying.
"As for winning the national prize I still can't quite believe it. I am absolutely thrilled and delighted that the Chartered Institute of Housing have given me this award. It just makes you feel that all the hard work has been worth it. Additionally, early last year I was promoted to a senior management position as Service Development Manager on a secondment basis for twelve months. I am certain that without the confidence I have gained in my own abilities at university I would not have applied for the position."
Alison's Course Leader, Dr David Haigh, added: "Alison has been, and continues to be an outstanding student. She is a delightful student to teach as she is able to not only think and write at a level that is extremely rare but has an ability to communicate with her course mates that allows them all to reflect on how best to develop their own personal and professional development needs.
"Despite having no previous degree level education, and seemingly little confidence in her abilities, Alison has grown both academically and personally, and is still enthusiastic about learning new things. Her CIH National Student Prize win in 2012 is richly deserved and the whole housing course team and her course mates congratulate her; we are all really thrilled."
Alison received a further accolade by being awarded the University's Centre for Urban development and Environmental Management (CUDEM) prize for overall achievement at the end of her foundation degree.
Leeds Metropolitan University's BA (Hons) Housing Studies degree and postgraduate MA Housing, Regeneration and Urban Management degree both run on a part-time basis and lead to corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). Current students attend from region-wide housing employers including Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Hull and West Yorkshire.