Senior lecturer given prestigious award for responsible tourism education
Lucy McCombes, a senior lecturer in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management, has been given the Victor Middleton Prize for Education and Scholarship by the Association for Tourism in Higher Education (ATHE).
On awarding the prize the ATHE said that Lucy demonstrated a strong commitment to tourism education through the impressive number of Commonwealth scholarships obtained under such competitive circumstances. They focused on her commitment to accessible tourism education which has helped students from developing countries, including The Gambia, Mauritius, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, to study tourism at postgraduate level.
Lucy received the award at an online ceremony today (Thursday 3rd December). She said: “I am really proud to accept this Victor Middleton Prize which is based on the hard work of our entire MSc Responsible Tourism Management team – our teaching, distance learning and administration staff – and our in-country partners.
“A key ingredient in the success of our scholarships is the support of our MSc alumni based in Africa alongside our institutional partners – the University of Gambia, International Centre for Responsible Tourism West Africa, Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia, Rushmore Business School (Mauritius) and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Kenya. We’ve been working together on delivering these Commonwealth Scholarships since 2010, when we received funding for our first cohort of students from The Gambia, and all of us are motivated by the opportunities they bring to people on the ground to use their higher education with us to make a positive contribution through responsible tourism.”
Professor Rhodri Thomas, Dean of the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management, said: “We are delighted that Lucy has won this award. It is just reward for her efforts and I am sure it will inspire others to be more innovative in their research and teaching. Lucy’s approach to academic work epitomises Victor Middleton’s emphasis on making clear connections between universities and practitioners to mutual benefit. In Lucy’s case, this involves helping to promote responsible tourism practices which is one of the major challenges of our time.”
The distance learning Commonwealth Scholarships for our MSc Responsible Tourism Management are targeted at early to mid-career tourism professionals who are in a position to apply their learning to their current work and contribute to local economic development and poverty reduction through delivering responsible tourism in their home countries. Our Commonwealth students include those working in education, local and national government, tour operators and tourism businesses, wildlife conservancies and NGOs. They have applied their learning in a wide range of contexts and had a real impact on the ground. They are typically leaders and pioneers of responsible tourism with substantial experience in the sector who would not be able to afford higher education from the UK without the support of these scholarships, which help us make higher education more accessible.
Lucy added: “Being involved in the delivery of these scholarships has been the most professionally and personally rewarding aspect of my work for Leeds Beckett over the last 11 years.”