University relocation decision is in best interests of students
“This decision follows a considerable amount of work to understand how our estate is currently used. We have consulted widely with staff and local stakeholders. We have consulted students and investigated what it is they want from a University education. What we know is that students generally show a preference for an edge of city campus with brilliant learning and teaching facilities, good public transport links and social activities – all of which we have in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn
30 January 2014: Staffordshire University has announced plans to deliver the majority of its courses from one main campus in Stoke-on-Trent.
The decision was reached last night at a special meeting of the Board of Governors to consider the future of the University’s estate which is currently divided between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.
It follows an extensive period of consultation which has included staff, students, education and local authority partners and the business community. It also takes account of an audit of the University’s teaching accommodation which has determined that the average room use is far lower than in comparative universities.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn said: “This decision follows a considerable amount of work to understand how our estate is currently used. We have consulted widely with staff and local stakeholders. We have consulted students and investigated what it is they want from a University education. What we know is that students generally show a preference for an edge of city campus with brilliant learning and teaching facilities, good public transport links and social activities – all of which we have in Stoke-on-Trent.”
“It makes economic sense and will enable us to give our students the best possible student experience. Competition in the University sector has never been higher and we need to put ourselves in the best possible position to attract students to our excellent courses.”
Although timescales are still to be determined, the University will be looking to vacate its Beaconside campus by 2016 at the latest and move all computing and entertainment technology degrees to its Stoke-on-Trent campus.
However its highly rated nursing and midwifery courses - which are commissioned by the NHS – and health courses like paramedic and public health are set to remain based in Stafford.
Staffordshire University Business Village, situated on Stafford Technology Park, will also be maintained as a facility to support graduates wanting to start up their own businesses in Stafford.
Chair of the Board of Governors, Steve Burgin said: “The Board of Governors has a clear responsibility to the financial sustainability of the institution. The competitive nature of higher education today, coupled with the need to be highly efficient, means we must direct our valuable resources in the most effective way towards our students. In this context, we are adapting our footprint to secure our future and that of our students.
“Staffordshire University will continue to serve the Staffordshire community by contributing to economic growth in the region which will ultimately benefit our graduates and help them find suitable employment in the county.”
The University will now embark on a Masterplanning phase which will determine timescales for the move and the investment required in Stoke-on-Trent so that the campus can comfortably accommodate more students.
Mark Hattersley, Director of Finance and Infrastructure said: “Having reached this decision, we now have a considerable amount of work to make this happen.
We will be looking to build on the successful move of our engineering provision to our Stoke campus this year and to minimise the impact on our existing students. Many jobs will transfer with the students although we do anticipate there will be a reduction in staffing associated with the merger of two campuses and we will be meeting with staff and unions as the plans are developed.”
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