University's financial performance among best in UK
Vice-Chancellor highlights rapid growth in turnover
The University of Leicester’s improvement in financial performance over the past four years is among the best of any UK university, it has been revealed.
It means the University can aspire to achieve projects it could once only dream about, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess told the 47th annual meeting of the Court, the University’s governing body. In his annual report to academic and lay members, Professor Burgess focused on the theme Developing Institutional Performance and highlighted the changes that had occurred since 1999 when he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor.
“This is my fifth year, and it provides me with an opportunity to compare trend data on how the University has developed,” said Professor Burgess. “When people think about higher education, they have a series of perceptions by which they evaluate a university – I want to focus on five of these:
“When I came to Leicester, indeed one of the factors that attracted me to the post, was the huge potential the University had - it wanted to succeed, and wanted to be placed among those universities that were highly ranked.
“Where did we stand in 1999? At that time the Council and the University had watched the delivery of deficits for seven years, apart from one year when the University sold a parcel of land in Northampton. The profile of the University was as follows:
“The University also had many distinctive features, not least the fact that its student population was 50% postgraduate. The University staff had huge potential –I am very impressed with activities that professorial staff engage in and the levels of research grant and contract income earned by members of staff – but I am sure they can impress me even more and set higher records.”
Professor Burgess cited areas that are being developed, for example Criminology, as an area of social science research that linked policy and practice, and which impinged on the natural sciences and the life sciences. It is the University’s ambition to build that department up to a very high order in terms of research and teaching. Related multidisciplinary work in subjects like Psychiatry, Law, Genetics, Pathology and Psychology could be pulled together and developed even further to provide a very strong research base, he said.
In Arts, he highlighted how Leicester had achieved great renown for Combined Arts and he said the provision of new joint honours degrees in the Faculty of Arts was now a fast growing and exciting development. “People can see we have quality degrees and we need to repackage them and offer them in different ways,” he said.
Commenting on the type of university Leicester is, Professor Burgess said the term Civic University reflected the ethos and aspiration of Leicester: “It is very important that the University interacts with society and contributes to it. The University has to be very good internationally and locally – as I said when I arrived here, “If we want to be good in New York, we have to be good in Oadby”.
“The international University impacts on the region in many ways, by providing high quality teachers, social workers, doctors, lawyers and more who all contribute to the locality. This is also why Court is so important as it re-emphasizes our connection with Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and the wider region.” In this context, Professor Burgess highlighted how Leicester had extended its network of links with HE and FE colleges, and particularly associations with Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln and Newman College in Birmingham.
“We see great potential for the work we can do with these colleges and this will in turn have an impact on our interaction in the wider region.”
The Vice-Chancellor praised staff and their enthusiasm to succeed: “One thing that is exceedingly important about the University is the culture that exists and the enthusiasm of its members. A University is only as good as the enthusiasm, the energy, the effort and expertise that can be contributed by its members – that underpins the whole of the attributes that we have at the University,” he said.
Professor Burgess highlighted another critical success factor for the university - the increase in student recruitment:
Turning to the running of the University, Professor Burgess said: “Running a University with a turnover of £155m is like running a company with higher education at its heart. The objective is to produce surpluses which are ploughed back into the academic development of the University.”
Professor Burgess highlighted how total income for the year was now over £155m while expenditure was £152.5m generating a surplus of £2.5m.
Leicester is in or around the top 20 in many media league tables and has been named in the top 20 UK universities for three consecutive years by the Financial Times and has been cited as 102nd in a world ranking of universities.
Last updated: 9 March 2004 16:40
Created by: Barbara Whiteman
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