[Press and Public Relations] Blueprint for Future Success as University of Leicester Reaches 'Pivotal Point' in its History, says Vice-Chancellor



February 2002

No 41

University set to build upon record achievements

  A blueprint for the future development of the University of Leicester, helping to enhance its position as one of the foremost teaching and research universities in the UK, is being established.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Robert Burgess told the University’s Court - made up of academic and public representatives – that a site development plan for the University from 2002 to 2050 was among a number of ways in which strategic thinking was being shaped and developed.

As part of its programme to build for the future, the University - which is celebrating its 80th Anniversary – is establishing new centres of excellence in science and medicine.

This year a £30 million investment will result in two new buildings on campus, the creation of new laboratories and the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, a £3 million refurbishment programme is being undertaken. Work on the erection of the new Biomedical Sciences building is due to start next week.

The University also aims to strengthen its reputation for excellence. Professor Burgess said: “The University has achieved an unbroken run of 12 scores of Excellent for its teaching quality from the Quality Assurance Agency and has the rare distinction of achieving five consecutive maximum scores.  In total, the University has been assessed as offering Excellent teaching in 18 subject areas.

“This is one of the factors that has helped propel the University into the top 20 universities of the UK, as determined by the Sunday Times and the Financial Times. Another factor is the success of our research activity – the University has attracted a record of over £33 million last year for research and in the national Research Assessment Exercise, 84% of staff were deemed to be conducting research of  national and international quality.

“This year, there has been record recruitment with 2,400 new undergraduates and the number of students registered with the University has risen to its highest ever total – 18,500.

“We have launched a number of new undergraduate degree programmes which are proving to be very popular, including Criminology, Film Studies and Management Studies.  We have also been successful in a national competition to launch two successful Foundation degrees for classroom teaching assistants and in security management.”

Professor Burgess also highlighted the University’s commitment to widening participation and lifelong learning – areas of activity that had won particular praise from Education and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris during her visit to the University last month.

“The University has been engaged in a comprehensive programme of widening participation over a number of years and is working in collaboration with other universities, colleges, schools and community organisations to increase opportunities for participation in higher education.

“This remains our firm commitment. We will continue to focus on those communities that have been identified nationally as facing particular barriers to higher education. In this context, the University is pleased to be involved in the official launch of the new Bangladesh Youth and Cultural Shomiti UK online centre.”

Professor Burgess added that the University of Leicester would continue to play a strategic role in regional affairs, particularly by linking in with key businesses and organisations.

“The University of Leicester is a major employer, has an annual turnover of £130 million and plays a pivotal role in raising the profile of the city, county and region. In celebrating our 80th Anniversary, we stand at a pivotal point in our development. I have every confidence that this University, thanks to its staff and students, is going to be an even greater success.”


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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 21 February 2002 15:30
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