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The new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester has announced that the University intends to take on a more significant role in the region in the new Millennium.
Professor Robert Burgess, who succeeds Dr Kenneth Edwards as Vice-Chancellor on October 1, said that he aims to develop the University of Leicester so as to provide leading edge research and teaching.
He said the University intends to forge closer links with business and industry and will aim to provide courses that are more widely accessible.
"My task is to ensure that Leicester stays at the forefront of all its activities with the support of every member of staff in the University, as each person is an essential member of the Leicester team," he said in an article to be published in the University newsletter, Bulletin.
Professor Burgess stressed the need for the University to think about the opportunities brought about by lifelong learning - allowing people to access higher education at different stages, be it undergraduate, postgraduate, continuing professional development and adult education.
The University of Leicester also needs to advance its links with business and industry as well as the local community. He said: "All universities need to be responsive to the communities in which they are located. In this respect Leicester needs to link with the locality and the region offering support and services to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.
"If the University can do this locally, it gives it a strong base from which to develop activities nationally and internationally. For example, some of the facilities need to be opened up to members of the community, more conferences need to be attracted to the University and people working in business, industry and commerce need to be persuaded that the University of Leicester wishes to engage in activities with them by providing research support and advice and also developing short courses for their staff.
"In this respect the University has the opportunity to enhance its relationship with a range of communities who can contribute to the development of a vibrant University."
Professor Burgess added that, like other universities, Leicester faced challenges in the new Millennium, particularly at a time when resources are being reduced: "In these circumstances, the University will need to think about ways it can provide a range of academic and commercial services in order to generate additional resources that can be used to enhance the academic activities that it wishes to promote."
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Professor Burgess is the University of Leicester's fifth Vice-Chancellor. He is former Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick and he has also served on a range of external bodies, including over the years being President of the British Sociological Association, President of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences and Founding Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education. He is currently a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Council and also Chair of the Council's Training Board.
The University already plays a significant regional role, upon which Professor Burgess intends to build:
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