Suffolk: University in bid for independence
- Credit: Archant
UNIVERSITY Campus Suffolk is on the verge of gaining independent status which is likely to result in a name change.
Currently the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex jointly validate all UCS degrees. But UCS now wants to move towards a new structure and start the process of gaining its own degree-awarding powers. If successful, it would be awarded a university title and become the first independent university in Suffolk – and UCS would also be rebranded.
Professor Mike Saks, provost of UCS, said: “We have reached a stage of maturity in terms of our big success factors in employability, the quality of staff and the metrics we have produced in national student surveys which indicate we have everything we need to become a proper independent university.
“We required the support of our two universities to move forward and at this stage they are convinced that, having undertaken due diligence, we have reached a watershed where we should be able to go it alone.”
The proposal has been backed by the vice-chancellors of both the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex as well as partner colleges in the UCS Learning Network.
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Prof Saks added: “We are looking at a variety of names for the future and it’s almost certain the name will change from UCS.
“University of Suffolk is one of the names up there but a board decision will be needed on our direction as we do see our roots heavily in Suffolk.”
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Partner colleges will continue to form key partnership work with UCS and Prof Saks sees them as a “unique selling point”. “We are very proud of the fact that colleges are centrally involved as part of UCS as an entity and we think they make a tremendous difference,” he added.
The move to independence will trigger more funding for UCS and Prof Saks said he is not anticipating a “dramatic change” to student fees.
“We are committed to providing great higher education for the community and more cosmopolitan community,” he added.
The process of gaining degree awarding powers and independent university title is not likely to be completed until summer 2015 at the earliest.
Professor Edward Acton, chairman of the UCS board, said: “This is clearly a significant point in the development of UCS and potentially a historic moment for both UCS and Suffolk as a whole. UCS has grown at a rapid pace since it opened in 2007 and now is the right time for UCS to seek to move towards independence.”