03 October 2012
During a recent visit to the North of England, I saw at first hand the positive impact that the N8 Research Partnership is having on the region’s economy. I also had the pleasure of opening the University of Newcastle’s new Biomedical Building, which will further enhance the university’s outstanding research record and support knowledge transfer activity between local and national businesses. This is a great example of the way in which universities, businesses and local communities can work effectively together, in this case to improve health and wellbeing. And it is, of course, yet another excellent illustration of the contribution our universities make to innovation and growth.
September saw the release of the latest National Student Survey (NSS) results, which indicate that students are more satisfied than ever before with their higher education experience at UK universities – an affirmation of the hard work and commitment of our universities and colleges to ensuring excellence in teaching and learning, and a spur to further improvement.
Students will be able to view the NSS results on the Unistats web-site, which was re-launched at the end of September. A new information resource on the web-site, the Key Information Set (KIS), presents NSS and other data about higher education courses in an accessible, user-friendly way which allows prospective students to compare information between courses. I am grateful to Professor Janet Beer and the members of the Higher Education Public information Steering Group, to HEFCE staff, and to the sector for their work on this project.
September also saw the publication of the ‘Review of Philanthropy in UK Higher Education’. It paints an encouraging picture: philanthropic donations to universities and colleges in the UK have reached their highest ever level, increasing from £513 million to £693 million in the last five years. The review, which was led by Professor Shirley Pearce, highlights the leadership shown by our universities and colleges, and emphasises the positive impact of philanthropic giving on students, whose lives are greatly enriched by the generosity of donors.
The £2 million fund to support London Metropolitan University international students affected by the UK Border Agency’s revocation of the University’s Tier 4 sponsor licence is now up and running. Students can apply to the fund, which is overseen by the task force established by the Universities Minister, for help with visa, tuition and other costs incurred as a result of the revocation. I would like to again pay tribute to the resilience and maturity shown by international students at London Metropolitan University throughout this challenging time. The task force will continue to work hard to ensure that these students can begin the new academic year, either at London Metropolitan University or at a new university or college, with minimum disruption to their studies.
Page last updated 4 October 2012