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Professor Robert Cormack Universities and Society: Engaging Stakeholders EUA Conference Marseille, 1-3 April, 2004 Creating the University of the Highlands.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Robert Cormack Universities and Society: Engaging Stakeholders EUA Conference Marseille, 1-3 April, 2004 Creating the University of the Highlands."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Robert Cormack Universities and Society: Engaging Stakeholders EUA Conference Marseille, 1-3 April, 2004 Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands

2 Development of Universities in Scotland Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  The Ancients (14th & 15 th Centuries): St Andrews; Glasgow; Aberdeen; Edinburgh  The ‘Chartered’ Universities (1960s): Strathclyde; Heriot Watt; Dundee; Stirling  The Post-1992 Universities: Abertay; Paisley; Robert Gordon; Napier; Glasgow Caledonian

3 Universities and Regional Development Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands ‘Great economies are built on great universities’ Bill Joy, former CEO of Sun Systems “The University of the Highlands & Islands is of huge significance… It is much the most important project to have been launched in the Highlands & Islands for many decades. It is vital therefore that UHI grows, succeeds and prospers.” Dr Jim Hunter, Chairman, Highlands & Islands Enterprise

4 Development of UHI Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  1992 Barail Conference on Skye – the Hills report  1996 Millennium Commission funding – plus project funding from HIE, Scottish Office/Executive, European Union and local councils  2001 Higher Education Institution status and recurrent funding from SHEFC  2007 – University status?

5 Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Fourteen academic partners  Further education colleges  Specialist colleges  Research institutions  Over fifty outreach learning centres  Using technology to link real people in real places

6 UHI and the Region Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Economic development  Social and cultural development  Retaining young people in the H & I  Attracting young people to the H & I  Providing for lifelong learning and CPD

7 UHI Profile ( ) Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands Students - head count4500 Students - full-time equivalent3729 Part-time students42% Mature (25 years and over)60% Staff on academic register598 TurnoverCirca £23m

8 Academic Provision Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  A broadly-based curriculum widely available throughout the network  Specialist courses and centres built on culture, heritage, natural environment and industries of the region  Continuous professional development meeting needs of local employers – but also available beyond the Highlands and Islands

9 Madeleine Crawford Argyll College UHI  Previously studied with Open University but clashed with family commitments  Enrolled for UHI BA rural development studies through Argyll College  Could study locally, full-time with access to after school care for children and also continue with part-time work  Studied by video-conference, joining with students from Fort William, Oban, Stornoway, Elgin and Orkney Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands

10 Research Opportunities - One Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Environmental Science (SAMS & North Highland College)  Aquaculture (NAFC)  Nuclear Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation (NHC)  Renewable Energy  UHI Social Policy Network

11 Research Opportunities - Two Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Agronomy (Orkney College)  Theology (Highland Theological College)  Archaeology (Orkney College)  Gaelic Language and Culture (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)  Health (Ness Foundation)

12 Framework of governance and management Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands Board of governors Foundation Executive boardAcademic council Faculties (3) Subject networks (17) Sub-committees Academic planning committee Principal Executive office

13 Political Commitment Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands “I don’t believe anybody should be in any doubt about the strategic importance of establishing a university in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland. For opportunities for young people and for adults, but also as a symbol of the ambition and importance of this area - not just within Scotland, but within Europe more widely and I’m very clear this is a flagship Scottish ambition and it’s one that I share.” - First Minister, Rt Hon Jack McConnell MSP, speaking at the Convention of the Highlands & Islands, in Oban, October 2002.

14 A Prototype University for the 21 st Century? Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands “Is UHI really a prototype university for the 21 st century? Very likely. It certainly represents a radical break from higher education tradition within the British Commonwealth and clearly challenges the prevailing worldwide university model. Notably, it incorporates contemporary good practice from around the world, anticipating many of the recommendations contained in recent higher education assessments by the Dearing Commission (UK), the Delors Commission (UNESCO), the OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education” etc W.Saint,

15 EUA: Challenges Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Gaining university title  Designing, funding and supporting the development of online course provision  Rationalising, consolidating and developing portfolio of courses across the UHI partnership  Funding to take account of provision in remote and rural areas  Funding to build up research infrastructure

16 EUA: Mission and Strategy Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands “To create in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland a collegiate university which will reach the highest standards and play a pivotal role in our educational, economic, social and cultural development.”  Close links to H & I communities through UHI’s 14 Academic Partners  Close involvement in UHI affairs through the UHI Foundation  Extensive links to similar institutions and/or areas throughout Europe and wider afield, e.g. University of the Arctic, universities in the Caribbean, Royal University of Bhutan  Currently recruiting students in China and North America

17 EUA: Obstacles Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  Single national/legal route to university title – not suited to UHI, its structures and its mission  Federal and collegiate structures have advantages in terms of harnessing community strengths but difficulties in governance and management  Growing a university from institutions which are essentially tertiary/vocational providers – again strengths and weaknesses  External stakeholders in the H & I strongly supportive but more divided elsewhere in Scotland – ‘we have enough universities’, ‘we need more plumbers’

18 EUA: Successes and Lessons Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands  UHI has been the creation of people in communities in the H & I supported by political leaders – not the result of government planning by civil servants  Lesson – civil servants tend to be bound by existing models and frameworks  Not an ‘off the shelf’ organisational model  Lesson - need to develop self-confidence in designing a model appropriate to the special and specific circumstances of UHI

19 Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands “Overcoming the tyranny of geography.”


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