Colleges–University of Leicester Network (CULN)

Comprising 20 Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges, and two Higher Education Institutions across the East and West Midlands, the Colleges-University of Leicester Network (CULN) exists to optimise collaboration between Further and Higher Education Institutions for the benefit of staff and learners.

CULN was set up in 2001 by the Institute of Lifelong Learning at the University of Leicester. It represents the single largest grouping of Further and Higher Education Institutions in the central Midlands.

What does CULN do?

  • Fosters a cooperative relationship between its members, promoting greater collaboration, particularly in terms of the contemporary lifelong learning agenda and in widening access to higher education.
  • Provides a network for sharing information about lifelong learning and other opportunities, enabling staff to work together in their respective fields.
  • Creates further links with businesses and local communities, in order to promote fair access and progression to HE and FE, and assists in developing a regional lifelong learning network.

How does CULN work?

The network has a two-tier structure:

  • A strategic committee debates policy and oversees the activities of the CULN working groups and projects
  • An operational tier of working groups of FE and HE practitioners discuss and plan CULN activities

CULN currently supports 10 working groups, including curriculum-specific groups, (such as Chemistry, Sociology, Psychology and English), and more cross-cutting groups, (such as Librarians/IT, Employability and International Students).

The network provides flexible mechanisms to enable FE and HE institutions in the region to collaborate on a variety of matters of common interest, such as qualifications, student activities, progression, research and staff CPD. 

The network develops by responding to changing needs and priorities so that working groups are formed and dissolved as required.

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