University of Leicester announces transformative plan to pioneer a 'distinctive elite' in higher education

Posted by pt91 at Sep 22, 2015 04:00 PM |
President and Vice-Chancellor unveils strategic plan and signals new direction for the University

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 September 2015

‘As a discovery-led university, we will be ever more focused on innovation. We will make a real difference: the excellence of our research, teaching and enterprise will transform people’s lives. By being more adventurous, more ambitious and more insistent on the value of our distinctive qualities, we will have an even greater impact upon global scholarship and education. In every area, we are already developing bold initiatives that put our university at the forefront of change.’

  • Multi-million pound investment in development of campus, including a plan for a new National Space Park
  • Leicester announces most flexible undergraduate degrees programme in the UK
  • International strategy focuses on making a difference in post-conflict societies
  • ‘Graduates with talent’ education strategy
  • ‘Digital by Default’ plan as Leicester ramps up investment in technological innovation

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images.

Video: University of Leicester leaders give their thoughts on the Strategic Plan:

A transformative plan to create a university that represents a ‘distinctive elite’ in the higher education sector has been announced today by the University of Leicester.

The vision of a ‘discovery-led’ institution – in contrast to the traditional binary divide of a research-led or teaching-led institution – places innovation at the heart of Leicester as a research-intensive university which is inclusive and open to all who have talent.

Professor Paul Boyle announced the new vision for Leicester exactly a year after he took over as the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor following a comprehensive consultation programme involving staff, students, alumni and external stakeholders.

Previously, Professor Boyle was Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, the leading UK social science funding agency. He was also President of Science Europe which represents 52 science funders from 27 European countries, and International Champion of Research Councils UK.

The new plan for Leicester is published alongside a new look for Leicester- with a refreshed logo and a new website.

The multi-million pound plans include the creation of a digital campus and the launch of one of the most flexible degree curriculums in the UK.  As a key plank of the Leicester strategy, our “Pathways” approach to course design provides a dynamic response to new demands and expectations from students, employers, and government. Consequently, Leicester graduates will be even better prepared to embark on rewarding careers and to go on to make a difference in the world.

We also have ambitions to establish the National Space Park, which will be home for our world-class space and earth observation scientists and will play a crucial role in attracting high-tech companies to the city.

Professor Boyle said: “We are long-established yet focused on a future that will see us pioneering a distinctive elite of research-intensive institutions, open to all who have talent.

“As a discovery-led university, we will be ever more focused on innovation. We will make a real difference: the excellence of our research, teaching and enterprise will transform people’s lives. By being more adventurous, more ambitious and more insistent on the value of our distinctive qualities, we will have an even greater impact upon global scholarship and education. In every area, we are already developing bold initiatives that put our university at the forefront of change.

“As part of our global initiative, we will develop new research and teaching centres in places including China, Indonesia, Iraq and Kurdistan and focus our strategic partnerships in areas and regions, such as post-conflict societies, where we can make a real difference.”

Leicester has announced:

  • The creation of a National Space Park to show how universities can bring together cutting-edge science, industry, education and training. The National Space Park will drive innovation in space and Earth observation science
  • A multi-million pound new estate development plan to deliver a state-of-the art campus at the heart of Leicester’s Educational Quarter.  This includes the largest investment in medical education at any UK university in the past decade
  • Transformation of the University’s digital estate – taking a ‘digital by default’ approach to the development of facilities
  • New research institutes bringing together different disciplines and research networks
  • Development of “Pathways”, which provides one of the most flexible curriculums in the UK – allowing students to combine disciplines in new ways to suit their interests and ambitions
  • Increasing ‘access to university’ opportunities for people from disadvantaged and socially excluded backgrounds with the aim of supporting how universities nationwide can best contribute to improving social mobility
  • Cognisant of our unique multicultural setting, we will take a leading role in the sector in respecting diversity and equality issues more broadly.  We are committing to building on work with the city and beyond to improve economic, social and cultural well-being, the environment and health

Professor Boyle said: “Leicester has already been selected by the United Nations as one of only 10 global universities championing gender equality through the HeForShe movement and we intend to increase the impact of our external engagement, social responsibility and outreach activities.

“As members of one of the most international universities in the UK, our students and staff will become increasingly mindful of their role in understanding and meeting global challenges and opportunities, while always continuing to focus on their contribution to our city and region. We will develop and vigorously pursue an agenda of social responsibility and sustainability that is global, national and local. Working with institutions in our own region, we will take a strong lead in enhancing Leicester’s future.

“To make an even greater difference, we will launch a new campaign—PROUD—focused on ways in which we can help our city meet its most significant environmental, social, community relations and educational challenges. These include:

  • Promoting Health & Wellbeing
  • Restoring Our Environment
  • Opening Access To Culture & Heritage
  • Upskilling for 21st Century
  • Developing Children & Young People

“In collaboration with funding, business and local stakeholders, we will launch a National Space Park. Focusing our world-class strengths in space and Earth Observation science, this national centre for undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship training will provide a new anchor for a vital British industry. It will play a key part in realising the ambition that our cutting-edge translational research and enterprise enriches the local and regional economy and fuels the Midlands as an engine of future growth.”

Professor Boyle said Leicester was determined to improve the student experience as well as graduate employability. Leicester has been ranked as the 25th most targeted university by the Times 100 Graduate Employers.

He said: “In order to foster students’ employability and success in professional careers, we are engaging employers and graduate recruiters even more directly in our curriculum and teaching through advisory boards, co-authoring of provision, co-funded studentships, student enterprise projects and start-up schemes, and ‘earn and learn’ degrees.

“As learning takes place inside and outside the classroom, we will ensure that every undergraduate and postgraduate student has an opportunity to share the outcomes of research-informed learning with a variety of our partners and to engage with the local and global community, as a volunteer, peer mentor, ambassador, intern or guide. We will also make increased use of our alumni as mentors and role models.”

The wide-ranging strategic plan will also see increased investment in entrepreneurial activities, a new streamlined collegiate structure and a programme to nurture talent at all levels and tailor support to the different stages of the research career.

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS:

You can interview University leaders about the plan by arrangement via the Press Office:  0116 252 3335 or email pressoffice@le.ac.uk

What makes Leicester distinctive?

We aim above all for excellence. We enjoy an enviable record of research discoveries, a flair for teaching innovation and proven success in broadening access to higher education. We are long-established yet focused on a future that will see us pioneering a distinctive elite of research-intensive institutions, open to all who have talent, in which . . .

excellence and interdisciplinarity in research and learning are not simply espoused but delivered
• the synergy between research and learning is truly at the core of our activity
• a commitment to innovation, enterprise and partnership underpins everything that we do
a student-centred approach and wider participation are fundamental commitments, not afterthoughts
• we do everything we can to recognise diversities, achieve equalities and enable all of our staff and our students to be people who flourish
• we are proud of our local impact and making a difference for our city and region
• a growing global presence is matched by a focus on internationalisation that expands the horizons of all of our staff and students
• a welcoming and cohesive campus experience facilitates collaboration and fosters a distinctive sense of partnership between staff and student

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