Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) announced today that one its members, Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln, UK, is being elevated to university status. The British Government announced in June that it would reduce the number of students required for an institution to be able to use the university title from 4,000 to 1,000. This week the Universities Minister David Willetts confirmed that ten institutions including Bishop Grosseteste in Lincoln have met the new criteria.
“2012 has been a very special year for our institution, one in which we have celebrated 150 years of higher education in Lincoln”, said Professor Muriel Robinson, who will become the first Vice Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University. “To be able to take our place alongside other UK universities is a symbolic moment for us which recognises the excellent teaching and research which goes on at BG.”
Under the previous rules only institutions with 4,000 or more students could use the title university. Smaller institutions were called university colleges, but now all higher education institutions with more than 1,000 students have the right to apply to call themselves a university. This brings the UK regulations in line with practice elsewhere in the world, where small and specialist universities are common. BG has around 2,000 students, and Professor Robinson is convinced that university status will benefit the institution and its students.
“Until now there has been confusion among prospective students and employers about what a university college is”, she said. “We have 150 years of history, we enjoy an excellent reputation and we have awarded our own degrees since 2006, but the university college title has been a brake on our ability to recruit students and secure the recognition our work deserves. Now we will be able to compete with other universities on a level playing field.”
Canon James Callaway, CUAC's General Secretary noted: “Bishop Grosseteste now has become what it is: a wide reaching center of studies where students, undergraduate and graduate, come together to pursue a wide range of disciplines and programs. This is an great example of where the system can work."