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University aims to become 'indispensable' to business

July 10 2013

Glyndŵr University aims to become an “indispensable partner” in the economic and social development of Wales.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Scott, says higher education institutions need to think “lean” when it comes to internal management and interaction with business.

Speaking at a meeting of the Secretary of State for Wales’ Business Advisory Group at Whitehall today (Tuesday), where he was joined by representatives from firms including General Dynamics, Dragon LNG, Toyota, and Airbus, Prof Scott revealed how the Wrexham University is playing a vital role in “wealth creation” in north east Wales and across the UK.

“Universities can no longer be detached entities feeding on and developing their own sense and definition of value,” he said.

“The regional, national and international marketplace demands greater inclusivity from them. 

“The 21st Century University has to be responsive to the global changing demands of wealth creation and its attendant cultural issues in the context of the responsible and culturally valid ethical diversity of its stakeholders. 

“It cannot take the UK or indeed the Western mean to be the only international standard of activity. This raises myriad issues for Universities large or small which admit international students on to their UK campuses or establish tailor made international centres in London or other major UK cities.

“More acutely however it raises significant issues when campuses or centres are created abroad in response to the changing demands of wealth creation in a global market place.”

Prof Scott added: “The University has to ask itself where its responsibilities and loyalties lie within the wider reach it has extended for itself.

“Are they to its country of inception or that of its new location under whose legislation it has to operate? What influence do new international stakeholders have over the traditional UK values of University autonomy?”

The group also heard from Prof Scott how research expertise developed in universities – including Glyndŵr Innovations in St Asaph, named fastest growing company in Wales last year - can be applied locally and nationally to create jobs and attract investment.

“The 19th even 20th century concepts of 'the University purpose, function and identity' are proving inadequate,” said Prof Scott.

“No longer can Glyndŵr University, for example, simply define itself by itself since it is starting to be newly 'defined' by the corporate partnership approach which it is advocating in north east Wales.

“Stakeholder influence is naturally challenging Senate's autonomy over the nature of its offerings. Yet Senate has the responsibility to ensure that the UK standard and expectation for the awards it makes are met.”

He added: “In Glyndŵr University's case the QAA recently confirmed that this is the case in all areas of activity.

“In such circumstances however Universities generally have to be clear about their changing identity not only economically but ethically and whereas UK validating Universities their loyalties and responsibilities lie.

"Glyndŵr University wishes to become an indispensable partner in the economic and social development of its region and country. Its challenge is to deliver what it advocates for both whilst expanding elsewhere.”


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