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WGU ten years

Bright future for University, says Interim Vice-Chancellor


June 4, 2015

Glyndŵr University is on course for financial stability and a bright future.

Interim Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Upton, is steering the University into calmer waters and has made huge strides since arriving in Wrexham in January.

Supported by Assistant Vice Chancellor Louise Casella, Interim Director of Finance Eugene McCrossan and Director of Operations, Lynda Powell, Professor Upton has already identified a distinct vision for Glyndŵr.

Academic and operational quality are at the top of his list of priorities, but most important is student satisfaction, retention and painting a clearer picture about what Glyndŵr University is all about, who it caters for and the direction it will travel in years to come.

“I’ve only been here a short amount of time but what became apparent from day one is that we have a team of people who want to see this University succeed,” said Professor Upton.

“That’s also the case when I’ve been speaking to businesses and other organisations locally and across the country – nobody wants to see Glyndŵr in the challenging positions it has faced in recent times.”

He added: “When I arrived I knew difficult decisions would have to be made, and that is still the case, with negotiations ongoing in certain areas to obtain financial stability and a surplus for 2015/16.

“This is achievable, as is the desire to give our students a first class education and a social experience they will remember positively when they graduate.

“A strong period of recruitment will strengthen that vision - and we are pleased to see more students accepting offers of places with us this year - but there is still more to do.

“Attracting students is a big challenge for the sector, and we are working hard to get them here this September, but I would encourage all staff to keep focused on that target and to work together to put us in the best position possible.”

Referring to the recently-published accounts for 2013/14, Professor Upton said the University had anticipated a deficit and must now focus on strengthening its financial position following last year’s operational and academic restructure and the reinstatement of its licence to sponsor international students.

A decrease in funding from Hefcw for the coming 12 months was also “disappointing” given the University’s provision of part-time education, but he welcomed extra QR capital received following the University’s successful results in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Reinvigorated relations with stakeholders and partners must be a key component of any future plans, added Professor Upton. 

“We are already very much a partnership university and have a number of strong and long-established relationships with other universities, further education colleges, public sector organisations and a range of businesses and industrial companies in the region,” he said.

“The challenge is to strengthen these foundations that have been in place for many years and for the mutual benefit of the various communities which we serve, enabling us to better meet the needs and interests of our students and contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.”

He added: “I think the time is right to look at the achievements of the last seven years and reflect on how far the University has come in a short amount of time.

“This year is also about learning from mistakes and creating a more vibrant and positive community here at Glyndŵr. I’m already seeing signs of that and am eager to spread the message that while we welcome students from all over the world, of all ages and from all backgrounds, the community of north east Wales is hugely important to all of us.

“It’s a family – the Glyndŵr family – and we want everyone to feel a part of that as the University moves forward into a new era in its short history.”

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