In 2009, a year which will inevitably be associated with recession, the University chose to lead by example and to rise to the challenges posed in a proactive and innovative manner. In this increasingly challenging climate it was deemed vital to take steps to strengthen our institution by consolidating and enriching our core undergraduate offering, identifying and concentrating on areas in which we excel, and ensuring that we are ‘fit for purpose’ in both the short and longer term.
Arguably the most innovative development has been the complete refocusing of our undergraduate portfolio culminating in the launch of Learning Works, to be introduced in September this year. This fresh approach will enrich the student learning experience via an enhanced, employer-responsive curriculum ensuring our graduates leave us as highly employable, digitally literate and innovative individuals with an important competitive edge in the increasingly challenging job market.
Equally exciting is the University’s new Innovation and Enterprise Strategy. Developing and enhancing current activity in this area, two new Innovation and Enterprise Hubs will be created at either end of the Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor creating an environment that will stimulate and encourage enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. This will not only present fresh opportunities for our students and graduates but will also provide local businesses with the incentive to raise their research and development activities across the full range of technologies.
The newly formed continuing development company, i-CD Ltd, became fully operational this year in response to the requirement to fuel business recovery in the region. i-CD is working with employers to maximise the skills of their workforce to aid business profitability and performance.
The entrepreneurial culture at the University of Wolverhampton has grown and is now considered to be at the heart of the University’s Mission. Our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships initiative has seen an increased take-up of over 40% in the last year, contributing to the future success of the region.
Many areas of excellence have been recognised during this period. Academic quality and standards were highly commended following an official inspection by the Quality Assurance Agency and our students continued to rate highly the quality of our learning resources in the National Student Survey. In the Research Assessment Exercise, Wolverhampton was one of the two most improved post-92 universities with all eleven subject areas entered having elements deemed to be Internationally Excellent and eight having elements graded as World Leading; an achievement of which we can be justifiably proud.
We are now in an excellent position to move forward with confidence to meet the challenges which undoubtedly lie ahead for the whole Higher Education sector.
Professor Caroline Gipps
On behalf of the Board of Governors, I take great pleasure in recommending this report to you. The Annual Report provides a valuable insight into the achievements of staff and students and is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made during 2009.
I am particularly proud of the University’s engagement and participation within the region. The University’s ‘can do’ culture enables individuals to make a real difference within their local community, whilst University initiatives have an enormous, positive impact on the cultural and economic landscape of the West Midlands.
The strength of our partnerships enables us to be a force for positive change regionally, nationally and internationally. We equip our graduates with the skills to compete on a global level.
The University continues to drive innovation in teaching and learning. Entrepreneurship and enterprise permeate our highly-successful teaching, research and knowledge transfer activities, reflecting the demands of our rapidly changing economy.
I hope that you enjoy reading more about our achievements and developments.
Chairman of the Board of Governors