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A Catalyst for Change

2010 will be remembered as a landmark year for UK higher education. The long awaited Browne review suggested sweeping changes in the way higher education was to be funded from 2012 onwards. The coalition government adopted certain parts of the review and as a result, UK universities face a reduction of up to 90% in direct funding. The new framework places the burden of funding for participation in higher education onto graduates, but retains the no up-front fee principle for undergraduates. The University has clearly stated its view on these developments. As 2010 came to an end, it was apparent that the new framework was going to be a reality.

In September 2010, ‘Learning Works’, the title for the new undergraduate curriculum, went live. We followed this with the launch of a postgraduate curriculum review in the autumn. The approach to curriculum development at the University has three main foci; to be innovative pedagogically, to enrich the student experience and to produce graduates who succeed in their chosen career paths. The University launched the Institute of Gaming and Animation, and the Institute of Media Arts, to support cross disciplinary study and to aid students engaging with industry.

The new Innovation and Enterprise Strategy began to bear fruit. The successful relocation of the Business School to the City Campus paved the way for infrastructure developments to ensure that our role in Telford was strengthened to support business growth.

A unique collaborative partnership between Wolverhampton City Council, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, City of Wolverhampton College, Business Link West Midlands and the University, resulted in the launch of the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre. The Centre supports regional business needs with knowledge and enterprise expertise from partners.

This year saw the launch of the Brain Tumour UK Neuro-Oncology Research Centre in partnership with the charity Brain Tumour UK. Praise for our research in Dance Medicine and Science was received from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This culminated in the University co-hosting with the Birmingham Royal Ballet the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Conference in October 2010.

During the year the University engaged in a search for a new Vice-Chancellor following the announcement of my retirement. The search attracted a high number of excellent candidates from the higher education sector and I am delighted to announce that Professor Geoff Layer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Bradford will take up the role in August 2011.

The University, and indeed the sector as a whole, faces some considerable challenges in the next five to ten years. We are however, confident that our sound financial position and ability to innovate and be enterprising puts us in a strong position for the future.

Professor Caroline Gipps

On behalf of the Board of Governors, I take great pleasure in commending this report to you. It provides a valuable insight into the achievements of staff and students and the considerable progress the University has made during 2010.

The University has established solid foundations regionally and nationally under Professor Caroline Gipps’ leadership and our global reach has been further extended this year through partnerships in the Middle East, Cyprus and most recently Mauritius. Caroline retires in July, and I would like to thank her on behalf of the University for her drive and commitment which has resulted in a strong and robust institution, well placed to tackle the challenges that the higher education sector is undoubtedly going to face over the next few years.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of overseeing the recruitment and appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, who joins us on 1 August 2011. Geoff will lead the University into a dramatically changed environment and I am confident that his expertise and leadership will ensure the University’s success for many years to come.

I hope that you enjoy reading more about our achievements and developments over the past twelve months.

Michael Elliott
Chair of the Board of Governors