Expanding new university ‘will keep character’

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THE NEW vice chancellor of Leeds Trinity University has outlined plans to raise its international profile and expands its academic research as it looks to establish itself as a university.

The institution has undergone major change having been granted full university status last month, appointing television presenter Gabby Logan as its first ever chancellor and taking on Professor Margaret House as a new vice chancellor in the past week.

Prof House told the Yorkshire Post that the university would look to expand but without changing its character.

It is also launching a range of new degree courses from this September – including some fast- tracked two-year programmes.

Prof House highlighted the university’s appointment of Gabby Logan as its first ever chancellor this week as a major boost in raising awareness about Leeds Trinity.

“The reaction to Gabby’s arrival has been one of great excitement. Students appreciate that she has accepted the role and everyone is very excited especially sports and journalism students because they know that here is someone that really understands their background.

“Because of the sort of character and personality she has she will be able to relate to all of our students.

“Gabby’s work ethic and her morale values equate very well to the ethos of the university and it is great for us that she is local to Leeds,” she said.

Prof House said Leeds Trinity would look to increase its international student intake by looking to partner up with universities abroad as well as by identifying areas of the world where students might want to study at the institution

She said: “We will be looking to expand, particularly in terms of international students. We do not want to expand too much as Leeds Trinity has a community spirit which we feel is key to preserve. We want to increase the diversity of the university.

“This is something I was involved in at Middlesex University which had a very large international student population. We need to encourage more students to come to Leeds Trinity on undergraduate and post graduate courses.

“We need to find countries or regions within countries where students might have a similar ethos to ours and want to study in the environment which Leeds Trinity University can provide,” she added.

“For example Brazil is a country where there is a real under supply of higher education.”

When Prof House’s appointment was first announced last year it was as principal and chief executive of Leeds Trinity University College.

However, its successful bid to get full university status from the Privy Council last month means she has started the job this month as vice chancellor.

She said: “Full university status was always part and parcel of the job I was taking. If we had not achieved it yet then it would have been one of my first priorities. Getting the university title allows us to focus on relaunching the institution nationally and internationally.”

However, she added that Leeds Trinity had already been operating as a university in all but name as it was already awarding its own degrees. The institution will launch 18 new degree courses from September which includes a series of accelerated two-year programmes

With the rise in tuition fees Leeds Trinity says the new courses have been created to allow students to graduate sooner and “develop more of the skills that employers demand from graduates”.

A spokeswoman added: “Leeds Trinity already works with thousands of employers to offer professional work placements with every degree, and through these relationships, we’ve listened to the skills employers want from their workforce and developed our portfolio of undergraduate courses to reflect this.”

New courses on offer from this year include two-year degree programmes in management; tourism and leisure management; primary education PE and sport and secondary education PE and sport.

The new three-year degree programmes include broadcast journalism, digital and social media and magazine journalism.

Prof House said: “Last year we did a review of our courses and from September we are offering a whole new suite of qualifications, including some two-year courses which will help to attract a different kind of student.”

She said one of the areas she would look at was identifying gaps in the university’s post-graduate courses and she would also consider in which fields the university could develop its research further.

However, Prof House said Leeds Trinity would always remain teaching focused and would look to retain its “distinctive” character. She added: “One of the problems post 1992 universities have is making themselves distinctive. Leeds Trinity, because of its size and campus, has a real community feel that is very distinctive.”

Gabby Logan was announced as chancellor on Monday as she visited the Horsforth campus for the first time. During her visit she was interviewed by journalism student Sammy Parker at the university’s television studio and was able to give tips to students

She said: “The advice I have given to broadcast journalists is the same I would give to all students which is to put yourself forward for work experience. Do not be scared of rejection – if you are willing to keep showing that you want to work then someone will open a door for you.

“Higher education was very important to me. I was the first person in my family to go to university so I know the impact it can both from a cultural perspective – bringing young people from different walks of life together – but also in making young people more employable for their future.”