TEESSIDE is already widely recognised as one of England's premier universities for widening participation. Now it wants to become one of the country's best universities for getting students into jobs requiring graduate skills.
It's a goal the university is nudging closer to as more and more employers turn to Teesside to recruit their graduates. Major employers such as the police and the health service also see the advantage of working closely with Teesside University to design and develop tailor-made courses to equip people for future employment. And now others like the North East Process Industry Cluster, the Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board and the North East Chamber of Commerce are helping Teesside extend its reputation as one of the UK's leading employer-facing institutions of higher education.
The quality of the university's courses is also gaining increasing recognition from professional organisations which, in turn, is leading to an expanding portfolio of professionally accredited degrees.
Vice-Chancellor Graham Henderson is in no doubt about the importance of external endorsement and was delighted when this year's Guardian University Guide put Teesside in number one spot for teaching Mechanical Engineering. The university also gained its best ever position in the recent Sunday Times university league table.
And it is not just the league tables that point to the university's improved performance. This year's National Student Survey, which ranks universities on the basis of direct feedback from students, put Teesside in the top quartile of all UK universities for student satisfaction for the fourth year running.
"Our provision is seen and recognised as being among the best in the country. But we can't stand still as we want to attract as many people to study at the University of Teesside as possible," said Professor Henderson.
"Students, and their parents, are increasingly looking for universities to provide an excellent student experience, covering everything from an attractive campus to the number and quality of staff and good social life. So, if we want to continue to grow and succeed we have to provide a student experience that is second to none, and I think we're getting there."
Last year the university invested heavily in new and refurbished science laboratories and opened three new buildings - the Athena Centre for Creative Technology, the Phoenix Institute of Digital Innovation and the Cook Building, with its principal focus on Design education.
"This had a hugely positive impact upon recruitment and attainment of students within our Schools of Science and Technology, Computing and Arts and Media. …