Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Optimism, Balanced with a Healthy Dose of Realism

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Optimism, Balanced with a Healthy Dose of Realism

Article excerpt

ALOT of speculation is taking place about how the new student funding system based around a form of graduate contribution will work out for English universities. Coupled with reductions in public sector spending, including higher education, universities know they are facing an increasingly uncertain future.

But Professor Graham Henderson, CBE, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Teesside University, remains confident - even if he balances optimism with a dose of realism.

"We realise we need to take action now to reduce costs and improve services to students and the businesses and other organisations we work with. But despite the 4% reduction in our grant from the funding council this year, Teesside remains a financially robust university: one that is in a better position than many to survive the uncertainties that lie ahead," he says.

"We were the top modern university in England for student satisfaction in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2010, which ranks everything from teaching quality to campus facilities and social life and, of course, we were also their University of the Year in 2009/10.

"Teesside has also been moving up the league tables, most notably going up 19 places in the rankings published by The Guardian newspaper in May and up ten places in The Times Good University Guide last month "Our reputation is growing year on year, but we're not complacent. That's why, as well as building our new campus in Darlington - which opens this September - we're upgrading the library, the Middlesbrough Tower and other buildings on our main Middlesbrough campus to improve the student experience." The big test for English universities comes, of course, next year with the new system of funding higher education, which passes more of the costs from central government to graduates.

Teesside intends to charge a full-time undergraduate fee of pounds 8,500 per annum for honours degrees and pounds 6,000 per annum for full-time foundation degrees and HNDs.

Professor Henderson says: "Given the anticipated reduction in funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, it is important that the university charges a fee that not only meets our costs, but provides a platform for the further enhancement of the quality of the student learning experience. …

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