Canterbury plans £40m spend to build on 'university' title

October 6, 2006

Canterbury Christ Church University has announced a £40 million development plan intended to "secure its reputation" after obtaining the coveted university title last year.

The Christian institution is planning extensive new facilities for students and it intends to apply for permission to award its own research degrees.

The university's Strategic Plan 2006-10 also outlines the development of a £30 million learning resource centre at Augustine House in Canterbury, and £10 million worth of enhancements to sport and music facilities.

Student numbers are projected to increase 2 per cent a year, following 5 per cent rises in each of the past three years.

The university, which opened in the 1960s as a teacher-training college with an intake of just 500, now has almost 14,000 students.

Previous growth was largely supported by the development of a fourth campus at Chatham, which opened in 2004, to supplement the existing campuses in Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells and Broadstairs.

Michael Wright, the vice-chancellor, believes that the university is well placed to obtain full PhD-awarding powers from the Quality Assurancy Agency within 12 months.

"We must build on the strengths that earned us the title of university and take this next step to further secure our reputation," Dr Wright said.

Dennis Hayes, the acting University and College Union branch secretary, welcomed the move towards gaining research degree-awarding powers, but cautioned that "research is really not part of the culture here. We are extremely teaching focused."

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