A Highland University now exists at Inverness College, according to Andrew Miller, principal of Stirling University.
Twenty-eight students this week graduated in Inverness with Stirling University degrees in business administration and computing science. The full-time degrees have been jointly developed by both institutions. Professor Miller said that next year closer to 100 university students would graduate in a wider range of subjects.
Now that Inverness College had pioneered this route to a university of the Highlands, the next step would be to extend it to other colleges. "Following this, it would be natural as the subject range builds up for Inverness College to explore the possibility of university college status, possibly with other colleges as a university college federation," he said.
But Professor Miller stressed that even university college status should be seen as an intermediate step in the evolution of an independent Highland university. "The Inverness-Stirling association is quite distinct from franchising or even validating the work at Inverness. It is aimed at developing a strong, homegrown, stable academic faculty in the Highlands which will eventually be fully independent with its own research programme as well as the teaching programme."
College principal James Hedley said this was the first time Highland students had successfully completed a full-time course and graduated at their home base.