Glyndwr v-c attempts to draw line under university’s troubles

Glyndwr University’s new interim vice-chancellor Graham Upton has said the troubled institution is “on course for financial stability” despite a turbulent few years.

June 7, 2015

Professor Upton, who arrived at the Wrexham university in January after the sudden departure of vice-chancellor Michael Scott, claims that Glyndwr has “made huge strides” in his first few months in office.

In a statement published on 5 June, he said that “difficult decisions would have to be made” and that “negotiations [are] ongoing in certain areas to obtain financial stability and a surplus for 2015-16”.

But this aim was “achievable”, adding he is “pleased to see more students accepting offers of places with us this year”.

The arrival of Professor Upton, a former vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, follows an unsettled period, which has included the institution having its licence to recruit international students suspended in June 2014 before it was regained in November. It was also told to end operations at its London campus, while it is still allowed to enrol only a limited number of foreign students at its Welsh campus.

The episode follows other financial difficulties, which were underlined by the publication in May – long after most other UK higher education institutions – of the university’s accounts for 2013-14. These confirm a deficit of about £4 million for 2013-14, similar to 2012-13.

Professor Upton said that the university had anticipated a deficit and must now focus on strengthening its financial position following last year’s operational and academic restructure and the reinstatement of its licence to sponsor international students.

He added that a decrease in funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for the coming 12 months was “disappointing”, but he welcomed extra research capital received following the university’s successful results in the 2014 research excellence framework.

He said he is now keen to strengthen partnerships with “other universities, further education colleges, public sector organisations and a range of businesses and industrial companies in the region”.

“The challenge is to strengthen these foundations that have been in place for many years and for the mutual benefit of the various communities which we serve, enabling us to better meet the needs and interests of our students and contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.”

“We want everyone to feel a part of that as the university moves forward into a new era in its short history,” he said.

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