Herts aims to fly high on airfield

October 22, 1999

The University of Hertfordshire is to relaunch itself as a singlecampus more selective university, combining a new building programme with higher student entrance requirements.

Planning permission for a new campus on 12 hectares of a former British Aerospace site in Hatfield is expected to be granted in two weeks' time.

A three-year building programme should start early next year.

The development, less than half a mile from the university's existing large site in Hatfield, is likely to cost more than

Pounds 100 million. This will be paid for through public-private partnership, a private finance

initiative and the sale of its campuses near Watford and Hertford.

Vice-chancellor Neil Buxton said: "It will lead to more effective and efficient opportunities in terms of economies of scale and greater academic synergies."

The faculties moving from the outlying campuses will be business, humanities and teacher education, which Professor Buxton says have been marginalised in the past.

Included as part of the development will be a learning resource centre, art, leisure and recreation facilities that will be shared with the local community as well as accommodation for 1,600, with en suite rooms designed to appeal to conference trade.

Professor Buxton said: "I think our university has reached a threshold of its development. This makes for major opportunities for academic development."

At the same time, Hertfordshire plans to increase its A-level point requirements over time from an average of between 12 and 14 to about 16 for most disciplines.

While seven or so years ago, the university was desperate to grow, now it is often very oversubscribed and is confident that it will achieve enough

admissions even with a more selective entrance policy.

But Professor Buxton insisted that this would not stop it

extending access. The balance of places would still go to GNVQ and foreign students, he said.

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