Heythrop and St Mary’s ‘merger’ talks near conclusion

One of the UK’s oldest higher education institutions has moved a step closer to a potential merger with a Catholic university

April 28, 2015

Heythrop College, University of London, which celebrated its 400th anniversary last year, says that it has agreed to continue discussions with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, over a possible “strategic partnership”.

In a statement released on 17 April, Heythrop said that its governors hoped to conclude talks with St Mary’s – which gained full university status in January 2014 – in the summer term.

“The aim remains a partnership which will promote the teaching and research of theology and philosophy, be in the interests of both institutions and be of benefit to the mission of the Church and to wider society,” the statement says.

The extent of the “strategic partnership” is not yet known, but internal discussion at Heythrop has consistently referred to the changes as a “merger” or “merger proposals”.

It is believed that the Jesuit-run college, which is based in Kensington, west London, has been hit hard by the changes to student funding since 2012.

According to its latest available accounts, it had a deficit of about £600,000 in 2012-13 partly due to a lack of students. The Society of Jesus agreed to give up to £3.5 million to the college over the next three years, the accounts also show.

However, some 60 per cent of Heythrop students voted to oppose a merger with St Mary’s, according to minutes of an extraordinary governors meeting held in January, although Catholic news website The Tablet reported last week that students had now voted in favour of discussions continuing.

In its statement, Heythrop – which was established in what is now modern-day Belgium in 1614 before moving to the UK in the 18th century – said that it wanted to “provide a high quality experience for our current students who, on successful completion of their studies, will graduate with a University of London degree”.

Francis Campbell, vice-chancellor of St Mary’s, said that his own board of governors had “given us the green light to enter final discussions with Heythrop College on the structure of the proposed partnership”.

“Our guiding principle has always been that any partnership must be for the greater good of both institutions, financially sustainable and to the benefit of Catholic higher education in the UK,” he said.

jack.grove@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham