Merger moves a step closer with plans for new university in South East Wales

The University of Wales, Newport, has responded to proposals for a radical contraction in the number of Welsh universities with plans for a new institution in the South East of the country.

September 30, 2011

The announcement indicates that Newport has agreed to the Welsh funding council’s recommendation that it merge with the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (Uwic).

But it said that it would only agree to join a new university “if it further strengthens Newport’s mission to widen access, promote social justice and drive economic regeneration”.

The Welsh funding council has argued that the number of universities in the country should shrink from 10 to six in order to boost their research clout.

Peter Noyes, Newport’s vice-chancellor, is reported to have said that Glamorgan and UWIC were “prime candidates” to be part of the institution but that the option was also open to others.

Dr Noyes said that Newport was behaving in a “principled and non-predatory” way.

“In endorsing the creation of a genuinely new institution, the governing body has made it very clear that any move that would weaken the role that we currently play in the region would be unacceptable,” he said.

“We have therefore set out a blueprint for the new institution, which would ensure the continuation of our mission, the preservation of a distinct identity for higher education in Gwent and the best deal for our students and the communities that we serve.”

The new institution should only have one senior management team and vice-chancellor, but should keep “locally focused brands and missions for its constituent parts”, Newport suggested.

In July, Uwic pulled out of plans to create a “super-university” by merging with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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