Merger saves college name

April 16, 1999

The government's tough new rules on use of the university college title have been slammed by a principal whose college is merging with a university to save its name.

Robert Withers, principal of University College Scarborough, said higher education would pay a price for the rules, which ban institutions from calling themselves a university college unless they have degree-awarding powers or are in a federal relationship with a local university.

This week, Scarborough announced it had agreed to merge with the University of Hull, subject to approval from the Department for Education and Employment.

The merger would enhance Scarborough's role as a higher education centre serving North Yorkshire and would boost recruitment, Dr Withers said.

But he added that, without the merger, the college would have been left with "an unmarketable title", thanks to the government's university college rules. "The government has used the wrong criteria for determining who can call themselves a university college, and as a result it has recreated the binary divide."

The merger is planned to take place from August next year, and Dr Withers said he expected there to be few redundancies.

"Despite our feelings about the government's rules, we are very positive about it. Our students, staff and the region will benefit from us being part of a university, when only five years ago we were just a teacher training college," he said.

David Dilks, vice-chancellor of Hull, said: "The merger will lead to the introduction of a range of programmes that will involve a first year at Scarborough and the remaining years of the course at Hull. These will include courses such as biology with food science, computer science and information management."

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