Plymouth to close sites in drive to join elite

November 15, 2002

Plymouth University plans to close its Seale-Hayne agricultural centre and is pulling out of Exeter as part of a major shake-up.

Vice-chancellor Roland Levinsky said this week that the university was "configured on the basis of historical accident", and had to properly integrate arts and sciences and stop duplicating scarce resources. Last summer, Professor Levinsky told The THES that he expected Plymouth to rival Britain's elite research universities within 15 years.

The proposals are subject to further consultation and will need approval by the governing body early next year. They would bring 2,500 students into new buildings at the university's main North Hill campus in Plymouth from campuses across Devon.

"If we are to achieve our aim of delivering world-class teaching and research, we must create a dynamic multi-faculty university," Professor Levinsky said. "We must also ensure that we invest every pound that we can in improving research and teaching."

He said he wanted to create a "cultural quarter" in Plymouth, bringing arts students from Exeter into the main campus to "harness new academic synergies".

Students expressed alarm at the plans. David Clark, Plymouth's student union welfare officer, said: "There is concern at the smaller sites about the proposed plans. Many students feel cheated after feeling that assurances were given about the quality of their study when they came to Plymouth. The union will be taking these concerns to the university and ensuring that student voices are heard."

The university said there would be a series of open meetings with staff and students before final decisions were made. Detailed plans will be drawn up between January and April next year.

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