RCA expands and seeks to suck in more students

The Royal College of Art is going ahead with plans for expansion despite an uncertain future for postgraduate education.

November 8, 2012

At the start of the academic year, the Kensington-based institution opened the Dyson Building across the River Thames in Battersea, part funded by a £5 million donation from the entrepreneur James Dyson.

The building is part of a £61 million "master plan" to add some 10,000 square metres to its sites by 2021.

Plans to physically expand the postgraduate-only college run alongside a strategy to increase the number of students by 50 per cent and shift its emphasis towards research.

"We view the future with caution and a degree of optimism," said RCA rector Paul Thompson. It will be a question of "wait and see" as to whether increased debt will discourage home students under the new fee regime from postgraduate study, he said.

The highly selective college has not experienced any decline in enrolment, nor in employability of its graduates, but "the visa issue" for staff and students, a significant percentage of whom are from outside the EU, remained a concern, he said.

"Our registrar is saying she will need to hire two more full-time additional staff - which for a small institution like the RCA is a big outlay - just to make sure that we don't ever fall foul" of government visa rules, he added.

Together, the Dyson Building and the adjoining Woo Building, due to open in 2015, will host the sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics and glass departments, alongside InnovationRCA, the college's business incubator.

Philanthropy is funding much of the college's expansion work but the institution still needs to raise a further £7.4 million by 2015 to be able to proceed with the next stage of development.

The new building has already given the institution space to add more courses to reflect "a new world of design constraints", said Dr Thompson. Three new courses, the first since 1992, were added this year and another three are planned for 2013.

elizabeth.gibney@tsleducation.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

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Brexit jigsaw

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Kenny Dalglish

Agnes Bäker and Amanda Goodall have found that academics who are happiest at work have a head of department who is a distinguished researcher. How can such people be encouraged into management?

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump