TVU action plan may need more cash

January 14, 2000

Thames Valley University may need more cash from the funding council for a major restructuring programme that will tap into the lucrative business market.

Vice-chancellor Ken Barker has informally approached the Higher Education Funding Council to say that TVU could need additional financial support.

Professor Barker's plans may involve a new centre of excellence at the Slough campus - the area is home to many companies, particularly those in the new technologies - and management courses delivered using computer technology. The Slough campus already caters for management, business studies, computing and information studies.

Professor Barker's proposals are described as a "refinement" of the existing TVU action plan ordered by the HEFCE after a highly critical quality inspection report in November 1998. Vice-chancellor Mike Fitzgerald, who was implementing a controversial restructure, resigned upon its publication.

A spokesman for TVU said: "The big idea is that we are looking at estates development. We are looking at the Slough estate to see how we can use that to provide us with a new focus. We will be juggling provision around a new facility at Slough."

The spokesman said a detailed estates strategy would be completed for March and the university would be approaching the funding council with an adapted action plan.

A funding council spokesman said: "He (Professor Barker) has indicated the possible need for future support. The (HEFCE) board has not yet agreed to provide such support. There is no formal proposal (from TVU) at this stage."

The action plan, introduced last April, stated that TVU faced an enormous challenge because of managerial, financial and student recruitment difficulties.

The action points include closing courses, streamlining the university structure and tightening the quality assurance mechanisms.

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