Higher Education Expert Impressed by University on Visit
Saturday, 07 January 2023
A higher education expert has praised the University of Worcester’s efforts to increase opportunities in higher education and contribution to the local community on a recent visit.
Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, toured a number of facilities, including The Hive, the School of Law, the Art House, City Campus and ongoing development works at Severn Campus. He also took part in discussions with the University’s senior leadership team.
The UPP Foundation is a charity that helps universities and the wider higher education sector ensure there is greater equity in going to, succeeding at and benefiting from the university experience, through grants to universities, charities and other higher education bodies.
Mr Brabner highlighted the University’s role in increasing access to higher education, saying: “I think access, opportunity, social mobility is vital and it’s clearly a core driver of the University of Worcester. It’s beyond access though, it’s ensuring these students that come here have a great experience, that the University is providing added value for them and that university prepares them for successful and fulfilling lives. Seeing, for example, the Law School and how employability is embedded into the curriculum, through the mock law courts and so on. That’s a real example of that.”
This was the first time that Mr Brabner had visited the University in a professional capacity.
“It was great to be given a tour,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot about The Hive in the last few years. It’s a great example of a civic university in action, in terms of partnership working with the council to deliver a shared service for students and the community. It’s the way that the university and community are integrated together to provide an outstanding service for all. This is a real beacon of great practice in the sector, so it was wonderful to see it for myself, particularly the amazing children’s library. It’s as impressive as people have said. My impression from seeing Worcester is how key the University is to the City particularly in terms of its future and regeneration, but also how important the City and County is to the success of the institution too.”
He said the University’s approach to inclusion and it’s civic responsibilities was “incredibly important”. “The University of Worcester was established with a civic mission which continues to this day and that’s clear from talking to David Green and the senior team,” he said. “It’s providing teachers and nurses of the future for the county. This institution really cares about its place and its future.”
Addressing universities’ role in the so called ‘levelling up’ agenda, Mr Brabner highlighted the University’s new partnership work in Dudley. There are plans to develop a multi-million pound ‘university centre’ as part of Dudley Council’s Towns Fund plan, from where the University will deliver programmes centred around health care, including Nursing. “I think it’s really interesting how the University has got to understand its geography, define where it can have the most impact and make the most difference, thinking not just about Worcester, but Dudley and the wider region,” said Mr Brabner. “These are key questions that universities are grappling with in the levelling up agenda. It’s about effective partnership with colleges. It might be around its role as a local employer and procurer of goods and services. It’s about how do you ensure research has an impact on the region and this community, how staff and student activities revitalise certain places. This is at the forefront of Worcester’s thinking and it’s impressive to see.”