University of Gloucestershire

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University of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire University arms.png
Motto Latin: In animo et veritate
Motto in English
In Spirit and Truth
Established 2001 - gained University Status
1834 - Mechanics' Institute
Type Public
Endowment £2.32 m (2011)[1]
Chancellor Rennie Fritchie, Baroness Fritchie[2]
Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston
Students 9,940[3]
Undergraduates 7,065[3]
Postgraduates 2,655[3]
Other students
220 FE[3]
Location Cheltenham and Gloucester, England, UK
51°53′16″N 2°05′20″W / 51.887909°N 2.088797°W / 51.887909; -2.088797Coordinates: 51°53′16″N 2°05′20″W / 51.887909°N 2.088797°W / 51.887909; -2.088797
Campus Semi-urban
Affiliations million+, ERASMUS, BCA
University of Gloucestershire logo Navy.jpg.gif

The University of Gloucestershire is a public university based in Gloucestershire, England. It is located over three campuses, two in Cheltenham and one in Gloucester, namely Francis Close Hall, Park and Oxstalls.

The university is traces its history back to the Mechanics' Institute of 1834 and the Cheltenham Training College, established in 1874 by the Reverend Francis Close.[4] In October 2001, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education was awarded University status.[5][6]

The university offers over 120 undergraduate courses and around 70 taught post-graduate courses within three faculties; Media, Arts and Technology, Business Education and Professional Studies, and Applied Sciences.[7]

A 10-year Memorandum of Understanding exists between the university, Gloucestershire College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to support access to higher education.[8]


Foundation and predecessors[edit]

The university can trace its history through a line of predecessor colleges of further and higher education.[4] Its history dates back to the Cheltenham Mechanics' Institute founded in 1834 and has roots in the Cheltenham Training College established in 1847 by the Reverend Francis Close (then Anglican Rector of Cheltenham who became Dean of Carlisle in 1856).[6]

Timeline of predecessor institutions
  • 1834 – Cheltenham Mechanics' Institute
  • 1840 – Gloucester Mechanics' Institute
  • 1847 – Cheltenham Training College (Church Foundation)
  • 1852 – Cheltenham School of Art
  • 1920 – St Paul's College of Education
  • 1920 – St Mary's College of Education
  • 1967 – Gloucestershire College of Education
  • 1979 – College of St Paul and St Mary
  • 1980 – The Higher Education part of Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology
  • 1990 – Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education
  • 2001 – University of Gloucestershire

From 1992, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education (CGCHE) was permitted to award first and postgraduate degrees and in 1998 it achieved research degree awarding powers. In 2001, the University of Gloucestershire was awarded university status.[9]

Anglican Foundation[edit]

The Anglican Foundation of the University of Gloucestershire evolved from the Christian Foundation of the former colleges of St Mary and St Paul, two of the institutions which came together to create the university. Until September 2011, Foundation Fellows played a significant role in the governance of the university. Following a review of governance by the university in 2010/11, it was agreed that Council should be responsible for appointing all its external members. Foundation Fellows are still eligible to apply to Council to become external members.[10]

2001 onwards[edit]

In February 2012 Rennie Fritchie was announced as the new Chancellor succeeding Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Sir Henry Elwes and the former Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham are Pro-Chancellors. As of August 2011, Stephen Marston holds the post of Vice-Chancellor.[11]

2009 - 2012 resignations[edit]

In 2009/10 several formerly senior figures in the university resigned. In November 2009, Paul Bowler, the deputy vice-chancellor resigned shortly after being suspended from his post only seven months after joining the institution. Paul Bowler, a former investment banker who joined Gloucestershire in May 2009, was on a week's leave when he was told not return to work. On 7 December, a university spokesperson said, "The deputy vice-chancellor Paul Bowler, has resigned. Financial benefits have not been sought by Mr Bowler, who is leaving of his own accord to pursue other interests".[12]

In December 2009 Dr Sharp, Dean and Associate Pro Vice-chancellor, following his resignation, took up a post in the new UK Higher Education International Unit.[13]

The Vice-Chancellor, Patricia Broadfoot, resigned in March 2010,[14] during conflicting views on the financial health of the institution.[15] The precise circumstances of this resignation and the salary paid to her as recorded in the public accounts have attracted various media attention being the reported highest of all UK Vice-chancellors for the year.[16][17]

In May 2010, the Chancellor Lord Carey resigned.[18]

In September 2010, Paul Bowler was a witness in an employment tribunal case brought by a member of staff of the university under the ‘whistleblowing’ legislation - the Public Interest Disclosure Act.[19] The tribunal found for the complainant and outcome was reported in the higher education press.[20][21]

In March 2011, Paul Hartley resigned.[22]

Stephen Marston, current Vice-Chancellor, has committed himself to listening to staff concerns.[23] He states 'new culture' being addressed and reports a new senior management Human Resources appointment.[24]


In April 2014 the University of Gloucestershire was short-listed for the award of Outstanding Student Services Team in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. The awards are run by The Times newspaper’s national and world renowned education supplement, and aim to showcase examples of extraordinary innovation and teamwork.[25]

In the 2014 annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey the University of Gloucestershire ranks 50th.[26]


The university has three campuses located in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

The Park[edit]

Park Campus - Elwes Reception

The Park, Cheltenham, is the largest of the campuses and is the administrative centre. Located in the Park district of Cheltenham, the estate dates from the 19th century and was originally designed as zoological, botanical and horticultural gardens.[27]

The Media School was relocated to the Park Campus in 2011 from the former Pittville campus. The new facilities include an open newsroom, studios, editing suites and teaching facilities. It has been awarded Skillset Media Academy status[28] and is part of the North by Southwest - The Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Skillset Media Academy Partnership.[29]

The Faculty of Business, Education and Professional Studies is located on this campus providing education for business, management, law, marketing, computing, leisure, tourism and hospitality and media subjects. It is also home to the moot court room which was completed in 2013.

Student accommodation is available in the Park villas, Challinor, Eldon & Merrowdown and Eldon & Merrowdown Annexe located on and next to the campus, as well as Spa Court and Regency Halls across the town of Cheltenham. A partnership with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was launched in May 2009 and the Park Campus grounds became designated as a community green space.[30][31] The garden includes over 900 trees, both native and ornamental, a shallow lake and a meadow with native species.

Francis Close Hall[edit]

Main Entrance to Francis Close Hall Campus
Chapel at Francis Close Hall Campus

Francis Close Hall is based restored historic buildings close to Cheltenham's town centre. The campus can trace its history back to the college founded by the Revd. Francis Close in 1847.[32]

The campus is also home to the university’s Archives and Special Collections Department, the official repository for the historic records of the university.[33] It also contains several special collections relating to Gloucestershire and beyond. The department is custodian of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Library, and curates and maintains the Gloucestershire Poets, Writers and Artists Collections, which includes works and artefacts relating to the Dymock Poets, Whittington Press, U A Fanthorpe and James Elroy Flecker. It is also custodian of the Paul Oliver Collection of African American Music and Related Traditions (Blues Collection), the Triggs Reser (Banjo) Collection and the Local Heritage Initiative Archive. The department is open to staff, students and the public.

The campus has a mix of Humanities, Education, Natural & Social Science and creative subjects.

Student accommodation is available in Shaftsbury Hall (on campus), Hardwick Halls and Regency Halls. Further accommodation includes St George's, St Mary's, Maidenhorn and Whitehart.

Centre for Art and Photography[edit]

The Hardwick Centre for Art and Photography opened in 2011 and is in close proximity to Francis Close Hall. The purpose built studios cater for students studying a mixture of creative subjects including its Fine Art (undergraduate and postgraduate) and Photography degrees. It has recently been renamed as the Centre for Art and Photography.


Oxstalls Entrance
Oxstalls campus

The Faculty of Applied Sciences is located at Oxstalls campus. The campus is located in Gloucester and opened in 2002. It offers a range of sports facilities including a floodlit all-weather pitch, a fitness suite and laboratory facilities for a range of disciplines, including bio-assessment and a drumming laboratory, which has developed from the Clem Burke Drumming Project exploring the physical and psychological effects of drumming.[34]

Halls of residence were built on site in 2002 and house 175 students divided into 6 blocks (May, Birdlip, Cooper's, Crickley, Robinswood and Chalford). Additional Gloucester-based accommodation includes Ermin Hall and Upper Quay.[35]

Pittville Student Village[edit]

The universities' estates strategy outlines a 10-year investment plan to refurbish, upgrade and develop facilities which includes the Pittville Student Village project. In May 2013 some initial concepts and ideas for the redevelopment were presented. Plans included creating 450 extra bedrooms, to the existing 214 student rooms, plus a small retail unit and sports facilities.[36] Additional public consultation sessions in August and September 2014 revealed plans to build additional accommodation to a total of 800 beds.[37]The project will be phased in order to deliver the completed scheme ready for the commencement of the 2016 academic year.

Former campuses[edit]


The Pittville site is located on Albert Road, Cheltenham, and was the home of the Faculty of Media, Art and Communications. It was founded as Cheltenham School of Art over 150 years ago[38][39] The campus closed in 2011 with courses from the Faculty of Media, Arts and Technology located at Hardwick and the Park[40] The university is reported as selling half the campus site.[41]


The London Campus was established in 1973 as the Urban Learning Foundation (ULF) with the aim of enhancing the quality of initial teacher training. In September 2003, the ULF became part of the University of Gloucestershire. The London Campus offered a one year Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education and was the base for the North East London Graduate Teacher Programme (Primary). The university arranged and supervised Teaching Placements in urban schools for students from other colleges around the country.

The university announced the closure of the London Campus in September 2009.[42]

The London Campus was sold for £9.7 million to LHA London Limited in April 2010.[43]

Environmental sustainability[edit]

The university has pursued an environmental sustainability strategy since 1993, and was the first British university to meet the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.[44] In the People & Planet Green League 2008 published by the Times Higher Education (THE), it was ranked as the greenest university in the UK.[45] The university is the only British institution to be consistently ranked in the top six of the league since its inception in 2007.[44] The university is also a regular winner at the EUAC Green Gown Awards, winning the award for Continuous Improvement in 2008 and 2012.[44] RCE Severn is a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) in Sustainability Education based at the university. It is endorsed by the United Nations University and one of 85 similar centres throughout the world.[46]

Organisation and administration[edit]


The university is organised into three faculties, each containing schools of study.[47][48] These are:

  • Faculty of Media, Arts and Technology
    • School of Art and Design
    • School of Computing and Technology
    • School of Humanities
    • School of Media
  • Faculty of Business, Education and Professional Studies
    • School of Accounting and Law
    • School of Business and Management,
    • Institute of Education and Public Services.
  • Faculty of Applied Sciences
    • School of Sport and Exercise
    • School of Natural and Social Sciences
    • School of Leisure


Vice Chancellors[edit]

The University Council appointed Stephen Marston as Vice-Chancellor from August 2011.[52][53]

University Council[edit]

Council is the university's governing body and is responsible for the educational character and mission of the university, the approval of annual estimates of income and expenditure, the appointment of senior staff, and the Articles of Association that set out the formal governance arrangements of the university. Council currently comprises 18 members; 14 external members and 4 members from the university community, including the Vice-Chancellor, representatives for both academic and support members of staff, and the President of the Students' Union.

Council membership[edit]

Council currently comprises 18 members:

  • 14 external members
  • 4 members from the university community, including the Vice-Chancellor, representatives for both academic and support members of staff, and the President of the Students' Union.

Council and its committees[edit]

Council has created the following committees to assist in its work:

  • Audit Committee
  • Employment Policy Committee, and Council, Trades Unions & Managers Consultative Committee
  • Governance and Nominations Committee
  • Honorary Awards Committee
  • Remuneration Committee
  • Finance and General Purposes Committee

University Executive Committee[edit]

The University Executive Committee is responsible for all matters associated with the development and management of the university including:

  • University strategy
  • Academic provision
  • Financial matters
  • HR matters
  • Matters related to marketing, the recruitment of students, external relations and communications
  • Matters related to student experience and welfare

University Executive Committee currently comprises nine members including the Vice-Chancellor as Chair.[54]


The university signed a Strategic Alliance for Higher Education partnership was formed in 2012 with a 10 year Memorandum of Understanding. It is a partnership for higher education (HE) between the University of Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) and Gloucestershire College.[8]

The university validates programmes delivered by other higher education providers in the UK and 10 countries overseas including Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe.[55] In the UK, this includes validation of BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning at Norland College.[56]

On signing the Memorandum, Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We are proud to be the University of, and for, Gloucestershire, serving all the communities who live and work here. We can do that better by working with our partner colleges.

“This is a long term commitment. We have made a good start, agreeing to collaborate in providing new courses from autumn this year, and working together on student recruitment. And over the years to come, we have a shared objective to keep developing, through our alliance, a wider range of courses, offered in more locations and available to more people.”[57]

Collaborative partners[edit]

The university validates programmes delivered by other higher education providers in the UK and ten countries overseas including Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe.

In the UK, this includes validation of BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning at Norland College.[58]

ERASMUS and BCA[edit]

The university is also an active participant of the ERASMUS programme and the only UK university to be part of the BCA Programme offering semesters abroad, most notably with the USA.[59]

Gloucestershire Enterprise Partnership[edit]

The university announced its partnership with the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership in 2013. The partnership secured over £7 million of funding to support enterprise, business development and business support services.[60]

Operational from autumn 2014, the Growth Hub will be a one-stop approach for businesses to access a diverse range of coordinated and integrated business services.[61]

Academic profile[edit]


The university is organised into three faculties, namely:

  • Faculty of Media, Arts and Technology, which includes the School of Art and Design, School of Computing and Technology, School of Humanities and the School of Media.
  • Faculty of Business, Education and Professional Studies includes the School of Accounting and Law, School of Business and Management and the Institute of Education and Public Services.
  • Faculty of Applied Sciences which includes the School of Sport and Exercise, the School of Natural and Social Sciences and the School of Leisure.

The university offers over 120 undergraduate courses covering a variety of subjects including Accounting and Law, Business Management, Computing, Journalism, Fine Art, Humanities, Biology, Social Science, Education and Sports within 10 academic schools.

As well as offering part-time and full-time options for undergraduate study, the university has a number of courses available as Fast Track two-year full-time programmes.

The university offers over 70 taught post-graduate courses in the areas of: Accounting and Law, Business and Management; Computing, IT and Multimedia; Health and Social Care; Education; Humanities; Leisure; Media, Art and Design; National and Social Sciences and Sport and Exercise.

Teaching and learning[edit]

The university is noted for the quality of its teaching and has been awarded 14 prestigious National Teaching Fellowships (NTF), placing it within the top five universities in the country.[62]

The NTF scheme is open to staff whose teaching or support roles enhance the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The scheme aims to raise the profile of learning and teaching, recognise and celebrate individuals who make an outstanding impact on the student learning experience.[63]

The university’s Teaching and Learning Strategy embeds five core principles of learner empowerment, active engagement, learning in communities, education for sustainable development and learning for equality, diversity and intercultural understanding. It is led by the Academic Development Unit (ADU) which is the central point for the development and support of academic practice for staff and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Scholarships and financial support[edit]

The university charges £9,000 for new entrants in 2014/15 for UK and EU full-time students on undergraduate degree courses. Foundation degrees are £6,000.[64] Fees for International Students outside the EU on undergraduate programmes are £10,500 per year.[65]

The University of Gloucestershire is offers a range of financial support package for undergraduate students commencing their studies in September 2014 as follows:

  • Care Leavers Scholarship
  • Partnership Bursary
  • University of Gloucestershire Bursary
  • Sports Excellence Funds
  • Hardship Fund

Additionally the university offers unique sports refereeing scholarships supported by the Rugby Football Union, the Football Association, England Netball and the English Cricket Board.[66]

Awards and rankings[edit]

The university is ranked 74 out of 116 universities in the 2015 Guardian University Guide. The university ranks in the top 20 universities for the specific subject areas of Biosciences, English and Creative Writing, and Media and Film Studies. On the indicator that measures student satisfaction with feedback and assessment by lecturers, the university is in the top 30 universities nationally. The graduate employability figure has increased, with 5% with more students getting a graduate-level job or starting further training within six months of leaving university.[67]

In the 2014 annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey the University of Gloucestershire ranks 50th.[68] The survey polls student opinion on twenty-one aspects of university life including academic and staffing issues, social life, the cost of on-campus services and the standard of facilities. The University of Gloucestershire achieved its highest scores for the good personal relationship with teaching staff and the library and its opening hours. Second highest scores were for the helpfulness of staff and the environment on campus.

The university was ranked third in the People and Planet green league in 2013 achieving ‘First Class Honours’.[69]

Results from the 2014 [Destination of Leavers survey] showed 94% of students were in employment for further study within six months of graduating.

The 2014 National Student Survey revealed that 84% of final year undergraduate students at the University of Gloucestershire expressed overall satisfaction with their experience, the university’s best ever result, and up 4% on the previous year.[70]

The 2012 crime rates listed by the the Complete University Guide named the University of Gloucestershire as the safest place to study in the south west, and in the top 10 nationwide.[71]

In April 2014 the University of Gloucestershire was short-listed for the award of Outstanding Student Services Team in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.[72]


Research at the university has been rated as World-Leading in five of its research areas. More than half of the work in seven out of the university’s 12 submissions to the RAE was additionally recognised as of international quality, while all academic areas were judged to be of a quality that is recognised nationally.[73]

The university invests 12% of academic staff costs in research and scholarly activity. Its strategy states that all academic staff engage in ‘research and scholarly activity’ to the benefit of teaching and learning and allocated research time is used for a ‘range of scholarship and research related activity, which may lead to publication, income generation, knowledge transfer, or practice-based outcomes…’[74]

The university pursues and supports four types of research activity:[75]

  • Postgraduate research - the supervision and training of postgraduate research students - Funded via Course fees and QR grant (Research Degree Programme funds)
  • Research and Scholarship - activity to support subject knowledge and pedagogy,professional practice, and the development of research-informed teaching - Funded via a) Teaching grant, 185 hours research and scholarly activity time (b) Any additional time to be funded from Faculty investment against priorities identified in Business Plans
  • Income generating research - commissioned or user-defined work for external agencies - Funded via Funding agency, Quantified through PIMS
  • REF preparation (Research Excellence Framework assessment exercise)- research towards internationally excellent (3*) submissible outputs / impact - Funded via HEFCE Quality-Related (QR)grant

Student life[edit]

Students' Union[edit]

The University of Gloucestershire's Students' Union has four full-time officers and 11 part-time officers. The officers are voted for by students,[76] and the current president (2014–15) is Rickesh Patel. The Students' Union provides a number of opportunities for students including volunteering and part-time work.[77] The Students' Union runs an annual summer ball.

The Students’ Union supports the running of over 30 sports teams’ societies ranging from Rugby, Netball and Hockey to Equestrian, Trampoline and Kendo. Societies include Beekeeping, RAG (Raising and Giving) and subject-based societies. The University of Gloucestershire competes in a sports varsity tournament every year playing against the [University of Worcestershire] and has remained undefeated for 10 years.

The Students’ Union organises the Student-Led Teaching Awards which invites students to vote for outstanding teaching and support staff. The ceremony is held jointly with the university’s Staff Excellence Awards at Cheltenham Town Hall.

Tone Radio is the official student radio station and SPACE is the Students' Union newspaper.[78]

The Students’ Union has its own website at

Student Services[edit]

Student Services is made up of a range of teams fully focused on both helping students to feel supported in many aspects of their lives while they are at university and to be successful within their studies. Two key initiatives run by the team are DegreePlus and the Student Helpzones.

The University of Gloucestershire launched the Degreeplus initiative in 2012 designed to give students the chance to increase their employability through volunteering, entrepreneurship and internships. A focus on skills development is channelled through the Degreeplus Award scheme, encouraging students to fully participate in university life, gain work-related experience and receive formal recognition for extra-curricular achievements.

The successful completion of the Degreeplus Award forms part of the learner’s Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)

Student Helpzones are located on each campus, where students can go to receive advice, support and assistance on any issues.

Student surveys[edit]

Student feedback is collected in a variety of ways.[79] These include the National Student Survey (NSS). The university's response rate in the 2012 National Student Survey was 70%, higher than the sector rate of 67%.[80][81] Surveys also include the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES).[82]


The University of Gloucestershire has a long sporting tradition and, in particular, invests expertise into seven focus sports, Rugby League, Rugby Union, hockey, football, tennis, netball and volleyball.[83]

The university has been at the forefront of developing rugby league at student level for nearly a decade. It has now moved into the professional ranks, with the Gloucestershire All Golds rugby league team entering Championship 1 in March 2013.[84]

Sport Malawi[edit]

In 2012 the university’s Sport Malawi initiative won gold at the London 2012 Games-inspired Podium Awards. The Malawi National Olympic team was hosted by the university, which worked in partnership with Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Sandford Parks Lido, and Aspire Sports and Cultural Trust to create a Gloucestershire Consortium which provided facilities for the team during their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games.[citation needed]

Malawian athletes returned to the campus to train ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.[85]

Initiation rites and student behaviour[edit]

In October 2008, the university was subject to an investigation by journalists on student initiation rites, after the BBC obtained a copy of a secretly-filmed video featuring students with bags over their heads drinking and vomiting,[86] overlooked by another student dressed in what the press described as a "Nazi officer uniform".[87]

A further incident in December 2008 resulted in a Rugby club member vomiting on board a bus, following what a local newspaper called a "booze-fuelled initiation ceremony".[88]


In 2013, the university opened up its first Enterprise Hub. The Enterprise Hubs are aimed specifically at early-stage creative and innovative entrepreneur-run businesses offering physical and virtual support to help develop businesses. With four physical incubation sites across Gloucester and Cheltenham, the hubs offer both office space and business advice.

The Venture programme has been created by the university to offer lectures, workshops and mentoring in business for both students and alumni.

The university’s Gloucestershire Enterprise Society, run by the Student’s Union, offers students free business advice, talks and training as well as social events, trips and activities.


The university’s Alumni Association has a global network of more than 39,000 former students and staff from the university and its constituent colleges. The Association produces a monthly newsletter, arranges events and can help to reunite old colleagues and friends.[89]

Honorary doctorates and fellowships[edit]

Honorary doctorates and fellowships have been awarded to a wide range of people, including musician and philanthropist Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), actor and director Simon Pegg, poet U A Fanthorpe, soprano Dame Felicity Lott and George Carey. Honorable Fellowships have been awarded to people including broadcaster, physicist and broadcaster Kathy Sykes, international cricketer R C ‘Jack’ Russell, garden designer and television presenter Chris Beardshaw and sculptor Lynn Chadwick.[90]

Notable alumni[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • 'University of Gloucestershire - Thanksgiving', 30 April 2002, Gloucester Cathedral
  • '150 years of Art Education', 2002, University of Gloucestershire
  • 'Celebrating 150 years of the Church Foundation', 1997, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education

External links[edit]