University of the West of Scotland

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University of the West of Scotland
University of the West of Scotland Logo.svg
Established 2007
Type Public
Chancellor Dame Elish Angiolini
Principal Professor Craig Mahoney[1]
Chairman of the Court Ian Welsh
Admin. staff 1300
Students 13,040 (2006)[2]
18,000+ (2007 est.)[3]
Undergraduates 11,395[2]
Postgraduates 1,635[2]
Location Paisley, Ayr, Hamilton, Dumfries, Scotland
Website www.uws.ac.uk

The University of the West of Scotland is a university operating from four campuses in south-western Scotland, in the towns of Paisley, Hamilton, Dumfries and Ayr. The present institution dates from August 2007, following the merger of the University of Paisley with Bell College, Hamilton. It can trace its roots to the late 19th century, and has undergone numerous name changes and mergers over the last century, reflecting its gradual expansion throughout the region.

Holding a regional reputation for vocational undergraduate and post-graduate courses the University currently has over 18,000 students, with approximately 1300 staff, spread across six schools of learning.

The Crichton Campus in Dumfries is maintained in partnership with a number of other institutions, including the University of Glasgow.

History[edit]

Although a new university, the University of the West of Scotland has a rich, diverse history inherited from the various institutions that preceded it.

Paisley Campus[edit]

At the time of the Industrial Revolution Paisley was renowned for thread weaving. The Coats mill was run by two brothers, Peter and Thomas Coats. These men, children of the Enlightenment espoused liberal ideals and became noted philanthropists. As members of the Philosophical Institution, founded in 1808 the Coats donated a museum and library to the town, funded the building of the Coats observatory and promoted education throughout Paisley.[4][5]

The Philosophical Institution, helped establish the School of Arts in 1836, which become a Government School of Design in 1846, one of twenty similar institutions established in UK manufacturing centres from 1837-1851. They were set up to improve the quality of the country's product design through training in design for industry. Peter Coats was director of both Paisley Philosophical Institution and the Government School of Design. Later, the Design schools were renamed Schools of Art, and once again as Schools of Art and Science.

In 1897 Princess Louise laid the foundation stone of a grand new building for the College. The design was the winner of an architectural competition and partially funded by local industrialists (Peter Brough, and Thomas Coats both contributed).

By the start of the twentieth century, Paisley Technical College and School of Art, (as it was known from 1904) was a centre for teaching the University of London External Programme. Perhaps the most famous principal of the College was Lewis Fry Richardson, FRS   principal from 1922 to 1940. A mathematician, physicist, meteorologist, psychologist and pacifist who pioneered modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting, as well as the application of similar techniques to studying war. He also carried out ground breaking work on fractals.

Throughout the first half of the century the institution had a financial struggle. After the second world war Central Institution status provided a regular Government income but unfortunately also meant closing the school of Art, and ceding students to Glasgow School of Art. The new entity thus became Paisley College of Technology; a Government funded Central Institution in 1950. In the 1960s a large physical expansion took place alongside the Neo-Classical original building on the main 20 acre (81,000 m²) Paisley town centre site.

At the time Paisley, in common with other Central Institutions and the former Polytechnics, already offered a range of degrees under the Council for National Academic Awards. With the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992, the Paisley College of Technology was granted the title University of Paisley and was established as a University with a Royal Charter and degree awarding powers. Today, this institution forms Paisley Campus of the University.

Ayr Campus[edit]

The establishment of the University of Paisley prompted a merger with Craigie College of Education in Ayr in 1993, and led to the incorporation of Nursing colleges in the town. The Ayr Campus was operated by the University of Paisley before the merger that established UWS. Set in 20 acres (81,000 m2) of the old parkland of Craigie House bordering the River Ayr, the campus also houses the West of Scotland Management Centre, the Business School’s management training and development facility. A new £71.2 million campus for the University in Ayr, shared with the Scottish Agricultural College, designed by international architecture practice RMJM, on a riverside site adjacent to the previous campus, was completed and opened in August 2011.

Dumfries Campus[edit]

Main article: The Crichton

The Crichton University Campus in Dumfries is the result of a joint project between the University of Paisley (now the University of the West of Scotland), the University of Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway College and the Open University. The campus mainly offers business, computing and, since the merger with Bell College, Nursing courses. Established in 1999 to provide a hub for higher education in the south-west of Scotland, the Crichton Campus has developed into an essential element in the regeneration of the Dumfries and Galloway economy.

Students at the Crichton Campus also have the benefit of a dedicated Students' Association which operates from its offices in the Dumfries and Galloway College building. The Crichton University Campus Students' Association (CUCSA) is a collective body of volunteers comprising elected representatives from both UWS and the University of Glasgow. Although the existing budget for CUCSA is tiny in comparison to the main students' association, SAUWS, events are held roughly every month in addition to the expected freshers' week at the start of the academic year.

Hamilton Campus[edit]

The Hamilton campus was founded in 1972 as the Bell College of Technology. The main campus was constructed in Almada Street, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. A "Memorandum of Understanding" between the College and the University of Strathclyde was signed in 1993 to allow the College to offer degree level courses. In 1995, the Lanarkshire and Dumfries & Galloway Colleges of Nursing & Midwifery were amalgamated into Bell College.

Glasgow Creative Enterprise Cluster[edit]

Between 2008 and 2010 UWS opened offices in Glasgow, with a focus on the creative industries. The School of Media, Culture & Society has offices in Film City Glasgow and the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). This forms a metropolitan base for research, performance, events and exhibitions, work with industry, and knowledge exchange activities, connecting the university's four campuses with the city where the media and arts sector is most concentrated in the west of Scotland.

Merger[edit]

On 1 August 2007, the University of Paisley merged with Bell College, a higher education college based in Hamilton. On 30 November 2007, the Privy Council approved the name University of the West of Scotland for the merged institution.

The name change was resisted by many in Paisley, seeing it as a break with tradition and the connections binding the previous university to the town. The 'Keep It Paisley' campaign attracted a number of supporters, amongst them local MP and then Secretary of State for Scotland, Douglas Alexander.

The merged institution serves over 18,000 students and is the largest 'new university' in Scotland. The Principal and Vice-Chancellor is Professor Craig Mahoney.

Schools[edit]

The University of the West of Scotland is organised into six schools:[6]

  • School of Business and Enterprise
  • School of Computing & Engineering
  • School of Education
  • School of Health, Nursing & Midwifery
  • School of Media, Culture & Society
  • School of Science & Sport

The university offers over 100 degree courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and has a rapidly growing number of doctoral students. It also carries out research and consultancy work for industry, and is ranked second in Scotland for the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with businesses. The University attained Skillset Media Academy status in August 2010. Many courses at the University of the West of Scotland have an emphasis on vocational skills and offer students the option of spending a year working in industry at home or abroad.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senior Officers". University of Paisley. Retrieved 1 August 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2005/06". Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics. Retrieved 5 April 2007. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Merger forms regional university". BBC News. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007. 
  4. ^ "Sir Peter Coats and Thomas Coats". 
  5. ^ "200 years of the Paisley Philosophical Institution". 
  6. ^ "UWS - University of West Scotland - Schools". University of the West of Scotland. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

External links[edit]