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[citation needed]
Type Public
Established 2001 - gained University Status
has earlier roots in 19th century[1][2]
Endowment £2.4 m (2015)[3]
Chancellor Rennie Fritchie, Baroness Fritchie
Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston
Students 7,835 (2015/16)[4]
Undergraduates 6,495 (2015/16)[4]
Postgraduates 1,340 (2015/16)[4]
Other students
220 FE[5]
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 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 the recent successor of a large number of merged, name-changed and reformed institutions of further and higher education. Its history spans nearly two centuries. It originates from the merger of two distinct strands of educational provision in Gloucestershire being that provided by Local Government and that founded by the Anglican Church.[1][2] The university traces its earliest Civic history to the Cheltenham Mechanics' Institute in 1834, and to the Cheltenham Training College in its Church history, established in 1847, by the Reverend Francis Close.[6][7] Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education was created in 1990 from the two distinct strands. In October 2001, the college was awarded University status.[8]

The university provides almost 100 undergraduate courses and around 57 taught post-graduate courses within two faculties: the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Business and the Faculty of Art and Technology.[9] The university is ranked in the top 20 in the UK for accounting and finance and for media and film studies, top 10 for film production and photography, top 4 for biosciences, and top 3 for Religious studies and theology.[10]

A 10-year Memorandum of Understanding exists between the university, Gloucestershire College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to support access to higher education.[11]

The University has announced a £57 million investment programme for its estates[12] including a new £38m 794 bed village in Cheltenham[13] and a new business school and sports facilities in Gloucester.[14]


Publications on University history[edit]

Three key publications provide a definitive statement of the historical background of the educational provision which led to university status. The statement is supported by a timeline.[1][2][6] The University of Gloucestershire timeline was reproduced by artist Josie Brown. It was commissioned by The Old Students Association of the University of Gloucestershire specifically to portray, in illuminated form, how the various conglomerate colleges became one Higher Education establishment. The work is hung in the main building of the Park Campus.[15]


  • '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

Predecessor colleges and institutes[edit]

The following are points in the history appearing in the timeline.

  • 1834 – Cheltenham Mechanics' Institute[16]
  • 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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

2009 - 2011[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".[20]

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.[21]

The Vice-Chancellor, Patricia Broadfoot, resigned in March 2010,[22] during conflicting views on the financial health of the institution.[23] 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.[24][25]

In May 2010, the Chancellor Lord Carey resigned.[26]

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.[27] The tribunal found for the complainant and outcome was reported in the higher education press.[28][29]

In March 2011, Paul Hartley resigned.[30]

2012 Onwards[edit]

Stephen Marston, current Vice-Chancellor, has committed himself to listening to staff concerns.[31] He states 'new culture' being addressed and reports a new senior management Human Resources appointment.[32]

Since his appointment the university has been nominated for several awards for student support, including the Times Higher Leadership and Management awards for outstanding student services in 2014 and 2015,[33] and Outstanding Student Support by WhatUni.[34]

In 2015 applications rose by 6% – three times the national average – and the numbers confirming offers of places had shot up by 18% when the official Ucas deadline passed.[35]


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.[36]

In March 2016 the University of Gloucestershire was shortlisted in the top 10 in the International category of the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2016.[37]

In the 2016 annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey the University of Gloucestershire ranks 62nd.[38]


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.[39]

The Media School was relocated to the Park Campus in 2011 from the former Pittville campus. The new facilities include a newsroom, television & radio studios, edit suites, and teaching facilities. It has been awarded Skillset Media Academy status[40] and is part of the North by Southwest - The Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Skillset Media Academy Partnership.[41]

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.[42][43] 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.[44]

The campus is also home to the university's Archives and Special Collections Department, the official repository for the historic records of the university.[45] 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 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.[46]

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.[47]

A new £1.8 million performing arts centre at Oxstalls including four performance spaces and drama rooms opened in September 2015.[48]

The university is proposing to move its Business School from Cheltenham to a new building at Oxstalls to create an integrated Business School and Growth Hub. Outline planning permission was granted in March 2016 for the development, including new halls of residence and sporting facilities, to go ahead.[49]

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.[50] Additional public consultation sessions in August and September 2014 revealed plans to build additional accommodation to a total of 791 beds against widespread opposition from the local residents.[51] The plans for Pittville Student Village were approved by Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee on July 16, 2015.[52] The new student village will see the number of beds increased to 794 and also includes new office space for several administrative departments as well as sports facilities.[53] It is intended for the site to be ready for the start of the 2017 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[6][54] The campus closed in 2011 with courses from the Faculty of Media, Arts and Technology located at Hardwick and the Park[55] The university is reported as selling half the campus site.[56]


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.[57]

The London Campus was sold for £9.7 million to LHA London Limited in April 2010.[58]

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.[59] In the People & Planet Green League 2015 it was ranked as the sixth greenest university in the UK.[60] The university is the only British institution to be consistently ranked in the top six of the league since its inception in 2007.[59] The university is also a regular winner at the EUAC Green Gown Awards, winning the award for Continuous Improvement in 2008 and 2014.[61] 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.[62]

Organisation and administration[edit]


The university is organised into two faculties, and nine schools of study.[9] These are:

  • Faculty of Art and Technology
    • School of Art and Design
    • School of Computing and Technology
    • School of Liberal and Performing Arts
    • School of Media
    • School of Education
  • Faculty of Applied Sciences and Business
    • Business School
    • School of Sport and Exercise
    • School of Natural and Social Sciences
    • School of Health and Social Care


Vice Chancellors[edit]

The University Council appointed Stephen Marston as Vice-Chancellor from August 2011.[66][67]

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.

In January 2016, Professor Julian Crampton, former vice-chancellor at the University of Brighton was appointed Chair of Council.[68]

University Executive Committee[edit]

The University Executive Committee is responsible for all matters associated with the development and management of the university. University Executive Committee currently comprises nine members including the Vice-Chancellor as Chair.[69]


The University of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College has formed a Strategic Alliance for higher education in Gloucestershire and the west of England, with the initiative to raise quality, range and accessibility of higher education in the county through stronger links between further and higher education.[70]

Collaborative partners[edit]

The University delivers programmes with several collaborative partners in the UK and in 5 countries overseas, including Malaysia and Zimbabwe.[71]

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.[72]

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.[73]

Operational from autumn 2014, The Growth Hub, which is based at the Oxstalls campus, is a one-stop approach for businesses to access a diverse range of coordinated and integrated business services.[74]

Academic profile[edit]

The university offers almost 100 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 ten 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 50 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 Fellowships[edit]

With 17 National Teaching Fellowships[75] the university is one of the leading universities in teaching excellence, with notable staff sharing their practical expertise with students and their peers. 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.

The members of staff currently teaching at the University who are National Teaching Fellows (with the year they were awarded an NTF in brackets) is:

  • Dr Andy Pitchford, Director of Sport (2015)[76]
  • Freya Billington, Course Leader for Film Production, (2015)[77]
  • Dr Anne Goodenough, Reader in Applied Ecology (2013) [78]
  • Prof Nigel McLoughlin, Professor of Creativity and Poetics (2011)
  • Prof Adam Hart, Professor of Science Communication (2010)[79]
  • Dr Arran Stibbe, Reader in English Language (2009)[80]
  • James Derounian, Principal Lecturer in Countryside Planning (2007)[81]
  • Dr Kenneth Lynch, Reader in Geography (received while at Kingston University in 2004)[82]

Notable staff members[edit]

Professor Adam Hart, Professor of Science Communication and National Teaching Fellow, who co-presented Hive Alive[83] with Chris Packham and Martha Kearney on BBC in 2014 and has made documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, as well as working on Citizen Science programmes. Hart currently presents the weekly science programme Science in Action for BBC World Service.

Anne Dawson, Head of Media School, part of the longest running presenter partnership in ITV News, presenting Central News with Wesley Smith for 15 years.[84]

Dr Anita Navin, Head of the School of Sport and Exercise, is an accomplished Sky Sports netball commentator, who covered televised netball for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.[85] In the same year she was elected to the UK Sport World Class Elite Coaching steering group.

Julia Hayball, senior lecturer in radio and journalism, spent her first years broadcasting at the BBC World Service before becoming a Radio 2 producer, producing Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Drivetime with Johnnie Walker and working with Jonathan Ross and more recently, Alan Carr.

Tom Bradshaw, Course Leader in Sports Journalism and award winning sports journalist who works for BBC Sport Online, BBC radio and provided match reports during the 2013-2014 rugby season for The Guardian,[86] and The Independent.[87] He is also a contributor to the Daily Express.[88]

Richard Billingham, Professor of Fine Art, is a world renowned photographer, film-maker and artist who has been a Turner prize nominee[89] and winner of the prestigious Deutsche Borse Group photography prize.[90]

National Teaching Fellow Freya Billington is the former course leader of Film Production. She has had her work screened at international film festivals around the world and in 2011 developed a film workshop with actor David Morrissey for his charity, The Creative Arts Schools Trust.[91]

Trudie Ballantyne Meers[92] is senior lecturer in Photography and has worked as a photographer for BT, American Express, Ogilvy & Mather, and Grey Advertising, specializing in studio still life and location corporate work.

Neil Towers, former director of the George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence, is Professor of Retail Marketing,[93] and was appointed in 2014.[94]

Frank Chambers, Professor of Physical Geography, is associate editor of the journals Biodiversity and Conservation, Mires and Peat, and heads the University's Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research.

Illustration lecturer Fumio Obata[95] is a comic book author,[96] visual artist and animator who undertook an artist residency at La Cite International de la Bande Dessinee et de l’image.[97]

Senior lecturer in Criminology Dr Jane Monckton-Smith is a prize winning author and part of the Home Office College of Policing[98] scrutiny panel for domestic abuse training. She speaks regularly, including on national television,[99] about domestic abuse, forensic investigation and homicide.

Dr Andy Pitchford is the Director of Sport at the university. Andy joined the university in 1996 and among his contributions he has supported enterprising students to create an international development programme, Sport Malawi.[100] Andy has also worked with students to develop the All Golds, the only professional rugby league team owned by a university in the world and UNIversal Sport, a major sport participation scheme.

Acting Head of Humanities and Religion, Philosophy & Ethics lecturer, Dr David Webster, is an author and blogger.[101] In addition to scholarly works on Buddhism and desire, the nature of belief, and other topics in Buddhist studies and the Philosophy of Religion, David has also written about the blues, and death in religions. Dave was recently named by JISC as one of the ’50 Most Influential HE Professionals Using Social Media’,[102] and has blogged for them about Social Media in relation to the RPE course.

Professor Tom Barker was appointed Dean of Arts and Technology in December 2015, having previously been Chair of the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University, Canada.

Teaching and learning[edit]

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.

Partnership with Superdry[edit]

Global brand Superdry collaborates with the university's Fashion degree which sees the brand's design and creative teams provide expert industry advice, guidance and practical experience to fashion students.[103] Superdry are also one of the supporters of the Graphic Design programme.[104]

Your Future Plan[edit]

The university has developed Your Future Plan,[105] where every undergraduate student is guaranteed the support to create a personal career plan, which they start developing in their first year. It helps develop their presentation skills, volunteering, completing internships and work placements, working on live briefs and running sports teams and social clubs and societies.

Unit 1 Films[edit]

Unit 1 Films is the University of Gloucestershire's in-house production team run by TV & Film Graduates [1003]. Based in Cheltenham, undergraduates are commissioned to work on individual projects, alongside staff and freelance professionals.

Scholarships and financial support[edit]

The university charges £9,000 for new entrants in 2016/17 for UK and EU full-time students on undergraduate degree courses.[106] Foundation degrees are £7,500.[107] Fees for International Students outside the EU on undergraduate programmes are £11,750 per year.[108]

The University of Gloucestershire is offers a range of financial support package for undergraduate students commencing their studies in September 2016 as follows:[109]

  • Care Leavers Scholarship
  • Music scholarship
  • Partnership Bursary
  • Financial Assistance Fund
  • Sports Excellence Funds
  • Emergency short term loans
  • PGCE bursaries

Additionally the university offers unique sports refereeing scholarships supported by the Rugby Football Union, the Football Association, England Netball and the English Cricket Board.[110]

Awards and rankings[edit]

(2017, national)
The Guardian[112]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[113]
(2017, national)

The university is ranked 89th of 127 UK Higher Education institutions in The Complete University Guide for 2017 and it is not listed in the most recent global College and university rankings. However, the university is ranked in the top 20 in the UK for accounting and finance and for media and film studies, top 10 for film production and photography, top 4 for biosciences, and top 3 for Religious studies and theology.[114] 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% more students getting a graduate-level job or starting further training within six months of leaving university.[115]

In the 2016 annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey the University of Gloucestershire ranks 62nd.[116] 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 library and library opening hours, the good environment on campus and around the university, the good personal relationship with teaching staff and the high quality staff/lecturers. Second highest scores were for the helpfulness of staff, the good support/welfare, good security and the good community atmosphere.

The university was ranked sixth in the People and Planet green league in 2015.[117]

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

The 2015 National Student Survey revealed that 83% of final year undergraduate students at the University of Gloucestershire expressed overall satisfaction with their experience.[118]

In April 2015 the University of Gloucestershire was short-listed for the award of Outstanding Student Services Team in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.[119]


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.[120]

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…’[121]

The university pursues and supports four types of research activity:[122]

  • 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

Research Priority Areas[edit]

The university has six Research Priority Areas:[123]

  • Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
  • Environmental Dynamics & Governance
  • Applied Business Research
  • Being Human: Past, Present & Future
  • Innovation, Design & Technology
  • Learning & Professional Contexts

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,[124] and the current president (2016–17) is Raphaella Ward. The Students' Union provides a number of opportunities for students including volunteering and part-time work.[125] 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 Worcester and until 2015 remained undefeated for 10 years. The Varsity2015 events attracted controversy following scuffles between students from each University during the Rugby Union match. It is reported there were repeated chants of "Worcester's not a Uni, It's a sauce."

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. It broadcasts from Park Campus and is run by the members. It was set up in 2006.[126]

Student services[edit]

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. These include the National Student Survey (NSS). The university's response rate in the 2015 National Student Survey was 72%, while the sector rate was 71%.[127] Surveys also include the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES).[128]


The university's School of Sport and Exercise is one of the largest providers of sport and exercise programmes in the UK. It is a Centre of Excellence for elite women's rugby sevens[129] and is the only university to own a professional rugby league team, the University of Gloucestershire All Golds.[130]

The University of Gloucestershire has a long sporting tradition and, in particular, seven focus sports, Rugby League, Rugby Union, hockey, football, tennis, netball and volleyball.[131]

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.[132] In 2016 the All Golds also entered a team into the RFL Conference League South.[133]

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.[134]

Malawian athletes returned to the campus to train ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.[135]

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,[136] overlooked by another student dressed in what the press described as a "Nazi officer uniform".[137]

A further incident in December 2008 resulted in a Rugby Union club member vomiting on board a bus, following what a local newspaper called a "booze-fuelled initiation ceremony".[138]


Following months of preparation between the university and GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Growth Hub[139] opened on October 1, 2014, and saw more than 200 businesses come through the door in just three weeks.[140]

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.[141]

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.

People associated with the university[edit]

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.[142]

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, George Carey, Chef Tom Kerridge, rugby player turned businessman Phil Vickery, actor David Morrissey and former leader of the House of Lords Baroness Jan Royall.

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, sculptor Lynn Chadwick, fundraiser Jamie McDonald and Dean of Gloucester Stephen Lake.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 'University of Gloucestershire - Thanksgiving', 30 April 2002, Gloucester Cathedral', 'A New University with a History', pages 5-7
  2. ^ a b c 'Celebrating 150 years of the Church Foundation', 1997, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education, pages 1, 4
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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]