Birmingham Newman University

Coordinates: 52°26′01″N 1°59′38″W / 52.4336°N 1.9938°W / 52.4336; -1.9938
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Birmingham Newman University
Coat of Arms
Birmingham Newman University
Former names
Newman College of Higher Education
Newman University College
MottoLatin: Ex Umbris in Veritatem
Motto in English
From the shadows to the truth
Established1968 (1968)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliations
Cathedrals Group
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Jackie Dunne[1]
Students2,795 (2019/20)[2]
Undergraduates2,170 (2019/20)[2]
Postgraduates620 (2019/20)[2]

52°26′01″N 1°59′38″W / 52.4336°N 1.9938°W / 52.4336; -1.9938

Birmingham Newman University is a public university based in the suburb of Bartley Green in Birmingham, England. The university was founded in 1968 as Newman College of Higher Education. From 2008 to 2013, it was known as Newman University College, gaining full university status in 2013. From 2013 to 2023, it was known as Newman University and Birmingham Newman University in 2023.


The university is named after the 19th-century religious figure John Henry Newman, who had strong links with the city of Birmingham as an Oratorian and a member of the Birmingham Oratory. His view of a university was of a scholarly community wherein the focus should be on training the mind to think rather than the simple diffusion of knowledge.[3]

In 1965, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, George Patrick Dwyer, donated land in Bartley Green that was once the site of Athol House Farm for the purposes of building a teacher training college. In 1966, while under construction, the college appointed Simon Quinlan as its first principal and Joe Blackledge as vice principal.[4] At its opening, the college was the first mixed-gender institution under lay control. The college accepted its first group of 182 students in 1968.

Initially, the college's degree qualifications were awarded by University of Birmingham. In 1983, under threat of closure, the college entered into an agreement with nearby Westhill College to share facilities. This relationship ended abruptly in 1998 when Coventry University started to award all degrees and Westhill College was absorbed into the University of Birmingham.[5] Between 2003 and 2008, the University of Leicester validated all degrees at the college.[5] The Privy Council gave the institution degree-awarding powers in 2007 finally marking the institution's independence.[6]

Between the years 2000 and 2008, the college expanded, student numbers increasing by 112%.[7]

Newman College of Higher Education Campus, c. 1998
Newman College of Higher Education Campus, c. 1998

Originally called Newman College of Higher Education, the college was established as a centre for the training of teachers for local primary and secondary schools.[8] The institution changed its name to Newman University College in January 2008, to Newman University in 2013 and to Birmingham Newman University in 2023.[9][10][11] Upon receiving university status, then principal, Professor Peter Lutzeier, commented 'it has been a long road to get here but achieving full university status provides welcome recognition for the quality of Newman's courses, graduates and staff'.[12]

Student population[edit]

In 2005, nearly half of the institution's students were from low-participation groups and 28% from low-participation neighbourhoods.[13] In 2016, according to the analysis in The Sunday Times, Newman had the third highest working class intake, the second highest state school intake of all universities in the UK. The same survey showed that 1 in 3 of Newman's students is a mature student.[14]

Birmingham Newman University, Library
Map, Newman
Map of Birmingham Newman University


The university campus is located in Bartley Green about 8 miles (12.9 km) south-west of the city centre. It overlooks the Bartley Reservoir.

The campus is designed around a series of inner quadrangles near academic, administrative, and pastoral buildings.[15] The buildings on campus are named after people with a local historical significance and/or an educational significance to Birmingham Newman University. The quads are named after women who have made a significant contribution to Birmingham and the Halls of Residence are named after places of significance to John Henry Newman.[16] Much of the Campus dates back to the original foundation of the college in the 1960s interspersed with more recent developments.

Christmas 2016, Atrium, Newman University, Birmingham

St Mary's Chapel is located in the middle of the campus and offers chaplaincy support to those of any faith and spaces for religious exercise or contemplation.[17] In 2016, the chapel was refurbished and a large extension added to the south side of the building to provide additional teaching spaces.[18]

St Mary's Chapel interior

Students have a number of choices for where to eat on Campus in addition to shops and takeaway restaurants on Genners Lane. The Sanctuary acts as the main refectory where hot and cold meals are served throughout the day.[19] The Senses Bar is on the northern side of the campus[20] The Atrium cafe serves Starbucks coffee and other snacks on the south side of campus.[20]

Statue of John Henry Newman

In 2013, the university invested £20 million in developing parts of the campus, including a new library and entrance named the St Chad Building.[21] These were opened by Olympic athlete Kristian Thomas and nominated for the Education category BD Architect of the Year Award, 2012.[21][22][23]

In September 2014 and 2017, the university received the Gold Award for Eco Campus.[24][25][26]

At the north side of the Campus is the Newman Health and Wellbeing Centre. Opened in 2016, the centre offers counselling services to students and local residents as well as a range of outreach activities.[27]

The new 104-room Cofton Halls of Residence were completed at the end of 2017.[28][29]

Sports facilities[edit]

Newman's Sports Centre is situated in the Edwards Building at the northern edge of the Campus. The gymnasium is complete with a full cardio and sports performance suite with two Olympic lifting platforms. The centre has squash and badminton court facilities. All facilities are open to the local community as well as students and staff from the university.[30]

Beyond the centre, there is a third-generation all-weather pitch that was originally opened in 2008 and then upgraded in April 2017.[31][32][non-primary source needed] The pitch was officially opened by former Aston Villa and England striker Darius Vassell and Premier League official and Newman alumna Sian Massey-Ellis. The pitch was part of a collaboration between the university and the Football Foundation to increase local participation in sports.[33]

The sports hall plays host to the university sports teams and is sometimes used as an examination venue.

Campus art[edit]

The campus has a number of artworks. A piece entitled 'The Globe', designed by Planet Art in nearby West Bromwich, was installed outside of the new library building in May 2012. 'The Globe' includes quotations from John Henry Newman on faithfulness and commitment.[34] A statue of John Henry Newman, designed and created by Tim Tolkien, is in the Ryland Quad of the campus.[35]

Campus Development[edit]

In 2016, the local council approved the first phase of the university's new Campus development plan. Phase one included a £22 million investment in a new hall of residence, teaching block, social spaces and coffee bar.[36][37] The accommodation blocks are designed as a ribbon of buildings that respond to the natural sweep of the eastern boundary.[25] The new teaching block includes a new lecture theatre, seminar rooms and atrium.[38]

Oxford Hall building, Newman University
Academic Offices in Oxford Hall
Atrium, St Hilda Building

The total development, costing £70m, was the subject of an argument between local councillors. Fiona Williams (Lab) criticised the generic nature of the building designs. She stated 'we seem to be having a lot of off-the-shelf design in the city. We need a little more imagination'. Her rival, Douglas Osborn (Con) defended the designs claiming 'the site has character...any extras would end up being paid for by the young people through the fees'. One council official claimed the designs were 'crisp and modern' and in keeping with surrounding buildings.[39]

In 2021, the university began work developing teaching spaces for new courses in Nursing.[40]

Organisation and structure[edit]

Open Day, 2017, St Chad Atrium, Newman University, Birmingham

The university is governed by the University Council and the Senate, while day-to-day running is by the university leadership team.[41] As of November 2021, the university leadership team was:

  • Professor Jackie Dunne, Vice-Chancellor
  • Professor Peter Childs, Deputy Vice Chancellor
  • Andrea Bolshaw, University Secretary & Registrar
  • Tony Sharma, Director of Finance & Corporate Services
  • Trisha Sterling, Executive Dean, Faculty of Education
  • Dr Mohammed Jakhara, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Society and Professional Studies
  • Giosi Birkett , Director of Human Resources

The university is divided into two faculties – both based on the Bartley Green campus:

  • The Faculty of Education
  • The Faculty of Arts, Society and Professional Studies[42]


In 2021, the university's income was £24.1m with an expenditure of £22.1m. Student fees from UK undergraduate and postgraduate students represented £19.4m of the university's income that year.[43]

Academic profile[edit]

Graduate bears, Birmingham Newman University
Foundation Day Celebrations, 2015

Newman was given taught degree awarding powers in September 2007[9] and full university status in 2013.[11] In It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. In 2016/17, over three quarters of the undergraduate student population at the university was female (2,180 out of a total of 2,830).[44]

The university offers degrees in a wide range of subjects and continues to offer teacher training courses. Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is available at both undergraduate level and through the Postgraduate Certificate in Education as well as taught and research-based postgraduate degrees.[45]

Since inception in 1968 over 13,500 teacher training students have gained qualified teacher status or the equivalent.

The university awards postgraduate research degrees (MPhil and PhD) in affiliation with Liverpool Hope University.[46]

In 2014, the university was awarded £1.8 million to establish the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum Centre.[47] The university secured another tranche of funding from HEFCE to explore innovation in the Higher Education sector.[48]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

National rankings
Complete (2025)[49]124
Guardian (2024)[50]101
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[51]121

Newman University is the fourth ranked of the five universities in Birmingham according to the Complete University Guide, below the University of Birmingham, Aston University, and Birmingham City University.[52]

The university has a consistently high graduate employment rate of around ninety to ninety-five per cent.[53]

Newman was one of only fifteen universities to be awarded a 'High' ranking in the first Which? University Guide. In June 2014, the university was named the safest university for students in Birmingham by the Independent's Complete University Guide.[54] The Student Support was nominated for the 'Outstanding Student Services Team' award at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2017.

Newman University Graduation, 2011, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Newman University's teacher training courses received a Good in the most recent Ofsted inspection.[55] Many of the university's courses are recognised by professional bodies such as the Chartered Management Institute, BASES and British Psychological Society.[56]

Professor Peter Lutzeier and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor at Graduation, 2014

National Student Survey (NSS)[edit]

In 2019, Newman was 1st in Birmingham and 4th in the West Midlands for overall student satisfaction. In 2015, Newman was in the top 25 institutions in the UK for overall satisfaction. In addition, Drama, English Studies and History all scored 100% for 'Overall Satisfaction' and were rated number 1 in the country in their subject areas.[57]

Academic Staff, Graduation, 2014, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Teaching Excellence Framework[edit]

In the UK government's new teaching assessment exercise, released in June 2017, Newman was awarded a Silver award for its teaching standards.[58] In a mock-TEF exercise performed by the Times Higher Education Supplement, Newman University ranked in ninety-first place and scored strongly on its overall student satisfaction scores (89%).[59]

Research Excellence Framework[edit]

The university has a growing research profile. In 2008, Education, Sport-Related Studies and History made submissions to the Research Assessment Exercise.[60] Most research was found to be 'recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour'.[61] The university asserted its intention to grow its research profile prior to the next research assessment by attracting 'more staff with an established research interest and publication history and young academics with potential to evolve a significant research profile'.[62] The university made a full submission to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

In the university's strategic plan document in 2014, the university committed itself to 'focus investment on securing a critical mass of academic staff who are engaged in research, practice, or other forms of advanced scholarship' and to 'expand research income streams'.[63]

The university is home to six research centres: the Centre for Science, Knowledge, Belief and Society; the Children, Young People and Family Research Research Centre; the Humanities Research Centre; Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception; Newman Institute of Leadership in Education and the Sport, Physical Activity and Health Research Centre.[64]

Tier 4 visa controversy[edit]

In April 2017, Newman University's license to recruit and teach overseas students was revoked.[65] Vice-Chancellor, Scott Davidson, commented on the government's decision in a published article Times Higher Education Supplement.[65] Professor Davidson noted how 'As a smaller university, we issued less than 20 CASs over the last 12 months, meaning just two rejections was enough to trigger the 10% threshold. This is in contrast with larger universities, which may have several hundred CAS refusals before the 10% threshold is crossed'. The university noted its commitment to regaining Tier 4 powers as soon as possible.[66] Industry observer, Jack Grove, commented that the revocation of the university's Tier 4 licence was a 'ridiculous decision' [67]

50th anniversary, 2018[edit]

In 2018, the university started a year of celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. On 13 February 2018, the university vice chancellor, Professor Scott Davidson, opened the year of events with a drinks reception at the Bartley Green campus. Davidson told visitors

It’s incredible to look back over our evolution since we first opened our doors in 1968 as a teacher training college. Whilst we still have a strong reputation within that field, I’m proud that we are now able to offer a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation degree courses and welcome students and staff of all religions.[68]

In attendance were local business leaders, former students and the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley. The university called on its former students to share their memories in an online campaign.[69] As part of the celebrations, the university hosted the Cathedrals Group Choirs Festival.[70] Rehearsals took place in the university chapel while the final performance was held in Birmingham Symphony Hall.[71]

The university's 'big alumni reunion' was scheduled for August 2018.[72]


Visit of Mother Teresa, 1992[edit]

On 9 September 1992, Mother Teresa visited the college campus with Cardinal Basil Hume and greeted students and staff.[73]

40th anniversary thanksgiving, 2008[edit]

On 21 February 2008, the University College celebrated its fortieth anniversary. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols presided over the celebration mass in St Mary's Chapel. Staff celebrated the anniversary at the nearby Botanical Gardens.

Papal Visit, 2012[edit]

Students and staff from the university participated in a ceremonial mass held by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park, Birmingham in 2012.[74]

Honorary doctorates[edit]

The university has awarded honorary doctorates to a number of public figures and intellectuals including John Sentamu, Eamon Duffy and Edward Bond.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University Leadership Team". Newman University. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  3. ^ "About Us". 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ "The History of Newman University, 1968–1977" (PDF). Newman University, Birmingham. June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "History of Newman University, 1998–2007" (PDF). Newman University, Birmingham. 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ "PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR NEWMAN – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Newman University College Appoints New Principal". 25 June 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  8. ^ Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b Naqvi Shahid (7 September 2007). "City college wins right to grant degrees". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  10. ^ "Note No. 2, Notes to tables 2007/08". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b "£20m library opened at Birmingham's Newman University". Birmingham Post. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Newman University College becomes Birmingham's fifth university". BBC News. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  13. ^ MacLeod, Donald (1 November 2005). "Pamela Taylor: Faith in the future". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Newman University, Accounts, 2016/17" (PDF). Charity Commission. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Campus Art". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Campus Map – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Chaplaincy". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Julian of Norwich, Newman University, Birmingham".
  19. ^ [dead link]
  20. ^ a b "Food and Drink".
  21. ^ a b "Campus Development". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  22. ^ "St Chad Building Opening Ceremony". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  23. ^ Glenn Howells Architects. "Glenn Howells Projects". Glenn Howells Architects. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b "Construction work exposed at Newman University | Blog | ADP: Architecture". Archived from the original on 3 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Newman reaccredited with Eco Campus Gold Award – Newman University, Birmingham". 17 October 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Newman University – Birmingham (31 October 2017), Newman University – Brand New Accommodation, retrieved 8 November 2017[dead YouTube link]
  29. ^ "Newman University - Halls of Residence, Student Accommodation and Sturge Refurbishment".
  30. ^ "Sports Centre – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Newman Sports All Weather Pitch – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  32. ^ Centre, Newman Sports (24 April 2017). "Our new 3G Sports pitch is.... NOW OPEN!!!! #football #Bartleygreen". @NUSportsCentre. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  33. ^ "New 3G Artificial Grass Pitch opened at Newman University, Birmingham by Darius Vassell and Sian Massey-Ellis, MBE to boost grassroots sport". Newman University, Birmingham. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  34. ^ "The Globe". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  35. ^ "Newman University". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  36. ^ "£22m Campus investment approved - Newman University, Birmingham". Archived from the original on 2 May 2016.
  37. ^ "EDQ | Expansion plans for Newman University". Archived from the original on 14 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Newman University: Sturge Extension taking shape on site". 28 June 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  39. ^ "Go ahead for Newman University campus expansion". Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  40. ^ "Nursing". Newman University, Birmingham. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  41. ^ "Governance and Management – Newman University, Birmingham". 26 September 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  42. ^ "Faculties - Newman University, Birmingham". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  43. ^ "Newman University Reports and Financial Statements For the Year Ended 31 July 2021" (PDF). Newman University. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  44. ^ "Where do HE students study? | HESA". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  45. ^ Newman University - Birmingham (28 June 2016), Teacher Training at Newman University, Birmingham, retrieved 28 June 2018[dead YouTube link]
  46. ^ "Newman University signs agreement with Liverpool Hope University for validation of PhDs". Newman University. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  47. ^ "Newman secures £1.8 million research funding – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  48. ^ "Newman secures Catalyst funding – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  49. ^ "Complete University Guide 2025". The Complete University Guide. 14 May 2024.
  50. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2024". The Guardian. 9 September 2023.
  51. ^ "Good University Guide 2024". The Times. 15 September 2023.
  52. ^ "The Complete University Guide 2015". The Complete University Guide. 1 June 2014.
  53. ^ Ami Sedghi (18 July 2011). "How likely are you to be employed? By university and course". The Guardian: How Likely are you to be employed? (2011). Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  54. ^ "Newman University named the safest place for a student in Birmingham". Newman University. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  55. ^ "Ofsted | Newman University College". Archived from the original on 1 May 2013.
  56. ^ "Accredited Courses | BPS". Archived from the original on 18 May 2013.
  57. ^ "Newman University, Charity Commission Annual Report, 2016" (PDF). Charity Commission, UK. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  58. ^ "Teaching excellence framework (TEF) results 2017". 22 June 2017.
  59. ^ "Mock TEF results revealed: a new hierarchy emerges". Times Higher Education (THE). 23 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  60. ^ "Research Assessment Exercise, 2008". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  61. ^ "Research Assessment Exercise, 2008". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  62. ^ "Newman University College, RA5a: Research environment and esteem". RAE 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  63. ^ "Strategic Plan 2014 – 2020 – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  64. ^ "Research Centres – Newman University, Birmingham". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  65. ^ a b "UK university loses visa licence after two students rejected". 26 April 2017.
  66. ^ "Statement regarding Newman University's Tier 4 sponsorship licence for international students - Newman University, Birmingham". Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  67. ^ Jack Grove [@jgro_the] (26 April 2017). "Ridiculous decision to revoke Newman University's Tier 4 licence due to just two visa refusals" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  68. ^ Brown, Graeme (5 March 2018). "Newman University celebrates its 50th anniversary". birminghampost. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  69. ^ News, Independent Catholic (2 February 2018). "Call for memories to support Newman University's 50th anniversary celebrations | ICN". Retrieved 28 June 2018. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  70. ^ "Choirs Festival kicks off Newman celebrations | GBCC". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  71. ^ "Newman hosts successful Cathedrals Group Choirs Festival - Newman University, Birmingham". 27 February 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  72. ^ "50th Anniversary - Newman University, Birmingham". 5 January 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  73. ^ "The History of Newman University, 1988–1997" (PDF). Newman University, Birmingham. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  74. ^ "History of Newman University, 2008–present" (PDF). Newman University, Birmingham. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.

External links[edit]

52°26′01″N 1°59′38″W / 52.4336°N 1.9938°W / 52.4336; -1.9938