University Centre at Blackburn College
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (September 2011)|
|East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education (ELIHE)|
|Principal||Dr. Thomas Moore|
|Dean||Dr. Janet Thompson|
|Affiliations||University of Glamorgan, University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University|
University Centre offers 120 degrees, HNC/HNDs and postgraduate courses, each validated by the University of South Wales, the University of Central Lancashire or Lancaster University, and 48% of students achieve first class or 2:1 degrees.
Formerly known as the East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education (ELIHE), the institution was formed in 1993 with the purchase of the old seven-floor former British Telecom building for £2.5 million and formally named as the ELIHE in 2003. Each floor was given over to one of the various schools of education within the university structure but the condition of the building meant that a new location for the institute would have to be found by the late 2000s.
Construction began on the new University Centre building near the main College campus in 2008 with a total investment cost of £13 million, the work was completed for the start of the 2009 academic year in 2009 when the building was opened by local MP Jack Straw and the then manager of Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Sam Allardyce.
In 2010, a further investment of £500,000 saw the canteen area, known as the Curve, expanded to improve student study and social space after an increase in student numbers during the buildings second year of existence. In 2011, further expansion plans were revealed as University Centre looked to create places for a further 600 students. The planned extension will house facilities to focus on degree courses in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics and would bring the total number of degree level students to almost 4,000.
Also in 2011, the institute has begun the process of applying for the rights to validate its own degree programmes, currently running degree courses that are validated externally by the University of South Wales, the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University
The University contains the following schools:
- University Centre Business School
- School of Arts, Humanities and Social Science
- School of Law, Justice and Community Studies
- School of Education and Professional Studies
- School of Science and Technology
The UCBC Students' Union has been active at the building since 2009 and during the final years of the ELIHE. Situated in the new extension for the 2010–2011 academic year, the Union moved back to its own designated office in 2011. The SU consists of nine part-time student officers including a President, Director of Communications, Campaigns Officer, Activities Officer and others. The institution has also appointed a designated SU Liaison Officer to work with the Union.
As well as representing students, the Union also engages in campaigning on issues relevant to the student body, event organisation and has its own bar located near the SU Office.
University Centre offers several options surrounding student accommodation including halls of residence, privately managed accommodation or living with a host family. Those staying in halls of residence are located at the College House building which was refurbished for the 2011–2012 academic year. College House consists of 28 study bedrooms, split over two floors and split into four blocks.
The University Centre currently has its own football team, UCBC FC, who play in the British Universities and Colleges Sport Conference League 6C. In their first year they placed second in the Northern Conference 7C and in their second year they won the division by 6 points. In the upcoming 2012/13 season, head coach Ben Gooden returns for his third season in charge and he has put together the Centre's first ever coaching team for the upcoming season. The Centre aims for another successful season by gaining back to back promotions. Major plans to expand the institutions sporting representation were undertaken in 2011 and is expected to include cricket, netball and basketball teams.
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