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University of Cornwall News

22nd October 1998

The following article appeared in today's The Cornishman:

Gaining university will 'take cunning'

By Joyce Channon
Chief Reporter

The Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative - CUC - has been welcomed by the county council's development and tourism committee.

During a presentation to councillors, Professor Alan Livingston, principal of Falmouth College of Arts, explained that gaining the long hoped-for University for Cornwall "would take time - and some cunning."

In his remarks, Prof Livingston addressed the critical aspects of scale, provision and quality.

Most universities, he said, have between 10,000 and 20,000 students, yet Cornwall currently has only around 8,000 students pursuing higher education.

To succeed, a Cornish University would need to attract many of these local students, while also appealing to other UK and even international students.

Provision would have to build on that already available in Cornwall, he said, with a broader spectrum of courses introduced to increase Cornwall's academic appeal.

Over-riding both scale and provision would be the need for verifiable quality, and a reputation for excellence in niche academic markets.

"Being as good as the rest," the Professor added, "is not good enough."

Those working on the Combined Universities include existing HE providers - Exeter and Plymouth Universities and Falmouth College of Arts - Cornwall County Council, the Higher Education Funding Council, and the Government Office for the South West, and they have now met with Cornwall's FE course providers, a representative of the FE Funding Council, the Open University and Plymouth's College of St. Mark & St John.

The meeting emphasised the need for the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative to grow organically, building upon existing sites and provision. This was to be a collaborative venture and would benefit from Cornwall and Scilly winning Objective 1 status.

During over an hour of questioning Prof Livingston said: "We are going to have to be patient, take our time and get it right.

Quality should permeate everything we do, because the title "University", which can only be granted by the Privy Council, is not given away lightly."

Chairman, Ken Hughes said: "We are now under starter's orders.

"A step by step approach is needed to gain the long awaited University for Cornwall.

Copyright © Cornish Weekly Newspapers Ltd 1998

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