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19 November 2009 | PR 09/161

Loughborough Vice Chancellor says a quality student experience is dependent on further HE investment

Shirley Pearce, VC

Professor Shirley Pearce.

Only with additional investment will UK universities be able to enhance further the quality of their student experience and continue to compete effectively in the global market – Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, will say today (19 November).

Speaking at the 1994 Group’s annual policy conference on ‘Enhancing the Student Experience’, Professor Pearce will say that an outstanding student experience, centred around the very highest quality education, is at the heart of UK universities’ success.

She will also warn that current funding levels are insufficient to sustain and enhance quality, and state that the funding review must address how funding can be increased including the option of higher fee levels.

“There is an inextricable link between the quality of our students’ experience at university and the level of funding HE receives. The expectations of our students are high, and quality costs money.

“Students demand the skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the global work place. We must ensure that UK higher education prepares its graduates intellectually, professionally and socially.”

Professor Pearce will stress that research-led teaching in a stimulating learning environment is at the core of an outstanding student experience.

“The quality of our students’ education is paramount, and a significant factor in achieving this quality is a university’s staff – talented and enthusiastic people who reach exceptional standards and in turn inspire others to achieve their potential.

“However universities must also consider the entirety of their offering – from the moment of a student’s first contact, to way beyond the time they graduate. The student experience does not begin and end the day students step foot on and off a campus.

“We must adopt a student-centred approach in all aspects of our activity to ensure our graduates benefit on all levels, but we can only achieve this with further funding.”

She will call upon the Government to provide incentives for universities to cut their costs.

“In this time of public sector spending cuts it is not acceptable for us to sit back and wait for additional funding to arrive. We must work as efficiently as we can, which means cutting our costs and sharing services with other universities wherever possible, and the Government must incentivise us to do this. They must also continue to urge universities to diversify their income streams and search out alternative funding sources, for example through philanthropic support or partnerships with industry.

“Countries overseas are investing heavily in their higher education. We must ensure the UK remains an attractive option for both UK and international students and does not get left behind.”

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. About the 1994 Group

    The 1994 Group represents 19 of UK’s leading student-focused research-intensive universities. It was established in 1994 to promote excellence in University research and teaching. www.1994group.ac.uk 1994 Group members include 10 of the top 18 universities in the UK in The Guardian University Guide League Table published on the 12th May 2009; 7 of the top 10 universities for student experience are 1994 Group universities (2009 National Student Survey).

    The 1994 Group represents: University of Bath, Birkbeck University of London, Durham University, University of East Anglia, University of Essex, University of Exeter, Goldsmiths University of London, Institute of Education University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Reading, University of St Andrews, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Surrey, University of Sussex, University of York.

    The 1994 Group conference is organised in partnership with Neil Stewart Asociates and supported by the National Union of Students (NUS), Higher Education Academy and Association of Managers of Student Services in HE (AMOSHEE).

  2. About Loughborough University

    Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen’s Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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