14 January 2013

Vice-Chancellor’s podcast and blog encourage debate on University’s regional role

Professor Anthony Forster

Professor Anthony Forster

The first public blog by Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster invites discussion with businesses, politicians, and community representatives about how the University’s regional role should develop.

Professor Forster, who joined Essex in August, has written the blog to highlight the many ways the University has contributed to the region since being established nearly 50 years ago as an international university ‘by’ ‘in’ and ‘for’ Essex.

But, in the blog, which is also available as a podcast, he raises questions about what people can and should expect of an internationally-oriented university committed to excellence in research and excellence in education.

The blog and podcast are available at: http://blogs.essex.ac.uk/vc

The podcast and blog are designed to encourage a debate about what part the University should play in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and contributing to the social and cultural life of Essex and the wider region.

Professor Forster says: “Our activities contribute to our local communities in many positive ways and I know how much they are valued.

“But as we approach our 50th Anniversary in 2014, it is also timely to ask ourselves, our neighbours and the representatives of our county some challenging questions:

  • What are our respective expectations of an internationally-oriented university committed to excellence in research and excellence in education?
  • What should the relationship be like between the University and communities across Essex and the region? How might we further strengthen our bonds?
  • What can and should be the role of the University in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and contributing socially and culturally to the county of Essex?

"These are tough questions and there are no quick or easy answers, but thinking through the answers with our local and regional partners will help us better understand and articulate ‘good neighbourliness’ and the regional role for an international university created in Essex.”

Factfile – The University of Essex’s regional impact in numbers

  • 3 – The University has campuses in Colchester, Southend and Loughton.
  • 850 – Student volunteers working in the local community through the Students’ Union vTeam programmes, contributing to 35 projects and providing 7,200 hours of volunteering.
  • 1,000 – Jobs supported by the University.
  • 1,088 – New first-year undergraduates from the local region, 598 from Essex/Suffolk and 490 from London. This is about 41 per cent of all first-year undergraduate registrations.
  • 2,000 – New jobs set to be created by the Knowledge Gateway development at our Colchester Campus.
  • 3,000 – People directly employed by the University.
  • 10,000 – Students, parents/carers and teachers from over 130 schools in Essex and the eastern region who took part in Outreach activities last year.
  • 11,000 – Students educated at the University every year.
  • 15,500 – Graduates living in the region, more than half of all our UK alumni and 21 per cent of all our alumni.
  • 23,000 – Visitors attracted to our Colchester Campus for arts events. Another 6,000 visit the Clifftown Theatre at our Southend Campus and nearly 5,000 visit the Corbett Theatre at our Loughton Campus each year.
  • £119 million – annual contribution to the local economy.

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