The University of Warwick has reaffirmed its commitment to Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in the local community in the list of Warwick’s top priorities.
Warwick joins 30 other institutions (also including Coventry University) in committing to produce a “Civic University Agreement” in partnership with local government and other major institutions.
The new agreement is a key recommendation in a report published today by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake.
The report sets out how universities such as Warwick are able to work with and support the places where they are based, to help address some of their most pressing and major problems.
These issues range from helping local business in adapt to technological change, to boosting the health of local people, improving education for school pupils and adult learners, and training and developing new civic leaders in every field from politics to the arts.
The report recognises and builds on the excellent work universities like Warwick have already carried out in these areas, working alongside councils; employers; cultural institutions, and educational bodies such as other universities, schools, and colleges.
Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft, said:
“Just two months ago I was delighted to share a special event with civic leaders and local policy makers in the Lord Bhattacharyya Building, to celebrate all the partnership work that Warwick does with its city and region. This includes Warwick’s overall economic impact in the West Midlands of almost £1 billion a year, an in terms of jobs as well as employing over 6,640 staff, our university sustains a further 9,245 additional jobs in the West Midlands. 86% of The University of Warwick’s staff live in the West Midlands with 42% in Coventry and 21% in Warwick District. A new Civic University Agreement will further cement our close ties with our city and region.”
Lord Kerslake (who himself is a graduate of the University of Warwick), the Chair of Sheffield Hallam University, and a former Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and the former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government) said:
“The deep economic and social changes that are happening in Britain today have, alongside Brexit, made the civic role of universities even more vital to the places they are located in.
“The civic universities of the Victorian era were founded as expressions of civic pride, and as a way of sharing knowledge and opportunity at a time of rapid change.
“We are now entering a new industrial revolution when it will be even more vital that knowledge is accessible in as many communities as possible.
“It is not just people outside university grounds who will benefit. Universities are under unprecedented challenge and need to find a broader base of support. Universities need to be part of a community which is engaged, supportive and shares objectives.”
Lord Kerslake, added:
“Universities have an irreplaceable and unique role in helping their host communities thrive – and their own success is bound up with the success of the places that gave birth to them.”
Richard Brabner, director of the UPP Foundation, said:
“Universities have the ability to make a real difference to the places they are located in through reinvigorating their civic role. But this is not just a responsibility, it’s also an opportunity.
“This is an important report with concrete recommendations that all universities will want to consider. The UPP Foundation created the commission to look at what it means to be a Civic University in the 21st Century and ask local people what they wanted from their local institution.
“We know that many universities want to build engagement with the community around them. It’s excellent news that such an impressive list of institutions has already signed up and the UPP Foundation strongly endorses the report’s findings.”
The report warns that there is a danger that any cut in the resources available to universities – for example, a reduction in student fees without the deficit being made up in funding from the Treasury - will mean that work already being done in this area – like help provided to schools and further education colleges – could be slashed.
The report was based on evidence-gathering sessions held across England. The authors also commissioned opinion polling and focus groups in cities and towns to hear from the public what they wanted from their local university.
The report says that the Government needs to fundamentally review policies to support further civic engagement by universities. Until the recent creation of an industrial strategy, government has for many decades been too indifferent about places within the United Kingdom – contributing to some regions falling behind.
But universities can take a vital step at this pivotal time by adopting the Commission’s idea of a Civic University Agreement setting out how they will listen to and work with local communities.
The Civic University Agreement signed by 30 universities includes four key points:
● Understanding local populations
● Understanding themselves and what they are able to offer
● Working and linking with other local anchor institutions, businesses and community organisations to agree where the short, medium and long-term opportunities and problems lie for communities
● Agreeing and aligning with a clear set of priorities working with local authorities, LEPs (Local Economic Partnerships), NHS bodies and others
List of signatories as of 11th February 2019
Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Liz Barnes, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Staffordshire University
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Sunderland
Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool
Professor Paul Boyle CBE, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Warwick
Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President, Newcastle University
Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham
Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Portsmouth
Professor David M A Green CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Worcester
Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University
Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield
Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton
Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hull
Patrick Loughrey, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford
Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hertfordshire
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor, Keele University
Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Derby
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow
Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor and President, Ulster University
Professor Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor, University of Northampton
Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Plymouth
Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University
Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor, Lancaster University
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln
Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sussex
Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham
Professor Steven West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer, University of the West of England
For further information please contact:
For the UPP Foundation:
Please call Gabriel Milland of Public First on 07860 552 621 or email@example.com.
For Warwick please contact:
Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations, University of Warwick
Tel office: 024 76523708 UK +44 (0)24 76523708 International
Mobile/Cell: 07767 655860 UK +44 (0)7767 655860 International
PJD 11th February 2019