Glyndŵr University is projecting a £1.7million surplus this coming academic year as it sets out a fresh strategic direction and reveals new partnerships that will ‘benefit North Wales’.
Interim Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Upton, is to outline the Wrexham institution’s new five-year strategic framework at its annual open meeting on Friday morning.
The Board of Governors has already appointed Celia Jenkins, former High Sheriff of Clwyd, to its membership and later that day a further three members are set to join her; the Bank of England’s former Agent for Wales, Neil Ashbridge; Denbighshire County Council’s Corporate Director: Economic & Community Ambition, Rebecca Maxwell, and Maxine Penlington OBE, ex-Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham City University and former Executive Secretary at the CUC (Committee of University Chairs).
The audit committee is also set to recruit two fresh faces, while key partnerships with other higher education providers in the region will be revealed and a four-year financial plan targeting viability and sustainability is rolled-out.
It is a strong turnaround for Glyndŵr University and follows a period which included an operational and academic restructure and efficiency savings across its campuses, as well as an overhaul of academic divisions, which have been renamed ‘schools’ as part of the shake-up.
Professor Upton has said more focused management of projects and commercial agreements, including those at the OpTIC Centre in St Asaph, and an increase in student numbers are what will ensure the University maintains financial stability.
He continues to address and tackle issues raised by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw) and the Welsh Government, and with the support of Universities Wales and politicians and stakeholders in North Wales is determined to bring about a new era for the institution.
“There is no doubt this university has faced its challenges, but we are now in a much stronger position and ready to build a positive future for Glyndŵr University,” he said.
“The five-year strategy we have put together comes after months of hard work by everyone here, particularly our management committee, and the fact we are projecting a £1.7m surplus for the coming year is testament to that.
“We are pleased with progress, and by joining forces with other universities and colleges in this region on a strategic level have shown that the way forward is as an independent institution working closely with partner organisations for the good of our students, and the community of north east Wales.”
Professor Upton added that staff at Glyndŵr University would not rest on their laurels – putting students at the heart of the University is still top of their agenda.
“We are pleased that increasing numbers of students are recognising all that Glyndŵr has to offer, putting us ahead of where we were last year in terms of student applications and acceptances, but we cannot take our foot of the pedal,” he said.
“Recruitment of new full and part-time students is key to this university’s future and we are working hard to open up opportunities and look forward to welcoming increased numbers of students this September.”
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas welcomed the new strategy and said a healthy and successful Glyndŵr is vital to the future of the area. Mr Lucas said: “I welcome the projected surplus for next year under the leadership of Professor Upton. I also am pleased to see new blood on the Board, many with strong north east Wales connections.
“The success of our university is a precondition for success of our region. We now need to build further momentum in our community to support staff and students at Glyndŵr to achieve that goal.”
Marc Caldecott, new president of the University’s Students’ Guild, said this is a major boost for the University “After the difficult year we have had, we are delighted with this news”
“As a Guild we feel that our student-first principles have been taken into consideration – our voice has been heard – and we were pleased to be involved in shaping the new strategic framework with Professor Upton and the team.
“We believe the next few years are going to be exciting for Glyndŵr University, its staff and students, and look forward to the future.”
Pic: A new dawn at Glyndwr…