UoW: Trinity Saint David – The London Campus
Towards the end of 2012 I noticed on the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David website that there was, in addition to the Carmarthen Campus and Lampeter Campus, mention of a London Campus. I wondered why a Welsh University had established a London Campus so I started investigating and found that this was a campus established specifically for overseas students.
I made a Freedom of Information request and found that the London Campus had been established as a direct result of the termination of the relationship with the private college, the “College of Technology London” (CTL) which I discussed in Blog No. 11. I was told that “the primary drivers for establishing the London Campus were to ensure the University’s duty of care to students enrolled on University programmes …….. and also for the further development of UWTSD”. The desire to ensure the duty of care to the students was, of course, admirable.
It was confirmed that the partnership with CTL had been terminated in November 2011 and it appears that the students were able to continue and complete examinations at the end of the semester in February 2012. The former CTL students were enrolled during a planned six week period between March and April 2012 and were then able to continue their course at the new UoW: TSD London Campus. Only former CTL students were enrolled at this stage.
I asked how the University had managed to enrol sufficient suitably qualified staff at such short notice and was told that they followed their standard recruitment processes and sufficient suitably qualified and experienced staff were appointed following interviews in London. Some of the appointed staff were previously employed by College of Technology London, which was the college were there had been problems.
I was told that “the University engaged in extensive planning processes to enable the establishment, operation and management of the new London campus.” This was a huge task in such a short timescale. I was told that “a project group comprising relevant support professionals was set up to establish the campus in line with best practice” and “the London Campus is managed by its Principal who is supported by staff on both the London and Wales’ campuses. The London campus has the same regulatory and administrative procedures that are applicable on any other campus.”
I asked whether a Business Plan had been prepared for the establishment of the London Campus so as to ensure its financial viability and the quality of the education provided. I was told that a Business Plan had been prepared. I was pleased to hear this but I was concerned in view of the student protest that took place on the Lampeter Campus just over a week ago. The University had dismissed staff at the Lampeter Campus in the middle of the academic year which is a sign of very poor business planning. I fully understand that organisations have to down-size sometimes but a well-managed educational establishment would make major staff changes at the end of an academic year. If the University couldn’t prepare a robust Business Plan for the well-established Lampeter Campus how could they prepare a robust business Plan for the new venture, the London Campus?
It takes a huge investment to establish an educational centre in London, renting the premises, adaptations and furniture, office and educational IT equipment, library facilities etc. I asked how the London Campus had been funded and was told that it “was funded from University reserves generated by international student fees in order to honour the obligations to students enrolled on University programmes.” One must also remember that the secondary objective stated in the first answer was “and also for the further development of UWTSD”.
The students who were protesting at the Lampeter Campus over the sacking of their lecturers, presumably because of the lack of funds, should consider the University’s priorities.