EDGE Hill University’s Vice Chancellor has outlined how current investment plans will put it on course to becoming one of the leading campus institutions in the country.
Dr John Cater spoke to the Post about how the decision to set fees at £9,000 will allow the Ormskirk-based university to maintain its current student body level – and focus on developing its reputation for quality.
He said: “What you’ll see us trying to do over the next five years or so is to further strengthen our brand and reputation. We don’t see ourselves growing in the future.
“What the government wanted us to do was not charge more than £7,500. We could have put in a bid for say 400 additional students and would have been given them. But we’ve swapped volume for the £9,000 price and quality comes with that. Our task, and I think we’re doing this, is to make sure we deliver the quality people are paying for.
“This is the right size to punch our weight, recruit high-quality students and generate sufficient resource to allow us to continue to invest.”
Dr Cater, who joined the then college in 1979 and became principal in 1993, has overseen Edge Hill’s move to becoming a university in 2006, and its growth to the current position – with around 11,000 full-time students at the 160-acre St Helens Road campus.
With three universities in the North West in the Sunday Times University Guide’s top 50 – Lancaster, Manchester and Liverpool – Edge Hill’s immediate aspiration is to become the alternative for people who don’t get into that top three, rather than competing directly with the likes of UCLAN and Liverpool John Moores University.
Dr Cater also explained why the university has chosen specific areas to invest in, such as the current £15m development of its sports facilities and the 16m Creative Edge media building, which will bring industry-leading television and media production facilities matching those at Salford Quays.
He said: “[Edge Hill] is providing more teachers than any other, educating and training nurses for places like Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital and training paramedics. You can be fourth best overall in the region, but top for teacher training, training people for the health service, sport, dance and drama and media and IT.
“One reason we invest in our academic staff base and facilities is we aspire to be one of the four or five best campus universities in the country.”