Newcastle College has celebrated a successful first half-term for its newly launched University Centre, following an application to the Department for Education.
The College, which offers more than 70 degree courses from Foundation to Masters, has been granted permission to use the title and now operates its higher education provision as Newcastle College University Centre.
The change follows recent recognition for the provider’s higher education offering. In June of last year, it was awarded the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award, a government initiative which recognises excellence in teaching at higher education level. At the beginning of this year it also received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, the most prestigious national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution.
While most further education colleges require the validation of a partner university to award degrees, Newcastle College has access to NCG’s Taught Degree Awarding Powers, granted in 2016. These powers allow the College to develop and award its own degrees in response to industry demand.
The University Centre is designed to offer a real alternative to university for students; mixing a higher level of study within a local college environment. The College’s reputation as a vocational skills provider means it can offer professional work-based study opportunities, industry-linked activities and intensive teaching environments, providing a unique level of support rarely found at universities.
To support the launch, the College has developed a brand new HE Hub, exclusive to those studying for a degree. It will provide a central support unit for higher education students including a dedicated IT and study facility, as well as a licensed bar and café, with leisure areas to socialise and study. The look and feel of the Hub has been designed by the College’s Interior and Spatial Design degree students, as part of a collaborative project.
An exclusive higher education area in the College’s multi-million pound Parsons Building has been updated and improved, while other designated University Centre spaces are being created across the campus to provide supportive learning and study areas for degree students.
Explaining the significance of the name change, Nicky Turnbull, Director of Higher Education at Newcastle College said: “As a higher education skills provider, we’re really proud to be able to call ourselves a University Centre.
“The degree provision at Newcastle College is larger than many people may realise and with the launch of the University Centre, combined with our access to Taught Degree Awarding Powers, it has the potential to grow even further.
“The change will offer our current degree students a note of separation while continuing to offer them the benefits of studying in a college environment, particularly the vocational and support based learning they value here.
“It’s important to the College as it will help establish us as a trusted provider of higher education and allow us to grow that provision, cementing Newcastle College University Centre as an institution which offers the same level of education as a university.”