The University of East Anglia is preparing to announce its expansion plans to recruit thousands more undergraduate students. The Vice Chancellor, David Richardson, has announced as part of the university’s 2030 vision, to increase student numbers by up to 20% in a move that would see up to 3,000 new students joining the university in the next few years.
These proposals are a part of the university’s 15-year vision, which is due to be unveiled in the New Year. This will be the first of three five-year plans and follows on from record-breaking recruitment in the current academic year, with UEA accepting 900 more new students than in 2013-14.
Speaking at the launch of UEA’s 2030 vision, professor Richardson said “There is no doubt that as a university we will need to grow our student population in the coming years”. He argued that growth was essential if UEA was to retain its position in global standings as well as attract more world-class academics and to enhance the university’s teaching and research. Richardson stressed that he wanted to maintain what makes UEA “so special” and stressed that the vision would focus on investing and developing the Norwich campus, rather than looking into options of other campuses in the UK or around the world. “In our planning, we are also mindful of the opportunities for expansion which are not purely location based, but which can be offered via online and flexible learning.”
The Vice Chancellor’s remarks that the 2030 vision will focus on the Norwich campus is confirmation of a move away from a previous strategy which had seen the university open a campus in London in 2010 which closed last year, after courses being offered for only four years.
However, there have been questions as to whether this aim to increase student numbers in such a short time span is achievable. A report issued by the School of Biology states that one of the operational problems, which the School has had to contend with over the past year. The report argues that the high numbers of students are a “testament to BIO’s teaching and research reputation”, but that it “has put a huge strain on teaching resources”. The School of Biology’s own data allows for it’s intake to mirror that of this year, even though that will mean the school will have 100 students more than they think is manageable, putting BIO’s intake up to an approximate 332.