Universities Week - Monday 13th June 2011

Sharing Big Ideas                 

universities Week Logo 2011

To celebrate Universities Week here are some facts about the University of Chester

• The University of Chester has been making history since 1839, when it was founded by such pioneers as the great 19th-century prime ministers, William Gladstone and the Earl of Derby and a former Archbishop of Canterbury.

• The University of Chester is one of the oldest English higher education establishments of any kind, pre-dating all but Oxford, Cambridge, London and Durham, and its original buildings in the ancient city of Chester were the first in the country to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers.

• The chapel on the University of Chester’s main campus has a unique story. The original intention was for students to attend services in the Cathedral but soon it was identified that a proper college chapel was needed. The students took a hand in raising the necessary funds to build it. They then carried out the construction work to create the beautiful building which opened in 1847.

• Chester has one of the largest work based learning programmes for adults of any university in the world - the Work Based and Integrative Studies programme has nearly 1,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students across the University (The Centre for Work Related Studies, Professional Development)

• In 2010, Faculty of Education and Children’s Services staff at the University of Chester staged the first ever 5 km 'Run to the Arts' in Bethlehem together with academic colleagues in the West Bank, Palestine. Senior Lecturer Steve Tones and Professor Allan Owens worked with colleagues from the Bethlehem University, Dr Hala Al Yamani and Samar Al Musra to develop a route for over 60 participants to run from the University’s main campus to the Alrowwad (which means Beautiful Non-violent Resistance) Cultural and Theatre Training Centre in Aida Camp, home to Palestinian refugees since 1948. (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services).

• The National Trust works closely with students and staff at the University of Chester to ensure that the ongoing restoration of Mendips, John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool, is as accurate as possible (Department of History and Archaeology).

• A track written and produced by students reached No.1 in Amazon UK's "Movers and Shakers" chart last month. The track is DaSonJa featuring Rachel Butterworth – Bounce (Commercial Music Production).

• Masters students from the University of Chester triumphed at the BBC North Developing Talent Conference 2011 for the second year running. They won the Production Award at this year’s event for their short film Til Death Do Us Part (Faculty of Arts and Media).

• A new course has been launched at the University of Chester to help teachers improve the life chances of children with literacy difficulties and dyslexia. As a result of taking part, teachers will develop their knowledge and understanding of dyslexia to be able to make a real difference to children and colleagues in their school and also in communities of practice (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services).

• The University of Chester’s Faculty of Education and Children’s Services has been praised by Ofsted for its excellent teacher training provision. The recently published Initial Teacher Education Inspection report found that the overall effectiveness of Primary teacher training scored an ‘Outstanding’ Grade 1 and Secondary teacher training received a ‘Good’ Grade 2. The employment-based training route of (Graduate Teacher Programme or GTP) also scored an ‘Outstanding’ Grade 1, while the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Programme for Further Education received an award of ‘Good’ Grade 2 (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services).

• The University of Chester has launched a unique three-year foundation degree course for guide dog trainers in an extraordinary partnership with Guide Dogs. The Canine Assistance: Client and Dog Partnership degree programme is the only one of its kind in the UK and provides an academic background to underpin the professional training which has the ultimate aim of benefiting the blind and partially sighted. The University has validated and accredited certificates for puppy walking supervisors, guide dog trainers, breeding stock supervisors, dog care technicians and re-homing officers (Faculty of Applied Sciences).

• The University runs its own broadcasting radio station – The Cat 1251, based at the Warrington campus. Students take key roles in programme making and management for the station. (Faculty of Arts and Media).

• So far this academic year, Student Development has registered 590 student and staff volunteers. These students and staff have dedicated 13,338 hours to volunteering in the local community (Student Development).

• The University of Chester Press has been re-launched in 2011. New publications are Politics, Publishing and Personalities: Wrexham Newspapers, 1848-1914 (April 2011); Still Life: Poetry from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2010 (May 2011).

• Graduates from the University of Chester are more likely to find suitable employment than those from almost any other higher education institution in the region, in spite of the recession. According to annual data published by Unistats, which compares official information about the performance of universities and colleges, the University shares top North West billing with Cumbria, with 78% of its employed graduates from 2009 finding graduate level jobs. In addition, the annual survey by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) shows that 91.2% of the University’s 2009 graduate cohort entered employment or further study within six months of leaving.

• Over the past year the University of Chester has received the IiP award, UKTI China award, Career Destination achievement, BASES accreditation, CIM accreditation amongst other successes.

• The scope of research includes:

Hazard mapping that could potentially save thousands of lives under threat from tsunami

Collaborative work to develop England’s first carbon neutral village

The discovery of a vitamin compound which helps prevent heart disease and dementia

Using mathematical modelling to avoid the risk, expense and social impact associated with experiments involving human subjects or in fragile ecosystems, from Arctic to Outer Space.

• Chester Business School presents all University of Chester students with a “Dragon’s Den” opportunity to fund their business ideas and pitch in an exciting competition supported and funded by local businesses and international banking experts Santander.

• 'Graduate Head Start' is a European funded innovative programme developed and delivered by the University of Chester for unemployed and underemployed graduates. Statistics show that 75% of the 150 students at Chester who have followed the Graduate Head Start courses to date have found employment within six months.

• A new innovative course, designed to give health professionals the skills and expertise to assess and manage patients with morbid obesity, is being developed at the University of Chester. The MSc in Clinical Bariatric Practice will be run in partnership with Gravitas who are internationally recognised


Messages of support for the University of Chester during Universities Week

 Rob McLoughlin, broadcaster, and Deputy Chairman of Hasgrove presents at the Chester Forum. 

Rob Wotton – Sky Sports presenter – University of Chester alumni

“My stay at Chester was simply one of the most rewarding times of my life. Not just from an academic point of view, but also because it educated and moulded me into the person I am today. To learn, live and grow with people from all walks of life and from all corners of the map was an experience I would never have had if it wasn't for my undergraduate days. Precious memories and treasured joys that would never have happened if it wasn't for those days at the former Chester College. In fact I loved it so much I stayed on for an extra year as Students’ Union President!” 


Paul Salt- Breakfast show presenter – Real Radio North West – University of Chester alumni

“My time at university benefited me in a number of ways. Firstly it gave me the chance to learn skills and gain confidence for the industry which I was eventually to work in. The course I did consisted of several practical modules and I was quickly able to put these into practice. Secondly, my course included a nine week work placement which enabled me to meet a lot of key figures in the radio industry. University also gave me confidence in everyday life meeting new people and taking me out of my “comfort zone” of school life. On top of that I met a lot of people who are friends for life!”


Terry Waite 

Terry Waite CBE – Honorary graduate, University of Chester

“Education ought to be a lifelong process and not simply a matter of formal education. Not everyone will benefit from attending a university but those who do deserve the best. My ideal is a place where there can be a real community spirit and where the student can receive individual attention from the staff. A place where there is freedom to conduct research even though at the time it may not seem to have any practical application. A place that puts the emphasis on the growth and development of the whole person not only on academic results in the league table. In short, a university ought to be a place of excellence. We are fortunate in the UK for many are just that!  

Radio Comedy Dave recalls his time at university.

HE has one of the most recognisable voices on radio – and it was shaped here at the University of Chester.

Former Padgate campus of the University of Chester student Dave Vitty, better known as ‘Comedy Dave’ from BBC Radio 1’s flagship breakfast programme The Chris Moyles Show, returned to his former place of study to play a gig for current students and catch up with some of his former lecturers.

He met up with radio production lecturer Dave Grimshaw in the Farmers’ Arms, on Fearnhead Lane, where he reminisced about his time at the Warrington campus.

The 37-year-old graduated with a degree in media and business studies in 1995.

He said: “I had a really good time studying here. I just remember that we had such a laugh. I don’t know if it was any different from any other year but we had a great crop of characters.

“Because it was a small campus on the outskirts of town, we had to make our own entertainment and as such you got to know people really well.

“When we did go into town we went to all the usual places The Barley Mow, Postern Gate, Tut ‘n’ Shive, Mr Smith’s.”

He added: “I knew that I wanted to do media studies but I didn’t really know what area I wanted to go into, so the course that I took was brilliant as you got a bit of a taste of everything whether it was TV, radio or print.

“The course gave me a great overview of the basics and it certainly helped launch me to where I am today.

“Growing up I never enjoyed doing exams and I was never the biggest fan of education but considering that I needed to go into higher education to get to where I wanted to be, I have always said if I had the chance again, I would come back and do it exactly the same way.”

While he spent his first and third year in halls on campus, he and his four best friends spent their second year living at 22 Leicester Street, Bewsey.

He said: “There were five of us who lived together.

“We rented a house off Lovely Lane just up from The Mad Hatter pub. It wasn’t traditional student territory but it was a great experience.