A sense of history and a new beginning

Posted on 21 October 2011
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On Friday 21 October, the University of Wales Council met to discuss its future in light of the strategic challenges set by the Welsh Government.

The University of Wales Council re-affirmed its merger with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University. In a significant change to its previous position Council agreed that the unified institution will be merged under the historic 1828 Royal Charter of Trinity Saint David, rather than under the 1893 University of Wales Charter.

The Trinity Saint David Charter is the oldest university Charter outside of Oxford and Cambridge in England and Wales. The governing body of Swansea Metropolitan University has also confirmed its commitment to this proposal as has the governing body of University of Wales: Trinity St David.

The University’s decision was made in the context of the objectives set by the Welsh Government and in particular the recommendations of the Review of Higher Education Governance (the McCormick Review) with regard to the reconfiguration of higher education. This merger, as approved today, addresses all of the requirements identified in the McCormick Review.

The University of Wales has served the people of Wales for almost 120 years, and the Council has reflected upon its heritage and inheritance to the nation. The transformed University will build on existing brand loyalty and will enhance its influence on public life in Wales and within an international context. To this end the transformed University proposes to establish a Wales Trust which will act as a stakeholder group.

At its meeting, the University of Wales Council also resolved to establish Adduned Cymru – a Wales Pledge –– which will secure an ongoing commitment within the transformed University to support Welsh culture. This commitment will include the University of Wales Press, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (A Dictionary of the Welsh Language), support for Welsh and Celtic Studies and support for The Learned Society of Wales. The Pledge will also articulate a clear commitment to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and will ensure that the transformed University will continue to support the development and enhancement of Welsh medium provision in higher education. This resolution will be honoured through a ‘Deed of Commitment’.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, Professor Medwin Hughes said:

“I warmly welcome the historic decision taken today by the University of Wales Council. The transformed University will serve and deliver for Wales. Our country will have several Universities which can all be regarded as national institutions, each one delivering to their core strengths and specific mission. After a decade of leading academic institutions, I look forward to working with the Government and other institutions in Wales to establish a strong higher education sector. Wales needs strong brands, and the University of Wales has committed itself to an irreversible change which will deliver for our Nation; it signifies a sense of history but also a commitment to a new beginning.”

At its meeting today the University of Wales Council also received a statement from Mr D Hugh Thomas in which he announced his resignation as Chairman of Council. Mr Thomas said, “The historic decision taken by the Governing Body – during my chairmanship – has caused me to assess what in leadership terms is in the best interests of the transformed University. I have asked my Vice-Chairman, Mr Alun Thomas, to inform you that I intend to resign as Chairman.”

Mr Alun Thomas said, “Hugh is a man of integrity and commitment who has committed his entire life to public service in Wales including, for the past four years, the Chairmanship of the Council of the University of Wales and before that the leadership of countless other government, education and voluntary sector organisations. We understand Hugh’s reasons for standing down at this time and we thank him unreservedly for leading the University to a position where the inheritance of its founders can be secured.”

The University will publish more details about the proposed merger in the near future.

/Ends

For more information regarding the Universitry of Wales, please visit www.wales.ac.uk|  
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