BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Wales  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 09:56 GMT
Professor puts college back on course
North East Wales Institute
The north Wales college has over 5,000 students
A year ago, the North East Wales Institute(Newi) in Wrexham was struggling from "poor recruitment figures" and "low morale" but with a new principal at the helm the college has had a change of fortune.

The college has now bucked the national trend and reported a rise in student numbers and a drop-out rate fall.


This led to a great feeling of disappointment and a significant loss of confidence within the Institute

Andrew Parry from Newi

However this time last year statistics at Newi were not as promising.

The college had applied for university status, but following the death of their Principal John Williams, the application was withdrawn.

Officials at the college have admitted that it was a controversial decision which had far reaching implications.

Andrew Parry from the college said: "This led to a great feeling of disappointment and a significant loss of confidence within the Institute.

"A deterioration in the industrial relations, poor recruitment figures and the failure of Wrexham to gain city status also contributed to a period of stagnation," he added.

Following the appointment of a new principal the college has reapplied for university status and student figures have increased.

Newi Principal, Professor Mike Scott
Professor Scott took over a year ago

Many people including Mr Parry have put the transformation at the college down to a change in leadership.

Professor Mike Scott has been credited with revitalising the outlook of the institute and its finances.

He brought in new staff and directors, and encouraged students to take charge of their own education.

Professor Scott said: "We've been concentrating on getting a sense of confidence here with both staff and indeed with the students. "

After taking over as principal he replaced 10 out of 12 board members and increased the number of directors to 18.

Assembly cash

Admission figures have increased by 18% and the student drop-out rate has been halved and is now below the national benchmark.

The principal said it is down to knowing what the students want from higher education: "If we cannot do that, then the students will not come."

Although 50% of the 5,000 student population are from the local area Professor Scott wants the college to attract even more pupils.

He said: "We are pressing the assembly and the funding council where we get the money for students, to increase the number we can take at Newi."


It takes time to gain university status, quite properly there are certain hoops you have to go through

Professor Mike Scott

The college is keen to develop even further and believes university status is the way forward.

It is estimated the process will take 12 months of inspection and reviews.

Professor Scott said: "It takes time to gain university status, quite properly there are certain hoops you have to go through.

"You have to be judged by your peers and that takes time to go through the process."

Main entrance, Newi
Newi is applying for university status

Professor Scott is not content with just restructuring education at the Plas Coch campus - he wants members of the public to visit the college too.

Amongst his plans is the redevelopment of the William Aston Hall inside Newi.

Famous for concerts, performances and pantomimes he wants money to refurnish the arena.

He said: "We're trying to bring more people onto campus who go to arts events."

The professor then plans to encourage Welsh Assembly Members to meet at Newi for conferences in north Wales.

For now, Mike Scott has no regrets about heading to north Wales: "I thought it was one of the most exciting challenges in higher education in the UK at the present time."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Newi Principal, Professor Mike Scott
"It's a challenge to create a new university college"
See also:

25 Jul 01 | UK Education
22 Mar 01 | UK Education
04 Oct 01 | UK Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes