University of the West of England: Wikis


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University of the West of England
Motto Light Liberty Learning
Established 1992 - University Status
1970 - Bristol Polytechnic
Type Public
Chancellor Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE, PC
Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven West
Students 29,760[1]
Undergraduates 23,930[1]
Postgraduates 5,675[1]
Other students 155 FE[1]
Location Bristol, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°30′01″N 2°32′51″W / 51.50021°N 2.54749°W / 51.50021; -2.54749
Campus semi-urban
Colours White, Red and Black
Affiliations EUA
Universities UK
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Univ of the West of England logo.png
Map uwe bristol.png
Frenchay (north), Glenside & St Matthias (east) and Bower Ashton (south). Right: Bristol within England.
Part of the UWE campus at Frenchay

The University of the West of England (abbrev. UWE, often pronounced "you-we") is a university based in the English city of Bristol. Its main campus is at Frenchay, about five miles (8 km) north of the city centre. UWE also has a smaller campus at St Matthias, a School of Health and Social Care at Glenside in north-east Bristol and the School of Creative Arts, located at Bower Ashton Campus, near Ashton Court in south-west Bristol.

There are also regional centres in Bath and Swindon, and an associate faculty specialising in agricultural and sports related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire. This satellite college has staged the European Young Rider Championship, a horse riding competition. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is an associate school of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences.

With around 30,000 students and 3,000 academic staff, UWE is the larger of the two universities in the city (the longer established University of Bristol has 23,000 students). 86% of students at UWE are from state schools. The well-stocked library on the Frenchay site is called the Bolland Library, named after Dr Robert Bolland, the first director of Bristol Polytechnic from 1969 to 1974. The main Frenchay campus is situated close to the M32 motorway, twenty minutes walk from the well-connected Bristol Parkway railway station. By train, Cardiff is half an hour away, Birmingham one hour and fifteen minutes away and London Paddington station is one hour and twenty minutes away.

The Chancellor of UWE is the Rt Hon Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, GBE. Professor Steven West is the vice chancellor.[2 ]



UWE was founded in 1970 as Bristol Polytechnic, however its roots go back to the foundation of the Merchant Venturers' Navigation School in 1595. Part of this institution (to which the Universities of Bristol and Bath also partly owe their origins) became a technical college which, after merger with various other colleges, in turn became the polytechnic. Like the other former polytechnics, this gained University status and its present name as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992.[3]

The Bower Ashton site was formed in 1969 as the West of England College of Art which was formerly the art school of the Royal West of England Academy in Queens Road, Bristol.

The college buildings on Ashley Down Road.

The St Matthias site was a former teacher training college as was Redland College, and became part of Bristol Polytechnic around 1976 together with Ashley Down, Bower Ashton, Frenchay, and Unity Street.

The Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health (now the Glenside Campus) and the Bath and Swindon College of Health Studies joined in January 1996. Hartpury joined in 1997.

An £80 million student village located at the Frenchay campus, which includes a sports centre and rooms for 2000 students, opened in 2006.

Academic rankings


League Tables

UWE's academic rankings have generally stood mid-place on the league tables. Results accumulated from the National Student Survey (NSS) have shown that 83% of students studying at UWE find their courses acceptable, with a margin for improvement. [4]

The Guardian Good University Guide 2010 ranks UWE 59th overall out of 117 institutions in the UK.[5], whilst the The Complete University Guide (in association with the Independent) 2010 ranks UWE 61st out of 113[6]

The Independent Main University League Table 2009 ranks UWE 61st out of 113[7], whilst the Telegraph University League Table ranks the university at 77th[8].

The Times Good University Guide 2009/10 ranks UWE 62nd in the country[9], whilst the Sunday Times University Guide ranks the university at 68.[10].

Research Assessment

In the 2001 edition of the Research Assessment Exercise UWE averaged a score of 3a (where 1 is the lowest and 5* is the highest possible), achieving similar results to the other mid-table universities.[11] In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise UWE averaged between 3* and 2* (where 1 is the lowest and 4* is the highest), stating that almost half of research originating from UWE is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.[12].


The entrance to Bristol Business School

The University is divided into faculties most of which are then subdivided into schools:

  • Bristol Business School
  • Faculty of Creative Arts (Bower Ashton, and since 2008/9, St Matthias)
  • Faculty of Environment and Technology

Proposals for a new faculty structure were announced by Steve West in November 2009. The Faculty of Creative Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities will merge, with the Law School moving into Bristol Business School. This new structure willl be put into operation during the academc year 2009/10.[13]

Coat of arms

Echoing Bristol's long connection with the sea and the Merchant Venturers' Navigation School, the top of the crest depicts a ship's mainmast and rigging. The flaming fire basket indicates guidance, hope and the desire for learning.[14]

The shield at the centre is adapted from that of the College of St Matthias with the wavy line representing the rivers of Avon and Severn. The unicorn is taken from the arms of the City of Bristol and the sea stag from those of the former County of Avon. Both these creatures wear a crown of King Edgar around their necks. Edgar is regarded as a local monarch because he was crowned in Bath Abbey in 973.[15] The wavy lines enclosed in circles on the shoulders represent the fountain of knowledge and learning.[14]

The unicorn and sea stag each support an apple tree, known as the tree of knowledge and is taken from the coat of arms of the Council for National Academic Awards which used to authorise degrees awarded to students of Bristol Polytechnic.[14]

The motto Light, Liberty, Learning is a Disraeli quotation and corresponds directly to the symbolism of the coat of arms. The fire basket represents the Light, the Bristol and Avon supporters represent liberty, and the trees of knowledge and learning.[14]

Students' Union

Students outside the Students' Union bar

History and background

University of the West of England Students' Union ("UWESU"), formerly known as Bristol Polytechnic Students' Union (BPSU) until it changed its name in line with its parent establishment becoming a university in 1992, is based at Frenchay Campus and was established in 1971. It is run by a team of four sabbatical officers, who are elected annually from the student population. The Students' Union operates bars at all main sites, "Escape" and "Red" at Frenchay, "Bar 75" at Glenside, the "St Matt's Bar" and "Faculty of Creative Arts Bar" - otherwise known as the FoCA Bar. There are also shops at Frenchay, Glenside, St Matthias and Bower Ashton. A laundrette is also provided underneath the Students' Union shop on Frenchay campus, in addition to those provided in the student village.

UWESU Jobshop provides employment opportunites for students.

UWE facilities

At Frenchay campus a NatWest bank and Blackwell's book store operate for the benefit of students and staff on campus.

The University House Services department operates three bars ("Core24", "OneZone Lounge" and "Street Café"), one canteen named "OneZone" (formally "Merchants' Refectory" before August 2006 and four coffee shops named "Cribs B", "Cribs Q", "Phaz" and "Sports Café". Staff only facilities at Frenchay include "Felixstowe Court", "Paninos" and "Café Severn". At each of the other campuses House Services operate canteens named "Traders". "Core24" at Frenchay was once a "Traders" in line with all the other satellite campuses before it was refurbished in 2004.

In August 2006, a new Sports Centre was opened at Frenchay, including a large main hall with a wooden sprung floor and two glass back squash courts. The hall has court markings for a variety of sports including, badminton, basketball, netball, 5-a-side football, volleyball and indoor hockey. There is also a 70 station fitness suite, changing rooms and a hockey pitch. At St Matthias campus there is a small sports hall and outdoor pitches.

The Centre for Student Affairs offers advice, counselling and career development guidance to students and there is also a university-wide multi-faith chaplaincy, based at the Octagon Centre at Frenchay.

View across lake at Frenchay campus

Expansion of Frenchay Campus

As of September 2008 UWE have purchased the major part of neighbour Hewlett Packard's adjoining land, resulting in a 70 acre expansion to their current 80 acre campus. The university views this move as an opportunity to move within the local enterprise region and to provide a hub for students and employers. After early consultation meetings it has been stated that the campuses of Glenside and St Mathias will be moved to the Frenchay campus.[16] Bower Ashton will be retained for a longer period, but may ultimately move.[16] It is the single largest development in the university's history since its creation.[17]


Students and local residents in Stoke Park have complained about the poor transport facilities to the university, citing a severe lack of buses and parking spaces. The university has claimed that parking facilities are handled by the local authority and they will not grant additional spaces to the area for the foreseeable future, even with a new campus and more students studying in the area.[18]

Student accommodation

In September 2006 Frenchay Student Village opened providing on-campus accommodation for 1,932 students, adding to the 252 units already provided in Carroll Court. Campus accommodation is also provided at Glenside and St Matthias campuses. In partnership with UNITE Student Housing a further 1,500 places are provided in Bristol City Centre and UWE Accommodation services also places students in vetted private rentals.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 2008-04-12.  
  2. ^ "UWE Press Release". Retrieved 2007-07-28.  
  3. ^ History of UWE
  4. ^ BBC News | Education | Student Survey Results
  5. ^ Guardian University Guide 2010
  6. ^ University League Table: The Complete University Guide
  7. ^ The main league table 2009 - The Independent
  8. ^ University League Table - Telegraph
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Research Assessment Exercise Results for UWE in 2001
  12. ^ Research Assessment Exercise Results for UWE in 2008
  13. ^ "VC Update - Issue 19 - UWE Bristol". Retrieved 2009-11-19.  
  14. ^ a b c d "The Bristol UWE coat of arms". University of the West of England. Retrieved 2009-05-14.  
  15. ^ "Edgar the Peaceful". English Monarchs – Kings and Queens of England. Retrieved 2007-12-08.  
  16. ^ a b "Consultation starts on UWE Bristol’s New Campus Project". University of the West of England. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30. "All activities at UWE Bristol’s St Matthias and Glenside campuses will be moved to Frenchay as part of the project. Bower Ashton is likely to be retained for at least 15 years."  
  17. ^ "Foundation for the Future". University of the West of England. Retrieved 2008-12-20.  
  18. ^ "Current Public Priorities". Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Retrieved 2008-12-20.  

External links


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