The institution's original buildings were the first in the country to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers. The first cohort of 10 male student teachers had been taught in temporary premises in Nicholas Street from February 1840, until increasing student numbers led to a move to further temporary accommodation in Bridge Street later that year. The need for a permanent site led the Dean and Chapter of Chester Cathedral to donate land adjacent to Parkgate Road and the new facilities were opened in 1842 for the 50 student teachers and their school pupils. The Parkgate Road Campus has subsequently been developed to accommodate the needs of students and the University still provides higher education in this location and at other sites in the city and beyond. Education qualifications remain significant and are now a fraction of the 420 course combinations on offer. In the 20th Century, the institution steadily expanded its student numbers and the variety and nature of its courses, which range from Animation to Zoo Management. The University of Chester now has over 1,700 staff and some 20,000 students, drawn from the United Kingdom, Europe and further afield, particularly from the United States, India, China, Nigeria, Turkey, Uganda, Pakistan, Ghana, Bangladesh, Qatar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. As well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, a new range of foundation degrees and apprenticeship degrees combines conventional university study with learning at work. MPhil and PhD qualifications are an established and growing area of activity, with the University gaining the powers to award its own research degrees in 2007. The emphasis is very much on research that has practical benefits both economically and culturally, and the University provides consultancy support across a variety of areas of expertise. Recent projects have included helping to develop England’s first ‘carbon neutral’ village, discovering a vitamin compound which reduces the risk of heart disease and dementia, translating the Bible into British Sign Language, and research into understanding the psychological impact of cancer to improve wellbeing and quality of life for patients and their families. Development of well-respected courses in Health and Social Care, Humanities, Business and Management, Arts and Media, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Sciences, and Education and Children’s Services has further extended the University’s work and connections with industry, commerce and the professions.Many millions of pounds are continually invested in the accommodation and resources to enhance the student experience and there is a strong focus on making students feel supported and at home. Recent developments include the addition of two large accommodation blocks (Grosvenor and Sumner Houses) and a significant expansion of the learning resource centre at the Parkgate Road Campus. The Handbridge former Western Command Army HQ, in which Winston Churchill held wartime meetings with international politicians, is now the Queen’s Park Campus and opened for the academic year 2015/16 as a base for the Faculty of Business and Management, educating the leaders of tomorrow. This followed the launch of Thornton Science Park in 2014/15, hosting the UK’s first new Faculty of Science and Engineering in two decades and bringing together teaching and research with business and innovative industry practices on one site.MissionFounded by the Church of England in 1839, we continue to be guided by Christian values and are justifiably proud of the open, inclusive and supportive environment that characterises the institution. Today, as the University of Chester, we welcome students and staff of all faiths or none. We seek to provide all our students and staff with the education, skills, support and motivation to enable them to develop as confident world citizens and successfully to serve and improve the global communities within which they live and work. This Mission, which has helped shape our development and diversification, continues to actively inform our future planning and enrichment as a University.VisionAt the heart of the University’s vision is an unwavering commitment to ensuring an outstanding student learning experience, developing the expertise of staff, providing teaching excellence, and actively growing research and scholarship. Through these actions, the University hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of students, staff, and the communities that it serves, enabling the institution to make a significant and growing contribution to the region, nationally and internationally. In valuing and celebrating its long history and traditions, the University is committed to engendering a sense of pride and shared ownership in all that it does. It is dynamic and enterprising in its approach to developing new opportunities.The university was founded as Chester Diocesan Training College in 1839 by a distinguished group of local leading figures in the Church of England, including future Prime Ministers William Ewart Gladstone and the 14th Earl of Derby. It was the UK's first purpose-built teacher training college, which makes it one of the longest established higher education institutions in the country. In 1842, Gladstone opened the college's original buildings for its first intake of ten male student teachers on the Parkgate Road site, (just outside the City Walls), that the university occupies today. In 1921, Chester formally became an affiliated college of the University of Liverpool, which meant that the University of Liverpool awarded Chester's qualifications and Chester's students were able to use Liverpool's facilities. The institution was threatened with closure in the 1930s, but its future was secured by the Bishop of Chester in 1933. From then on, the college continued to grow steadily. By the 1960s, as the UK was massively expanding its higher education capacity in reaction to the Robbins Report, the college was considered as a possible candidate for university status. These proposals, however, were not followed through. The college continued to expand and women were first admitted in 1961. In 1963, the government renamed teacher training colleges to colleges of education, so Chester's name became Chester College of Education. In 1974, the number of courses was expanded beyond teacher education to include Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. To reflect its wider remit, the college was renamed Chester College of Higher Education. In the early 1990s the School of Nursing and Midwifery (now the Faculty of Health and Social Care) was established. The college also began to offer a Bachelor of Theology degree, HNDs and more postgraduate courses, such as master's degrees and PhDs. It also embarked on a £10 million campus improvement programme. By 1996, Chester had earned the right to call itself University College Chester. This name, however, was short-lived as the government changed the requirements for university colleges in 1999 to include only those that had their own degree-awarding powers. Thus, Chester had to drop the 'University College' tag and reverted to the title Chester College of Higher Education, though the more descriptive Chester, a College of the University of Liverpool was frequently used in publicity material.The college expanded in 2002 through the acquisition of the higher education faculty and campus of Warrington Collegiate Institute. (The further and adult education campuses of Warrington remained independent and was known as Warrington Collegiate, until in August 2017, when it merged with Mid Cheshire College.)) In 2003 Chester was granted its own degree-awarding powers, allowing it to be known as University College Chester once again. Due to its long (and well-advertised) association with the University of Liverpool, Chester continued to award Liverpool degrees until the 2005 intake of students. In 2005, University College Chester was awarded full university status and became the University of Chester. This was followed by the right to award its own research degrees in 2007, ending Chester's last validation arrangement with Liverpool.Following the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, some of the university's research was declared to be of international quality, with a proportion of 'World Leading' research in History (15% of submitted research), English, Sports Studies, and Drama (each 5% of submitted research). In 2010, the Centre for Work Related Studies (CWRS) received a commendation by the UK quality body, for its radically flexible and high quality negotiated work based learning framework - enabling professionals to customise their own qualifications, 'learn through work', and enable rapid accreditation of commercial training provision. At the same time, the funding body showcased CWRS's flexible approach to accrediting workplace learning.
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Watch the videos to learn about the student life-cycle and the teaching environment at the University.
The University’s Social Work programmes have been named the best in the country at a national awards ceremony.Read more →
A new, unique course has been designed by the University with employers in Cheshire, Warrington and Shropshire as developing a workforce with the right skills in post-pandemic times is highlighted.Read more →
The University of Chester’s Business School has been shortlisted among the best in the UK and Ireland, in awards known as ‘the Oscars of higher education’.Read more →
A celebration has been held for students and staff from the University to mark the achievements of participants and recognise those who successfully completed the CDA (Chester Difference Award).Read more →
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