Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has today announced it will join the University Alliance (UA) mission group.
Founded in 2006 as the Alliance of Non-Aligned Universities, UA now represents 13 of England’s best-known providers of technical and professional education.
ARU will join the universities of Greenwich, Brighton, Teesside, South Wales, Oxford Brookes, Leeds Beckett, Kingston, Hertfordshire, Coventry, the West of England and Birmingham City.
The East Anglia-based university, which has campuses in Chelmsford, Cambridge, Peterborough and London, is also a member of Universities UK and MillionPlus.
Vanessa Wilson, UA CEO said: “I am thrilled to formally welcome Anglia Ruskin University to the Alliance. I am pleased that our work to champion the vital impact of technical and professional universities continues to attract those who share in our vision.
“There has never been a more important time for us all come together under a shared mission and goal, where collaboration is key to meeting the challenges of the coming months. We want to support Alliance universities in realising their ambitions to serve their communities and power the national economic, social and cultural recovery post-Covid-19.”
Prof Roderick Watkins, the vice-chancellor of ARU, said: “As one of the leading providers of public service degrees in the country, we are very proud of the innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research taking place at ARU.
“The University Alliance provides an important and influential voice for its member institutions and as our goals align so well, it is a pleasure to be joining. I look forward to working collaboratively to ensure we meet the social and economic challenges ahead and support our communities in their recovery from Covid-19.”
The mission group is chaired by Brighton’s vice-chancellor, Prof Debra Humphris.
The organisation yesterday criticised comments made by universities minister Michelle Donelan during an address to the NEON summit.
Ms Donelan accused universities of taking advantage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds by misleading them with low-value courses that offer few job prospects.
Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Wilson suggested the minister had made unsubstantiated claims.
“We’re thoroughly disappointed in the universities minister’s comments today, suggesting fewer people should be going to university based on unsubstantiated claims over the value of degree courses. This attack on ‘low value’ higher education is founded on highly limited data and a narrow and over-simplistic interpretation of ‘value’, and it does not reflect students’ motivations for pursuing higher education,” she said.
“True social mobility is achieved when a wide range of high-quality options and routes are available and equally valued, and it is wrong to suggest that higher education institutions have been wilfully misleading students when there is little evidence to support that claim.”