The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was formed on 18 November 2010 and holds the distinction of being one of the UK’s newest as well as its oldest universities. It was created from the merger of Trinity University College and University of Wales Lampeter.
The latter was awarded a charter in 1828, which was extended for the creation of the new university, meaning that Trinity Saint David holds the oldest royal charter in England and Wales after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 2011 HRH the Prince of Wales became its Royal Patron.
In October 2012, Swansea Metropolitan became an integral part of the Trinity Saint David group although it will retain its own brand identify for the purposes of recruiting students to the city.
As part of a Dual Sector University structure the University has worked alongside its FE Partners and a further development in this relationship sees both Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion undertaking due diligence to merge into UWTSD by the end of the academic year. In the future the University of Wales will also merge into UWTSD.
But, why are we undertaking such transformational change in Wales? We are indeed responding to the Welsh Government directive to seek closer collaboration with other education providers in the region; but also, at the very beginning of this process, we saw an opportunity to develop a new educational system that would serve the needs of Wales and its communities.
It has been said that change is the only constant and that has never been more true than it is right now for the UK’s higher education sector. Universities have had to adapt to survive and to embrace new ways of working to meet modern challenges. It is within this challenging climate that the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David continues to map its course.
The creation of the Dual Sector University will enable the joint planning of educational provision, the development of progression routes and an increase in participation in higher education through offering different modes of study including distance and blended learning opportunities.
Through its three academic faculties, the University provides a distinctive curriculum. It has developed key initiatives to implement its strategic priorities relating to cultural, social, environmental and economic development which will not only benefit the region, but also the wider needs of Wales. For example:
The Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE) has been established to take forward its core mission of delivering for a sustainable Wales, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally by ensuring that the sustainability agenda is embedded through the campus, curricula, culture and community of the University. I am delighted to note that INSPIRE won the Guardian University Award for Best Sustainability Project and that the University was praised by the judges for showing powerful vision that went right through the curriculum and they highly commended the University on its creativity.
The Centre for Rural Health and Social Care Centre, in partnership with the Hywel Dda Health Trust, has been developed to lead research and training in the unique context of rural communities. Working side by side we will look innovatively at how to improve community wellbeing in West Wales whilst, using the University’s wider networks to develop new training opportunities at all levels.
The Welsh Heritage Academy provides training, research and practical support to the Welsh heritage sector, supporting tourism and local communities in such areas as interpretation, landscape, archaeology, as well the arts and culture.
The Wales International Academy of Voice, with renowned tenor Dennis O’Neill as its director and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as its patron, provides specialist training to young professional opera singers from all over the world in the early stages of their careers.
The University provides a range of bilingual education and training programmes as well as support for businesses, in partnership with other providers, which utilises the expertise of staff and provides a conduit for the University to engage with external organisations.
The University’s reach also extends to other countries around the world providing strong academic and research networks. Activities include the recruitment of international students onto university programmes in Wales and in London as well as staff and student exchange programmes, summer schools and cultural visits.
The University is home to the first Confucius Institute in Wales which provides opportunities for students as well as schools in the region to learn Mandarin and to engage with Chinese culture. The Welsh-American Academy has been established to celebrate Welsh influence in the USA by promoting opportunities for cultural and educational exchange. The University’s expertise is also being exploited through its research work and specialist curriculum in many countries including the Middle East.
Trinity Saint David is indeed a University for the Twenty-First Century. By being fleet of foot it is able to embrace challenges and turn such challenges into opportunities for the benefit of our community of learners in Wales and further afield.
Professor Medwin Hughes
DL DPhil DPS FRSA