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Norwich set to become a two university city as NUA celebrates new title

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) looks set to be formally recognised as Norfolk’s second university following a Privy Council ruling announced today, acknowledging almost 170 years of creative education excellence.

The ruling announced in Parliament today by the Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts corrects the anomaly that required smaller Higher Education Institutions to include ‘College’ in their name. The change is welcome news for NUA and the city of Norwich, ending confusion about its title and enabling NUA to continue to attract outstanding creative students from across the UK and internationally.

Commenting on the announcement Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Last said “I welcome this recognition of NUA’s 170 years of specialist education in the heart of one of the most cultural cities in the UK. It acknowledges the sustained excellence of staff and student work which has put NUA at the forefront of teaching and research in arts, design and media in Europe.”

“Our alumni have long been amongst those at the top of their fields across the cultural and creative industries. Oscar winning Harry Potter Production Designer Stuart Craig and Bob the Builder creator Keith Chapman both studied at NUA and our long history of fine artists include Alfred Munnings and more recently Turner Prize nominated artists such as Glenn Brown.

“Our design graduates lead some of the most successful agencies in the country, including Hat Trick and Carter Wong. Students go on to work in creative roles in major organisations such as Electronic Arts, ITV, The Sunday Times, Pearlfisher, Design Bridge and Tate Modern. Others pursue successful freelance careers.”

NUA’s history dates back to 1845 when the Norwich School of Design was established to provide designers for local industries. Degree level provision has been offered since 1965, Masters and Research degrees for 20 years. In common with all universities NUA has the quality of its provision reviewed regularly by the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). In 2010 QAA identified NUA’s curriculum frameworks and its overall approach to enhancing the quality of education as features of good practice.

Under the previous criteria for university title, an institution was required to have at least 4,000 students so despite more demand than ever before for places at NUA – applications for places have almost doubled over the last five years – controls on growth had made progress to a larger student body impossible. Well established institutions like NUA, with a long history and international reputation for outstanding quality and excellence deserve to be recognised as full universities alongside the larger Universities in the sector.

Chair of the Governing Board, Graham Creelman said “This is a very significant announcement which recognises that University title has to be about quality and not merely size. Over many years, under a variety of names, I am proud that this institution has been delivering some of the best education in art and design in the country, well before many modern Universities existed!

“Our students have gone on to be leaders in their field, and have benefited from the focus and concentration on excellence that a specialist institution can achieve. With our new title we are determined to be not just UK leaders, but world leaders in art, design and media education.”

NUA will now put in a formal application to the Privy Council and hopes to assume the full university title later this year. In the meantime NUA is preparing for its 2012 degrees shows and its annual graduation ceremony in July.

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