Thirty years since UCLan became a university- what's it like now?

UCLan has changed a lot since it's first foundations in the early 19th century.

By Aimee Seddon
Friday, 31st December 2021, 4:55 am

Next year, 2022, marks 30 years since the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) was granted university status by the Privy Council.

With its roots in The Institution For The Diffusion Of Useful Knowledge, which was founded in 1828, what is now UCLan has come a long way since then.

The institution was subsequently known as Harris Art College from 1932, then Preston Polytechnic in 1973, and Lancashire Polytechnic from 1984, until it finally became the University of Central Lancashire in 1992.

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In 2022 UCLan celebrates its 30th year of being a university.

Now, the Preston based university has grown in prominence and size, and has recently undertaken an impressive transformation with the development of its new £60 million student centre and university square, the culmination of UCLan’s £200m Masterplan project.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “During a long and proud history our name might have evolved but our ethos, to deliver real-world teaching that gives our students the skills and experience industry needs, remains the same.

“And although we now attract students from across the country, and indeed across the globe, we are a proud university for the city and of the city that brings knowledge, innovation and graduate talent into Preston and Lancashire.

“As the completion of our Campus Masterplan project has demonstrated, we remain fully committed to working alongside our partners and community stakeholders to help create jobs, kick-start regeneration and attract further inward investment into the region.”

The previous Fylde Building on campus has been removed, and the area has transformed as part of UCLan's Masterplan project.

The Masterplan project set out a vision to create a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus, with the key aim being to enhance the experience for all those visiting the university, while strengthening ties with the community and supporting the city’s continuing evolution both economically and socially.

The most recent development means UCLan now has a state-of the art 7,304sqm student centre, and a 5,000 sqm University Square, which is the largest in Preston.

The university says that the £60 million development showcases UCLan's commitment to student wellbeing and represents a transformative step in the wider regeneration of the city of Preston.

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Although the university's main campus remains in the city, UCLan now also has campuses in Burnley, Cumbria and most recently Cyprus, as well as 120 international partnerships.

According to the latest data by HESA, the university has 24,715 students, making it the 31st biggest university by population size, excluding the Open University.

UCLan says that it has a staff and student total of 38,000, whilst they also now offer over 350 undergraduate programmes, nearly 200 postgraduate courses, as well as an array of CPD courses.

In terms of recent rankings, The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain, placed UCLan 108th out of 135, whilst the Complete University Guide 2022 places it 89th out of 130.

Meanwhile, The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the largest academic study of global universities, featuring 19,788 institutions, and in its 2021-22 edition of the CWUR’s ‘Global 2000 List’, UCLan was ranked 1334, within the top 7% of all universities worldwide.

The university's last anniversary celebration was 2009, and the next one is expected to be 2028, the 200th year of the institution’s founding.