Coventry University is a public research university in Coventry, England. The origins of Coventry University can be traced back to the founding of the Coventry School of Design in 1843. It was known as Lanchester Polytechnic from 1970 until 1987, and then as Coventry Polytechnic until the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 afforded its university status that year and the name was changed to Coventry University.
With more than 29,000 undergraduate and almost 6,000 postgraduate students in 2019, Coventry is the larger of the two universities in the city, the other being the University of Warwick. It is the UK’s fastest growing university and the country’s sixth largest overall, being the fourth largest outside of London. It has two principal campuses: one in the centre of Coventry where the majority of its operations are located, and one in Central London which focuses on business and management courses. Coventry also governs their other higher education institutions CU Coventry, CU Scarborough and CU London, all of which market themselves as an "alternative to mainstream higher education". Its four faculties, which are made up of schools and departments, run around 300 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Across the university there are 11 research centres which specialise in different fields, from transport to peace studies. In 2017, the university gained a Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (THE). Coventry is a member of the University Alliance mission group.
The origins of Coventry University can be traced back to the founding of the Coventry School of Design in 1843. Later renamed the Coventry School of Art, it was again renamed in the early 20th century to the Municipal Art School as part of the Education Act 1902. One final name change took place in the 1950s, when it became known as the College of Art.
In the late 1950s, to address the need for a high level of technical training which the existing Coventry Technical College (now City College Coventry) could not meet, the construction of a new institution began. Opened in 1961, it was called the Lanchester College of Technology, named after the car engineer Frederick Lanchester.
In 1970, the Lanchester College of Technology and the College of Art, along with the Rugby College of Engineering Technology in the neighbouring town of Rugby, amalgamated to form Lanchester Polytechnic. The institution was designated as such in February 1971 by then Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher. The name Lanchester gave the institution a certain degree of obscurity (it was often confused with both Lancaster and Manchester), notably when none of the contestants on the BBC Radio 4 general knowledge show Brain of Britain could give its correct location. The polytechnic cancelled its graduation ceremony in 1974 following the Birmingham pub bombings in fear that public gatherings could be targeted; the ceremony was eventually held in 2009, 35 years later. Lanchester Polytechnic was later renamed "Coventry Polytechnic" in 1987, and when the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 afforded Coventry Polytechnic university status that year, the name was changed to Coventry University.
In 2010, a campus in London was established to further attract international students to the university. In 2012 "Coventry University College" was set up within the main university campus, offering qualifications up to degree-level at a lower cost compared to typical university fees.
As of 2017 Coventry is the highest-ranked modern university in the UK in both the Guardian University Guide – in which it ranks 12th overall – and the Complete University Guide. It also places in the top 200 in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2017, which ranks universities around the world that are aged 50 years or under.
The campus in Coventry is currently undergoing a £430 million investment programme for the period up to 2022, with a new £37 million science and health building and £73 million student accommodation complex – opening in 2017 and 2018 respectively – central to the development scheme.
Coventry currently occupies a purpose-built 33-acre (130,000 m2) campus in Coventry City Centre adjacent to Coventry Cathedral and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. It occupies a mix of new purpose-built buildings, converted structures, and those inherited from its predecessor institutions.
The centrepiece of the campus is The Hub, an  which opened in August 2011. The Hub is the home of the Coventry University Students’ Union, student support services, a bar/nightclub, a food hall and food outlets which are catered by Sodexo In September 2012, a new £55 million engineering building was opened, with facilities such as a full-scale Harrier jump jet, a wind tunnel and flight simulators. The Hub was awarded a BREEAM 'excellent' rating and between them The Hub and the engineering building feature sustainable initiatives such as grey-water harvesting, a biomass boiler and a green roof. The opening of the buildings marks the first stage of a £160 million redevelopment plan of the campus phased over 15 years.
Coventry's £20 million library opened in 2000 and is on the outskirts of the campus. It was officially opened by Princess Anne in September 2001 and contains over 2,000 print periodicals, 350,000 monographs, and more than 6,000 video tapes, audio tapes and films. The library has a distinctive turreted exterior and has won awards for its interior design which features a light distribution system to make the most of natural light throughout the building.
There are two converted buildings on the campus. A former car engine factory built in 1910 located next to the university's library now houses the Coventry Business School, and a cinema built in 1880 on Jordan Well is currently home to the School of Media and Performing Arts, now part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and formerly part of the Coventry School of Art and Design.
To the south of the main campus is the 20-acre (81,000 m2) Coventry University Technology Park, a business park owned by Coventry University Enterprises Limited, a commercial subsidiary of the university, and through which several of the university's commercial subsidiary operations provide business services to local and national organisations. Tenants of the park are small businesses which receive support from the university and are allowed access to the university's library. The park is also home to conference facilities at the TechnoCentre building, the Coventry and Warwickshire New Technology Institute, which works with companies to address skills shortages in ICT and advanced technology, and a digital lab for serious game and other technology development.
Coventry has adopted a policy of naming its buildings after people or organisations with a significant local or regional impact. These include former Coventry-based automotive company Armstrong Siddeley; Shakespearean actress Ellen Terry; Coventry-based automotive pioneer Frederick Lanchester; Victorian novelist, critic and poet George Eliot; the father of the bicycle industry James Starley (building demolished in early 2020); former MP for Coventry East and political journalist Richard Crossman; artist Graham Sutherland; and founder of the Morris Motors automotive manufacturer William Morris.
CU Coventry was established on campus in 2012 and is an offshoot of Coventry University, providing full-time and part-time professional courses such as accounting, legal studies and marketing. CU Coventry is independent from the university with its own staff and facilities, though its programmes are validated and awarded by the university. Courses offered are flexible, meaning that tuition fees at the institution are often lower than the maximum £9,250 universities in the UK can charge for full-time courses. The part-time nature of many of the courses delivered means classes can run at atypical times, such as evenings and weekends.
CU London was established as a new campus in 2017, offering a range of full-time and part-time courses in Dagenham, East London. Located in the former Dagenham Civic Centre, the campus focuses on “high quality, low-cost, career-focused” education, which is flexibly structured to fit around students’ lives. CU London has offered over £95,000 in bursaries and scholarships to local students and schools in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to make higher education more accessible.
The University opened a new facility, CU Scarborough, in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 2016, as part of a new £45 million development, in the Weaponess area of the town. The University contributed £12 million towards the project. Courses include Law, Science & Engineering. The site also incorporates a new sports and leisure village and University Technical College (UTC), for 14–18 year-olds.
Coventry University London
Coventry University's London campus was opened in 2010 as part of a trend seen by a number of different British universities, where a campus in London was set up with a predominately international student body to build the universities' international reputation. The campus operates out of University House, 109–117 Middlesex Street in the City of London, almost 100 miles southeast of Coventry.
Coventry University Wrocław
Coventry University Wrocław is a campus opening in September 2020, offering courses taught in English, including IT and cybersecurity, business, engineering, and hospitality and tourism. The University plans to accept 160 students in the first year. It is the first foreign university in Poland and will offer student exchange programs with Coventry University UK campuses.
Structure and organisation
Coventry University is headed formally by the Chancellor, a largely ceremonial role, currently Margaret Casely-Hayford. The Chancellor is supported by six Pro-Chancellors and is appointed by the university's Board of Governors. Terms for the Chancellor and Pro-Chancellors are five years in length; the number of terms a Chancellor can serve is unrestricted while Pro-Chancellors are limited to two. The university is led on a day-to-day basis by the Vice-Chancellor, who is supported by four Deputy Vice-Chancellors and three Pro Vice-Chancellors. The position of Vice-Chancellor has been occupied by John Latham since March 2014.
Faculties and schools
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Business and Law
Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
In the financial year ended 31 July 2013, Coventry University had a total income of £220.43 million and a total expenditure of £199.71 million. Key sources of income included £136.53 million from tuition fees and contracts, £45.18 million from funding body grants, £8.82 million in research grants and contracts, £1.96 million from investment and endowment income, and £27.92 million from other income.
Coventry University is an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1960. Commercial activities are undertaken by six subsidiaries wholly owned by the university. These subsidiaries are together known as the Coventry University Group, and deliver education, business support, partnership and consultancy, and serious game development to local and national organisations.
Coventry offers more than 130 undergraduate degrees and 100 postgraduate degrees over its four faculties, as well as qualifications such as foundation degrees and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs). It has introduced the teaching of disaster management at undergraduate level (the first such course in the UK) as well as parapsychology and health journalism at the postgraduate level.
The university's student body in 2018/19 consisted of 34,985 students: 29,005 undergraduates and 5,980 postgraduates. Part-time students in 2013–14 made up 15% of undergraduates and 39% of postgraduates. The drop-out rate for first year undergraduates is 8.9% and the undergraduate intake from state schools is 97%. The university employs over 1,800 academic staff and is the fourth largest employer in Coventry.
Tuition fees for undergraduate students at the university are variable and range from £7,500 to £9,000 depending on the degree programme, following the United Kingdom government's decision in 2010 to raise the maximum limit universities can charge UK and EU students. The university cited the variable fee structure in explaining the rise in applications received for 2012 compared to the previous year, despite an overall national fall.
The Research Assessment Exercise 2008 classed that research conducted by the university in the subjects ‘Allied Health Professions and Studies’, ‘Computer Science and Informatics’, ‘Electrical and Electronic Engineering’, ‘Library and Information Management’, ‘Politics and International Studies’, ‘Social Work and Social Policy & Administration’, and ‘Art and Design’ contained elements of 'world-leading' research.
Nationally, Coventry is ranked 13th by The Guardian University league tables 2019, 44th by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and 53rd by The Complete University Guide 2020. Internationally, Coventry is ranked within the top 531–540 universities in the world by the 2020 QS World University Rankings.
The Guardian 2015 rankings include Architecture (16th), Building and Town and Country Planning (7th), Design & Crafts (15th), Drama & Dance (19th), Mechanical Engineering (19th), Film Production and Photography (1st), Hospitality, Event Management and Tourism (5th), Mathematics (19th), Media & Film Studies (12th), Nursing and Midwifery (9th) and Social Work (10th).
A 2008 RAE ranking of UK Psychology programs ranked Coventry 73rd, which is near the bottom of all UK universities, and a 2014 REF study ranked the overall quality of Coventry's Psychology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience programs 45th out of 82 UK universities, placing it in the bottom half.
The People & Planet Green League 2013, a UK ranking based on environmental and ethical performance, placed Coventry 43rd, gaining a 'First Class' rating. According to the 2013 National Student Survey, 90% of Coventry University students were satisfied with their course.
In 2017, the University gained a Gold in the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework.
Coventry University's Department of Industrial Design won the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the 'Engineering and Technology' category for "[e]ducating tomorrow’s world leaders in automotive design" in 2007. In 2020, Coventry's Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, a partnership with Unipart Manufacturing Group, received the same award.
Coventry was named 'Entrepreneurial University of the Year' in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011.
The University is one of only a select few higher education institutions in the history of the Queen's Awards to be honoured. In the awards' 50th anniversary year, Coventry University has been commended in the International Trade category in recognition of its 'continuous achievement' since 2009.
The university holds an annual public degree show which exhibits conceptual designs and performances by final year undergraduate students of the Coventry School of Art and Design.
Accommodation for students is provided by the university and by private companies. Coventry owns four facilities: Priory Hall, Quadrant Hall, Singer Hall and 72a Margaret Road, as well as several houses around Coventry, mostly in the Earlsdon area. It also manages four facilities: Apollo House, Lynden House, Radford Road and Pillar Box, the latter being exclusively for postgraduate students.
Facilities provided through partnerships Coventry has with private companies, such as Unite, Liberty Living and Derwent Living, include Liberty Park (shared with the University of Warwick), Trinity Point, Paradise Place, Sherbourne House, Callice Court and Raglan House. New accommodation facilities shared with the University of Warwick down the city's Trinity Street and Market Way opened in autumn 2010, with two more along Corporation Street and Greyfriars Lane opening the following year. Further plans to expand accommodation for Coventry students in the city centre was announced in April 2013 with the expected conversion of the former Hotel Leofric into student flats.
In total, the university's accommodation can provide for 3,579 students.
Coventry University Students' Union (CUSU) is a registered charity that acts as a representative and campaigning organisation for students at Coventry University. It is headquartered in The Hub and has a variety of membership services including supporting more than 100 sports clubs and societies, a free advice centre and a volunteering department. CUSU owns and runs an independent nightclub on Far Gosford Street which opened in November 2012 despite opposition from a rival nightclub.
Coventry University's sports team, Team Phoenix, represents the university in five sports. Coventry annually competes with the University of Warwick in a series of formal and informal varsity matches over a number of different sports. Coventry is an entrant in Formula Student through its Phoenix Racing team, finishing 42nd out of 102 entrants in 2012 and winning an award for the most fuel-efficient car in 2011.
The head of the polytechnic was titled "Principal" and, later, "Director":
- Alan Richmond (1970–1972)
- Keith Legg (1972–1975)
- Geoffrey Holroyde (later, Director; 1975–1987)
- Michael Goldstein (Director; 1987–1992)
- Michael Goldstein (1992–2004)
- Madeleine Atkins (2004–2013)
- John Latham (2013–)
Notable students of Coventry University (and its previous incarnations Lanchester Polytechnic and Coventry Polytechnic) include:
- Neil Carson, CEO of Johnson Matthey plc
- Nick Buckles, CEO of security firm G4S
- John Iley, Aerodynamicist
- David Yelland, writer and journalist
- David Borrow, politician and MP for South Ribble (1997–2010)
- Andrea McLean, Television presenter
- Adaora Onyechere, Nigerian TV/radio presenter, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author
- Emma McGann, Singer-songwriter and live-streamer
- John Kettley, meteorologist
- Simon Hayhoe, educationalist and author
- Gerry McGovern, design director of Land Rover
- Spencer Kelly, presenter of the BBC's technology programme
- Coventry School of Art and Design
- Coventry University Business School
- Coventry University Department of Media
- Category:Academics of Coventry University
- University of Warwick
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