University of the West of England

University of the West of England

Infobox University
name = University of the West of England

image_size = 204px
motto = "Light Liberty Learning"
established = 1970 (as Bristol Polytechnic)
type = Public
staff =
chancellor = Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE, PC
vice_chancellor = Professor Steven West
city = Bristol
country = United Kingdom
campus = semi-urban
students = 29,760cite web|url=|title= Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07|accessdate= 2008-04-12|format= Microsoft Excel spreadsheet|publisher= Higher Education Statistics Agency]
undergrad = 23,930
postgrad = 5,675
other = 155 FE
colours = Grey, Red and Black
endowment =
affiliations = EUA AMBA Universities UK Association of Commonwealth Universities
website =

The University of the West of England (abbrev. UWE, often pronounced "you-we") is a university based in the English city of Bristol. Its main campus is at Frenchay, about five miles (8 km) north of the city centre. UWE also has a smaller campus at St Matthias, a Faculty of Health and Social Care at Glenside in north-east Bristol and an Art school, Bristol School of Art, Media and Design, located at Bower Ashton, near Ashton Court in south-west Bristol.

There are also regional centres in Bath and Swindon, and an associate faculty specialising in agricultural and sports related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire. This satellite college has staged the European Young Rider Championship, a horse riding competition. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is an associate school of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences.

With around 30,000 students and 3,000 academic staff, UWE is the larger of the two universities in the city (the longer established University of Bristol has 23,000 students). 86% of students at UWE are from state schools. The well-stocked library on the Frenchay site is called the Bolland Library, named after Dr Robert Bolland, the first director of Bristol Polytechnic from 1969 to 1974. The main Frenchay campus is situated close to the M32 motorway, twenty minutes walk from the well-connected Bristol Parkway railway station. By train, Cardiff is half an hour away, and Birmingham one hour and fifteen minutes.

The Chancellor of UWE is the Rt Hon Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, GBE. Professor Steven West is the vice chancellor.cite web |url= |title=UWE Press Release |accessdate=2007-07-28]


UWE was founded in 1970 as "Bristol Polytechnic", however its roots go back to the foundation of the "Merchant Venturers' Navigation School" in 1595. Part of this institution (to which the Universities of Bristol and Bath also partly owe their origins) became a technical college which, after merger with various other colleges, in turn became the polytechnic. Like the other former polytechnics, this gained University status and its present name as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992. [ History of UWE] ]

The Bower Ashton site was formed in 1969 as the West of England College of Art which was formerly the art school of the Royal West of England Academy in Queens Road, Bristol. The St Matthias site was a former teacher training college as was Redland College, and became part of Bristol Polytechnic around 1976. The Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health (now the Glenside Campus) and the Bath and Swindon College of Health Studies joined in January 1996. Hartpury joined in 1997.

A new £80 million student village built by Carillion at the Frenchay campus which includes a sports centre and rooms for 2000 students opened at the end of August 2006.

Academic rankings

UWE's academic rankings have generally stood near the bottom half of league tables. Results accumulated from the National Student Survey (NSS) have shown that on average around half of students studying at UWE find their courses acceptable, but leave a large margin for improvement when compared to other universities. [ [ "BBC News | Education | Student Survey Results"] ]

The Guardian Good University Guide 2008/9 ranks UWE 66th overall out of 122 institutions in the UK. [ [ "Guardian" University Guide 2009] ]

The Times Good University Guide 2008/9 ranks UWE 65th in the country [ [ "Times Good University Guide 2009"] ] , whilst the Sunday Times University Guide ranks the university at 63rd. [ [ "Sunday Times University Guide 2009"] ]


The University is divided into faculties most of which are then subdivided into schools:

* Bristol Business School
* School of Creative Arts (Bower Ashton, and since 2008/9, St Matts)
* Faculty of Environment and Technology
** Bristol Institute of Technology
** School of the Built and Natural Environment
* Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
** School of Life Sciences
** School of Health and Social Care (Glenside)
* Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
** Bristol Law School
** School of Education
** School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences
* Hartpury College (Associate Faculty)

Coat of arms

To reflect Bristol's long connection with the sea and the Merchant Venturers' Navigation School the top of the crest depicts a small fleet with a ship's mainmast and rigging. The flaming fire basket depicts guidance, hope and the desire for learning.

The shield at the centre is adapted from that of the College of St Matthias with the wavy line down the middle representing the rivers of Avon and Severn. The unicorn is taken from the arms of the City of Bristol and the sea stag from those of the former County of Avon. Both these creatures have round their necks a crown of King Edgar, regarded as a local monarch because he was crowned in Bath Abbey. The circles with wavy lines on the their shoulders represent the fountain of knowledge and learning.

The unicorn and sea stag each support an apple tree, known as the tree of knowledge and taken from the coat of arms of the Council for National Academic Awards which used to accredit degrees awarded to students of Bristol Polytechnic.

The motto Light, Liberty, Learning is a Disraeli quotation and corresponds directly to the symbolism of the coat of arms. The fire basket represents the Light, the Avon and Bristol supporters Liberty, and the trees of knowledge Learning.

tudents' Union

History and background

University of the West of England Students' Union ("UWESU"), formerly known as Bristol Polytechnic Students' Union (BPSU) until it changed its name in line with its parent establishment becoming a university in 1992, is based at Frenchay Campus and was established in 1971. It is run by a team of four sabbatical officers, who are elected annually from the student population. The Students' Union operates bars at all main sites, "Escape" and "Red" at Frenchay, "Bar 75" at Glenside, the "St Matt's Bar" and "Faculty of Creative Arts Bar" - otherwise known as the FoCA Bar. There are also shops at Frenchay, Glenside, St Matthias and Bower Ashton. A laundrette is also provided underneath the Students' Union shop on Frenchay campus, in addition to those provided in the student village.

UWESU Jobshop provides employment opportunites for students.

UWE facilities

At Frenchay campus a NatWest bank and Blackwell's book store operate for the benefit of students and staff on campus.

The University House Services department operates three bars ("Core24", "OneZone Lounge" and "Street Café"), one canteen named "OneZone" (formally "Merchants' Refectory" before August 2006 and four coffee shops named "Cribs B", "Cribs Q", "Phaz" and "Sports Café". Staff only facilities at Frenchay include "Felixstowe Court", "Paninos" and "Café Severn". At each of the other campuses House Services operate canteens named "Traders". "Core24" at Frenchay was once a "Traders" in line with all the other satellite campuses before it was refurbished in 2004.

In August 2006, a new Sports Centre was opened at Frenchay, including a large main hall with a wooden sprung floor and two glass back squash courts. The hall has court markings for a variety of sports including, badminton, basketball, netball, 5-a-side football, volleyball and indoor hockey. There is also a 70 station fitness suite, changing rooms and adjacent all-weather pitches. At St Matthias campus there is a small sports hall and outdoor pitches.

The Centre for Student Affairs offers advice, counselling and career development guidance to students and there is also a university-wide multi-faith chaplaincy, based at the Octagon Centre at Frenchay.

tudent accommodation

In September 2006 Frenchay Student Village opened providing on-campus accommodation for 1,932 students, adding to the 252 units already provided in Carroll Court. Campus accommodation is also provided at Glenside and St Matthias campuses. In partnership with UNITE Student Housing a further 1,500 places are provided in Bristol City Centre and UWE Accommodation services also places students in vetted private rentals.

Notable alumni

* Ian Cognito (Comedian)
* Samantha Cameron (Business executive)
* Laurence Godfrey Olympic archer
* Edward Bear Grylls (Former youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest; host of "Born Survivor", known in the U.S. as "Man vs. Wild")
* Russell Howard (Comedian)
* Dawn Primarolo (Labour Party Member of Parliament)
* Peter Reed Olympic Rower
* Jack Russell (Cricketer)
* Simon Shaw (Rugby union—England international)
* Marko Stanojevic (Rugby union—Italy international)
* Teo Nie Ching (Malaysian Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament)
* Lady Davina Windsor (Member of British Royal Family)

See also



External links

* [ University of West of England Website]
* [ LLM and Master of laws information for UWE]

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