University of Chester

University of Chester
University of Chester

Coat of arms of the University of Chester
Motto Latin: Qui docet in doctrina
Motto in English "He that teacheth, on teaching"
Established 1839
Type Public
Endowment £534,756[1]
Chancellor His Grace The Duke of Westminster
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Tim Wheeler
Deputy Vice-Chancellor David Stevens
Admin. staff 1,396
Students 15,718[2]
Undergraduates 12,013[2]
Postgraduates 3,705[2]
Location Chester and Warrington, Cheshire, UK
53°12′01″N 2°53′53″W / 53.200326°N 2.898073°W / 53.200326; -2.898073Coordinates: 53°12′01″N 2°53′53″W / 53.200326°N 2.898073°W / 53.200326; -2.898073
Campus Urban
Colours Burgundy[3]     
Affiliations ACU, NWUA, Cathedrals Group
Logo of the University of Chester

The University of Chester (informally Chester) is a public research university located in Chester, United Kingdom. The University, based on a main campus in Chester and a smaller campus in Warrington, offers a range of foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as undertaking academic research.

Chester is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Cathedrals Group, the North West Universities Association and Universities UK.



The University was founded as Chester Diocesan Training College in 1839 by a distinguished group of local leading figures in the Church of England, including future Prime Ministers William Ewart Gladstone and the 14th Earl of Derby.[4] It was the UK's first purpose-built teacher training college,[5] which makes it one of the longest established higher education institutions in the country.[6] In 1842, Gladstone opened the College's original buildings for its first intake of ten male student teachers on the Parkgate Road site, just outside the City Walls, that the University occupies today.[7]

In 1921, Chester formally became an affiliated college of the University of Liverpool,[4] which meant that the University of Liverpool awarded Chester's qualifications and Chester's students were able to use Liverpool's facilities.

The institution was threatened with closure in the 1930s, but its future was secured by the Bishop of Chester in 1933.[8] From then on, the College continued to grow steadily. By the 1960s, as the UK was massively expanding its higher education capacity in reaction to the Robbins Report, the College was considered as a possible candidate for university status. These proposals, however, weren't followed through.

The College continued to expand. Women were first admitted in 1961. In 1963, the government renamed teacher training colleges to colleges of education, so Chester's name became Chester College of Education in 1963. In 1974, the number of courses was expanded beyond teacher education to include Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. To reflect its wider remit, the College was renamed Chester College of Higher Education.

In the early 1990s, The School of Nursing and Midwifery (now the Faculty of Health and Social Care) was established.[4] The College also began to offer a Bachelor of Theology degree, HNDs and more postgraduate courses, such as master's degrees and PhDs.[4] It also embarked on a £10 million campus improvement programme. By 1995, Chester had earned the right to call itself University College Chester. This name, however, was short-lived as the government changed the requirements for university colleges in 1999 to include only those that had their own degree-awarding powers. Thus, Chester had to drop the University College tag and reverted to the title Chester College of Higher Education, though the more descriptive Chester, a College of the University of Liverpool was frequently used in publicity material.[6]

The College expanded in 2002 through the acquisition of the higher education faculty and campus of Warrington Collegiate Institute.[4] (The further and adult education campuses of Warrington remained independent and are now known as Warrington Collegiate.)

In 2003 Chester was granted its own degree-awarding powers, allowing it to be known as University College Chester once again.[6]

In 2005, University College Chester was awarded full university status and became the University of Chester.[9] This was followed by the right to award its own research degrees in 2007 and, following the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, a significant proportion of the University’s research was declared to be of international quality, with a proportion of 'World Leading' research in History (15%), English, Sports Studies, and Drama (each 5%).[10][11][12]


The original College building (still in use and now known as Old College) in 1843, a year after it opened

The University of Chester has two campuses. The 32-acre (130,000 m2) main campus[9] is located on Parkgate Road, just north of the City Walls. It has a mixture of Victorian buildings (such as Old College, right, which includes a chapel built by some of the original students) and modern buildings (such as the Students' Union). The campus also features a fitness centre, sports hall, swimming pool, science and language laboratories, bar and various shops.

Some departments are housed offsite at locations within walking distance of the main campus, for example, the Department of English is located in a Grade II-listed former Victorian vicarage.

There are two significant sites which are recent additions to the institution's estate. The former County Hall, which is located in the city centre near the racecourse, houses the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services and the Faculty of Health and Social Care and is known as the Riverside Campus.

The university has also developed the Kingsway Campus with the addition of a three-storey teaching block, ground floor exhibition space and art gallery and sports changing rooms. The £2.4 million scheme at the university’s Faculty of Arts and Media features a number of green innovations, such as ground source heating.

The university-owned student accommodation is primarily reserved for first year and overseas students. This consists of halls of residence and houses nearby.

The smaller Warrington campus originally hosted a camp for Canadian officers in World War II and is located in the Padgate area of Warrington. This campus includes the North West Media Centre, which has close ties to Granada Television, a business centre and a new state of the art learning resource centre.[13]

The university also has a number of bases at NHS sites across Cheshire and the Wirral.


The University is organised into seven faculties of study. Five of these are also subdivided into academic departments.[14] The Faculties and departments are:

In addition, a number of research centres operate alongside the departments.

Students and staff

Most of Chester's 15,000 students are from the UK, with a quarter being mature students. There are twice as many female students as male (partially due to the number of nursing, midwifery and teaching students). The small number of foreign students are mainly participants in the university's active exchange policy. There are approximately 1,400 members of staff, 553 of whom are academic. Many of them take part in research and often publish their work through the institution's own publishing house, the University of Chester Press. The review of the staff's research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise was positive: each of the ten Units of Assessment contained work that was internationally excellent, with world-leading work in several areas, including Drama, Dance and Performing Arts, English Language and Literature, History, and Sports-Related Studies. These results have led to a large increase in the University's Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) research funding from £338,000 in 2008-09, to £790,000 in 2009-10.[15]

Dr Peter Blair and Dr Ashley Chantler edit Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, a major literary periodical, which publishes stories and reviews of up to 360 words by writers from around the world.[16] Contributors have included: Ama Ata Aidoo, Roberta Allen, Beryl Bainbridge, Elleke Boehmer, Dave Eggers, David Gaffney, Rodge Glass, Michael Cawood Green, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Liesl Jobson, James Kelman, J. Robert Lennon, Kobus Moolman, Ewan Morrison, Dan Rhodes, Matt Thorne, Alan Wall, and Gee Williams.

Chester Students' Union

Chester Students' Union (CSU)[17] offers services and provides facilities for students and is a member of the NUS. Three sabbatical officers are elected each year. For the 2010-2011 term, is President, Dechlan Jarrett, the Vice-President for the Chester campus, Jack Mason and the Vice-President for the Warrington campus, Sam Wright. Sabbatical officers serve a maximum of two years.

The Executive Committee are the trustees of the Union. Members are elected each year before the end of March and each has a different role, such as Entertainments representative, Welfare and Campaigns representative and Publications representative. The support staff for the Union consists of a number of full-time employees, part-time student staff and volunteers from the elected Executive Committee and the Union Council.

The Union runs bars (CH1 on the main campus) as the previously known 'Padgate Union Bar' on the Warrington campus was in August 2010, taken over by the university. The Union also has three shops. Two are on the Chester campus, consisting of a general shop and clothes shop, and these functions are combined into one at Warrington. The Union also runs over 75 sports clubs and societies; with each campus having its own teams, many of which compete in British Universities and Colleges Sport competitions. Once a year, the Union runs an inter-campus competition known as Varsity on campus where sporting societies, such as seven-a-side football, and non-sporting societies, such as poker, compete. Other non-sporting societies include the Drama Society, the Amnesty International Society and the People and Planet Society. A student radio station, The Cat 1251AM, is based on the Warrington campus and broadcasts daily, with presenters on air from September until June.

CSU won the NUS 'Community Relations Award' at the NUS 2011 ceremony.


The University of Chester generally enjoys a good reputation, with The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) 2010 audit commending the University for its good practice in ensuring standards and enhancing the quality of learning opportunities, the supportive relationships that underpin the learning and working in the institution and the strength of its partnership work[18] however it has come under fire from the local community recently due to the controversial purchase of Cheshire County Hall.[19] The Faculty of Education and Children's Services also celebrated an 'outstanding' outcome of its recent Ofsted inspection of Initial Teacher Training.[20] The University was ranked =79 in The Guardian 2011 University Guide[21] and 81 in the Complete University Guide 2011.[22] The University's Geography and Development Studies degrees achieved 100% in the National Student Survey[23] and the University has been described as 'building up a solid reputation in a number of subjects beyond education' by The Times. It is ranked as 7th best university in North West England (out of 11 institutions).[24]

In 2007, the Sunday Times released averages of all its tables over 10 years, ranking Chester as 78th in the country (out of 119 institutions) from 1998 - 2007.[25]

Overall UK University Rankings
2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
Times Good University Guide 71st[26] 83rd[26] 91st[26] 71st=[26] 86th 100th= 68th
Guardian University Guide 79th[27] 90th[28] 80th[29] 86th[30] 80th 90th 113th 108th 102nd
The Complete University Guide 80th=[31] 81st=[22] 90th[32] 90th=[33] 84th[34]
The Daily Telegraph 84th
Sunday Times University Guide 97th=[26] 83rd=[26] 86th[26] 99th 97th[35] 82nd[35] 93rd[36] 87th[36] 79th 69th[37]

Coat of arms

The University's coat of arms was granted by the College of Arms in 1954. The arms, pictured above, are made up of an argent shield featuring the St George's cross on which there is a golden wheatsheaf, representing the Earldom of Cheshire. In the first quarter of the shield is a clasped open book, symbolising learning. The crest features a mitre, signifying the institution's founding by the Church of England, in front of two crossed swords, which are taken from the County of Cheshire's coat of arms. The golden scroll contains the Latin motto, "qui docet in doctrina", an extract from Saint Paul's epistle to the Romans and translates as "he that teacheth, on teaching" or "let the teacher teach".[38]

The coat of arms was used as the College's logo until the early 1990s when a new logo, with a depiction of the Old College building, was introduced. The coat of arms returned to the College's logo in 2002 when a simplified version became part of the logo. The University's current logo, introduced in 2005, features the shield and scroll from the coat of arms.

Notable alumni

Honorary graduates

Honorary graduates of the University include HRH The Prince of Wales, Dame Joan Bakewell, The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Terry Waite CBE, Sir Andrew Motion, Tim Firth, Ken Dodd OBE, Sue Johnston OBE, Phil Redmond CBE, Willie Carson, Matthew Kelly, Estelle Morris (Baroness Morris of Yardley), Christine Russell, Ronald Pickup and Tony Robinson.

Notable staff


  1. ^ 2009 Annual Review
  2. ^ a b c "Table 0 - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2008/09" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e Ian Dunn, The University of Chester, 1839-2008: The Bright Star in the Present Prospect
  5. ^ University of Chester: News and Events
  6. ^ a b c University of Chester: News and Events
  7. ^ Statuette of W. E. Gladstone
  8. ^ Twentieth century Chester 1914-2000 - The economy, 1918-39 | British History Online
  9. ^ a b "Chester, University of". The Independent (London). 22 June 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Official RAE results
  11. ^ a b c The Cestrian, 2008
  12. ^ University of Chester Annual Review 2009
  13. ^ Elsie Newton, The Padgate Story, 1946-2006; University of Chester Annual Review 2009
  14. ^ University of Chester: Departments
  15. ^ University of Chester Annual Review 2009.
  16. ^ "Flash Fiction Magazine" Accessed 18th September 2009
  17. ^ Chester Students' Union. Official website. Retrieval Date: December 31, 2007.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Chester Chronicle Accessed 28 August 09
  20. ^
  21. ^ "University guide 2011: University league table". The Guardian (London). 8 June 2010. 
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ "Profile University of Chester". The Times (London). 27 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  24. ^ Times Top Universities in the North West Accessed 28 August 09
  25. ^ "University ranking based on performance over 10 years". London: Times Online. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g "Times Online, Chester University Profile". London: The Times. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  27. ^ "University league table". The Guardian (London). 2011-05-17. 
  28. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2010". London: The Guardian. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  29. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2009". London: The Guardian. 2008-02-10. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  30. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2008". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  31. ^"
  32. ^ "Complete University Guide 2010". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  33. ^ "Complete University Guide 2009". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  34. ^ "Complete University Guide 2008". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  35. ^ a b "The Sunday Times Good University Guide League Tables". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-04. [dead link]
  36. ^ a b "The Sunday Times University League Table" (PDF). The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  37. ^ "University ranking based on performance over 10 years" (PDF). London: Times Online. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  38. ^ A Cheshire Armorial - The Arms of The University of Chester
  39. ^ Jim Bowen, From a Bundle of Rags: The Autobiography of Jim Bowen (London: Robson Books, 1992)
  40. ^ a b c d Student News, Summer 2008 - Chester Chronicle
  41. ^ "Voice from heaven, family from hell ... The dangerous world that singer Duffy left behind – Mail Online". Daily Mail (London). [dead link]
  42. ^ a b
  43. ^ a b c d Alumni - Alumni Stories
  44. ^ a b Glanville, Brian (18 February 2002). "Sir Walter Winterbottom". The Guardian (London).,1563,652088,00.html. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  45. ^ a b The Cestrian, 2009
  46. ^ The Collegian, 1999
  47. ^ Annual Review 2010
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ University of Chester: Department of Theology and Religious Studies
  51. ^ University of Chester: Department of English
  52. ^ University of Chester: Department of History and Archaeology

Further reading

  • Burek, Cynthia and Stilwell, Richard, Geodiversity Trail: Walking Through the Past on the University's Chester Campus (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2007)
  • Astbury, Stanley, A History of Chester Diocesan Training College (Chester: Chester College, 1946)
  • Bradbury, John Lewis, Chester College and the Training of Teachers, 1839-1975 (Chester: Chester College, 1975)
  • Dunn, Ian, The University of Chester, 1839-2005: The Bright Star in the Present Prospect (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2005)
  • Dunn, Ian, The University of Chester, 1839-2008: The Bright Star in the Present Prospect, 2nd ed. (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2008)
  • Newton, Elsie, The Padgate Story 1946-2006 (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2007)
  • White, Graeme J (ed.), Perspectives of Chester College: 150th Anniversary Essays, 1839-1989 (Chester: Chester College, 1989)

External links

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