Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 20th October 2017

Universities Wales responds to the student finance update from the Cabinet Secretary of Education.

Statement from Unis Wales in response to the student finance update by the Cabinet Secretary for Education 18/10/17:

The past few weeks have seen tuition fee reform high on the agenda in Westminster, with the Prime Minister announcing a ‘major review’ of student finance and university funding in England. Clearly any changes announced in England are beyond the control of the Welsh Government which puts the Cabinet Secretary in a difficult position.

Universities Wales chair Professor Julie Lydon says “The £10million additional funding allocated through the budget is very welcome and we value the continued positive approach taken by the Cabinet Secretary to work with the sector to find a solution for the 19/20 financial year to mitigate the short-term implications of this decision.”

“At a time when our universities have been working to plan long-term for a sustainable funding model through Diamond, this commitment by the Welsh Government to find a solution will enable our universities to continue to deliver a comparable student experience to that available in better funded institutions across the border.”

The additional £5million in 18/19 for Postgraduate study is a welcome injection of funding for student support which will bring Wales in line with English funding for Postgraduate study, and ensure Wales continues to deliver world-leading research, however this must be accompanied by investment in our institutions, for this excellence to be realised.


The robots are coming…

This month in the Institute of Welsh Affairs ‘the welsh agenda’ publication, our chair Professor Julie Lydon writes about the role of our universities in meeting the skills needs of Wales, the future challenges a changing economy poses for our education system, and how our institutions are responding.



European student representatives gather in Cardiff.

Last week, NUS Wales hosted over 80 student leaders from 30 European countries for the 34th European Student Union convention. During the two day event, student representatives discussed current and shared issues in European higher education, under the theme of ‘Securing our future’.  Delegates debated minority languages in education, sustainable development, and the Bologna process and upcoming EHEA ministerial conference. During a debate on the implications of Brexit for students and universities in Europe, delegates discussed the need to guarantee the rights of existing EU students and academics, their fears about the future of research funding and collaboration, and of students’ concern about the uncertainty that Brexit posed.

During an address to the conference, the Cabinet Secretary for education Kirsty Williams celebrated the contribution of European students and academics to Welsh higher education and reaffirmed the importance of continued collaboration and cooperation.

A blog by NUS Wales Deputy President Carmen Smith on the event can be read here

Note: European Students’ Union (ESU) is the umbrella organisation of 45 National Unions of Students (NUS) from 38 countries.








Hillary Clinton awarded honorary doctorate from Swansea University

The former US secretary of state was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law in recognition of her commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world, a commitment that is shared by Swansea University’s Observatory on the Human Rights of Children and Young People.

Speaking at a ceremony in the University’s Great Hall on 14th October, Mrs Clinton spoke of her belief in Children’s Rights being Human Rights, the importance of education, and of her personal connection to Wales. Mrs Clinton later unveiled a commemorative stone at the universities newly named ‘Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law’.

HRC ceremony



Do you know any famous Erasmus alumni?
UUK is currently compiling a list of famous alumni who have studied overseas with Erasmus to help promote the benefits of Erasmus+.

UUK would also like your case studies – stories from students – talking about their amazing experiences studying abroad. Please email up to 200 words for each story (including a photograph, if available) to UUK will only publish information with consent from universities and individuals featured.



Cardiff Met receives Comprehensive Internationalisation Badge from the International Association of Universities

ISAS Comprehensive Badge of InternationalisationThe International Association of Universities (IAU) has awarded Cardiff Met with their highest award after judging the University to be comprehensively internationalised.

A panel from IAU has assessed the university across 15 criteria, including its strategy, the support provided to international students at home and abroad, its work to internationalise the curriculum and research activities, and its efforts to support social cohesion around the world. The award follows a university wide self-evaluation and a visit from the panel, where they met with students and staff. Cardiff Met successfully met each criterion and was commended in areas including its strategy, governance, culture, learning and teaching, and support services.

The panel also commended the institution’s internationalisation activities both at home and abroad, recognising that internationalisation is pervasive throughout the institution and embedded deeply within each of its schools and units.

Madeleine Green, Chair of the Panel and Senior Fellow, International Association of Universities and NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, said “The International Association of Universities is delighted to confer the first learning badge for comprehensive internationalisation. The Panel recognises that Cardiff Metropolitan University has made a huge contribution to the lives of both international and local students in Cardiff by achieving an impressive level of internationalisation throughout the institution and embedding it deep within its culture and strategy.”

Professor Cara Aitchison, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff Metropolitan University said, “Cardiff Met has a unique internationalisation model that embodies our values and has an impact on global social cohesion. I am pleased that this model has been recognised on an international level.”



Political update


  • Kirsty Williams and the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies, appeared before the Children, Young People and Education Committee for a scrutiny session earlier this week. A transcript is not yet available but a webcast is available here, while the ministerial evidence paper can be read here.
  • Latest statistics on student support applications for higher education have been published.
  • The Assembly’s Research Service has published its latest Brexit Update.