Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a University Strategy needed?
Durham is one of the world’s great universities and one of the most distinctive. It is performing extremely well. But the University cannot stand still. It operates in a highly competitive, global environment. The University Strategy, 2017-2027 aims to secure the University’s future by delivering long-term financial sustainability and ensuring it continues to deliver world-class research, education and wider student experience.
What is the University Strategy, 2017-2027?
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 sets out the University’s vision for development and investment to 2027. It begins with an assessment of the University’s current position, before exploring how the University will build on success to shape its future. There are sections on the faculty, research, education, the wider student experience, internationalisation, finance, estates, people and operations.
How was the University Strategy developed and agreed?
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 was developed over the course of 18 months, initially under Vice-Chancellor Ray Hudson and subsequently under Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge, working with academic and professional services staff and our students. The approach was distinctive in three ways: it was agreed that objectives would always be linked to actions; the Durham University community was engaged as fully as possible; and the development of the Strategy did not constrain the University from taking some major decisions during its period of gestation. The Strategy was approved by the University’s governing Council in December 2016.
How did the University consult during the development of the Strategy?
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 was developed with a view to engaging the Durham University community as fully as possible. The University’s governing bodies, Senate and Council, saw all chapters as Green and White Papers and the wider University community had access to a Strategy website. The Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior leadership team held open meetings for staff and students. Consultation was also undertaken outside the University with communities and stakeholders, focusing on the Estate Masterplan. The University continues to welcome constructive feedback. Email: email@example.com
What is the overall goal of the University Strategy?
The overall goal of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 is to deliver:
- World-leading and world-changing research across all core academic departments and institutes;
- Education that is challenging, enabling, research-led and transformative; and
- Through our Colleges, Durham Students’ Union and Experience Durham, a wider student experience as good as any in the world.
What are the priorities?
Implementation of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 is being led by an Estates Programme Board and a Strategy Delivery Board, focusing on a number of critical initiatives. These are: the Faculty; Durham DOES; Equality and Diversity; Student Recruitment and Admissions; Curriculum Simplification and Reform; Estate Masterplan Phase 1; Queen’s Campus; Science Development; and Income Diversification and Commercialisation.
For staff and students, updates will be posted on the Strategy delivery web pages.
Why does the University have to grow?
Durham is one of the world’s best universities, but must ensure it remains competitive in the global higher education market. The University intends to strengthen its research and education by growing staff and student numbers, to enable academic units to achieve critical mass. The University intends to increase its academic staff numbers by 330 from c900 to c1,200 and increase student numbers by up to 4,000 from 17,500 to a maximum of 21,500 by 2027. This will provide the opportunity of a Durham education to more students but is about the same rate of growth the University has seen over the past decade and means Durham will remain small compared to most of its peers. The University wants to be a good neighbour and will continue to work constructively with the community to mitigate any issues of concern.
How big will the University become?
The University projects growth of a maximum of 4,000 students by 2027. This is the same rate of growth that the University has seen over the last decade. In addition, 1,600 students will be relocated from Stockton-on-Tees as Queen’s Campus is repurposed in part as Durham University International Study Centre, which began in 2017. Durham will remain one of the smaller Russell Group universities.
The University wants to be a good neighbour and will continue to work constructively with the community to mitigate any issues of concern.
Where will the extra students live?
The University projects growth of a maximum of 4,000 students by 2027. This is the same rate of growth that the University has seen over the last decade, during which no new Colleges have been developed. The University is committed to increasing the percentage of its students living in our College accommodation to 50% by 2027. To meet this objective, the University will establish four to six new Colleges in partnership with private sector developers. The first of these new Colleges will open at Mount Oswald for the academic year 2019/2020. The University is also committed to achieving sustainable communities and welcomes open dialogue with residents’ groups, Durham County Council and other partners such as the police and local businesses.
How do I keep up to date with progress?
Updates on the progress of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 will be posted on the Strategy web pages and social media. Local residents will also be kept informed via community meetings.
For staff and students, there will be open meetings led by the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior leadership team and discussion events. Updates will also be published in Dialogue Signposts and Dialogue magazine.
What is the People Strategy all about?
The People Strategy, and with it the Faculty Strategy, recognise that our future depends on our staff. The University aims to offer better careers for academic and professional services staff members and recruit the very best staff members from around the world.
What are the goals of the People Strategy?
The goals of the People Strategy are to:
- Recruit and mentor academic and professional service staff members of the very highest quality;
- Promote job satisfaction, productivity and career progression routes for employees, and create communities of practice within which colleagues can develop their professional expertise; and
- Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.
How does the People Strategy fit with Durham DOES programme?
Durham DOES (Delivering Operational Excellence Strategy) developed from the Operations Strategy section of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 but is also closely linked to, and aligned with, the People Strategy. Durham DOES provides a framework within which efficient and effective support for the broader Strategy can be delivered. Staff and students can find much more information on the Durham DOES programme via the dedicated web pages.
How does the University plan to increase the diversity of its staff and student bodies?
The University is fully committed to actively promoting equal opportunities for all staff and students, eliminating discrimination and creating an inclusive and supportive work and study environment that respects the dignity of staff and students and helps all members of the University community to achieve their full potential.
Equality and Diversity has been identified as a critical initiative within the University Strategy, 2017-2027 and work is being led by Professor Antony Long, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost. The University’s Equality and Diversity Policy is available online here.
How will staff be supported through change?
The University values its staff and students highly. Openness and transparency is a key priority to the delivery of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 and the University actively welcomes constructive feedback.
For staff, there will be regular open meetings hosted by members of the senior leadership team, a dedicated email address to make comments and other engagement opportunities such as the Staff Survey. The University is also running a series of courses on change and resilience, both for managers and non-managers. More information is available here. Staff are also encouraged to raise any concerns or comments with their line manager or through representative committees.
Additionally, students are encouraged to participate in University life through their college, Durham Students’ Union and representative committees. Information on the wide range of support available to students is available on the Academic Registry and Student Services web pages.
Research and Engagement
What is the Research and Engagement Strategy all about?
The Research and Engagement Strategy recognises the importance of academic independence and curiosity driven research to a Russell Group university. It aims to deliver an environment in which world-leading and world-changing research is taking place right across the University.
What are the goals of the Research and Engagement Strategy?
The goals of the Research and Engagement Strategy are to:
- Deliver a critical mass of world-leading research across all academic departments;
- Produce and disseminate research that has a positive impact on global, national and regional challenges and which benefits culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment; and
- Offer a rewarding research environment and an exceptional research-led learning experience.
How will the Research and Engagement Strategy be delivered?
By 2027, the University will:
- Build critical mass across the University, with very significant growth in Mathematics, Computing Sciences, the Business School, the School of Government and International Affairs, Law, English and History. Each newly recruited faculty member will strengthen the Department that she or he joins;
- Build new University Research Institutes (URIs) to address key global challenges;
- Invest over £2.8 million annually in the new Chancellor’s Scholarships to better resource a high-performing cohort of postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers as the University builds the next generation of leading academics;
- Work with Business Durham and Durham County Council to develop the third phase of NETPark, North East England’s only science park; and
- Deliver a high quality academic estate, including targeted investments in buildings, libraries, museums, laboratories and equipment to support a world-leading research culture.
What is the Education Strategy all about?
The Education Strategy recognises that the quality of the education offered at Durham is one of the University’s greatest strengths. But it also recognises that education is changing rapidly, Durham is operating in a highly competitive global market and digital technologies offer great opportunities to enhance teaching and learning. It aims to deliver education that is challenging, enabling, research-led and transformative, taking advantage of the latest digital technologies, with the University welcoming talented students from all backgrounds and producing critically and socially engaged global citizens and graduates capable of fulfilling their full career potential.
What are the goals of the Education Strategy?
The goals of the Education Strategy are to:
- Ensure that all programmes offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
- Offer a first-rate digital learning environment on a par with the best in the UK;
- Significantly improve access from under-represented groups; and
- Equip students to transition successfully to the next stage of their lives, as alumni and citizens.
How will the Education Strategy be delivered?
By 2027, we will:
- Build a new Centre for Teaching and Learning that will host a wide range of learning environments and technologies, including new classrooms that will allow students to share courses in real time with students from peer institutions from around the world;
- Build an Education Laboratory to encourage innovation in classroom pedagogies and assessment. More learning sessions will be ‘flipped’ and more will be student-led;
- Implement a new University-wide Fair Access Strategy, expand the Supported Progression scheme and work with local schools to ensure greater access to Durham University for under-represented groups;
- Ensure that Durham graduates are properly equipped to enter labour markets around the globe, where they are already seen as some of the most employable students produced by the world’s leading universities; and
- Build a new lifelong learning offer for Durham alumni that will be underpinned by a strong virtual learning environment.
How much will Durham charge in tuition fees?
What is Durham doing to widen participation?
At Durham University we are focused on providing the very best education and empowering our students to succeed. We welcome students from all backgrounds with merit and potential and we have robust systems in place to ensure our admissions process is fair and transparent. More information is available on our Fair Access policy is available here.
What is Durham doing about the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)?
We welcome the focus on teaching and learning highlighted by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and are determined to further improve the student educational experience at Durham.
The Wider Student Experience
What is the Wider Student Experience Strategy all about?
Durham University values the quality of its student experience, delivered through our Colleges, Durham Students’ Union and Experience Durham, as highly as its research and education. The Wider Education Experience Strategy recognises the excellence in sport, music, drama, volunteering and leadership that contributes to The Durham Difference and includes ambitious proposals to enhance the wider student experience to make it as good as any in the world.
What are the goals of the Wider Student Experience Strategy?
The goals of the Wider Student Experience Strategy are to:
- Develop the educational mission of the University’s Colleges;
- Ensure that Durham University is top in the UK for sport, music and theatre;
- Ensure that Durham University is top in the UK for volunteering and leadership; and
- Learn from and match best practice in Wider Student Experience around the world.
How will the Wider Student Experience Strategy be delivered?
By 2027, we will:
- Develop a Durham Award that will offer all students courses on logical thinking (‘the Argument Clinic’), global citizenship and study skills, as well as credits for participation in drama, leadership, music, sport and volunteering;
- Establish four to six new colleges in Durham City, in the process ensuring that more than half of Durham students will live in college accommodation;
- Build a large-scale, integrated sports park at Maiden Castle, Durham, which will be widely available beyond the University. The University will also develop the annual Varsity Match with Loughborough, with some fixtures being played in London;
- Build a new facility for Durham Students’ Union and work with the Union and Experience Durham to deliver outstanding student services and societies; and
- Fundraise for a new concert and performance hall that will benefit Durham City and the wider region. The new hall will enable students involved in music and drama to perform at the highest levels within the UK.
What about community relations?
Durham University students make a significant positive contribution to the communities they live in through a wide range of activities such as working with children, helping the elderly, raising money for local charities and supporting those with disabilities.
The University wants to be a good neighbour and will continue to work constructively with the community to mitigate any issues of concern.
What is the Internationalisation Strategy all about?
Durham University is already a global university, with 150 nationalities represented among its staff and students. The Internationalisation Strategy aims to make Durham a globally networked university, renowned around the world as an outstanding place to study and work and a significant contributor to international research and innovation agendas. It will be led from January 2018 by Professor Claire O’Malley, who will take up post as Durham’s first Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global).
What are the goals of the Internationalisation Strategy?
The goals of the Internationalisation Strategy are to:
- Deliver a step-change in Durham’s international reputation;
- Develop and sustain a range of strategic partnerships with peer institutions;
- Attract the best academic staff from around the world to work at or with Durham; and
- Ensure that more than a third of Durham students come from outside the UK.
How will the Internationalisation Strategy be delivered?
By 2027, we will:
- Increase the number and proportion of non-UK students recruited to the University to a minimum of 35% by 2027. In so doing, the University will increase the diversity of its student body and enrich the educational and wider student experience;
- Work with Study Group at Queen’s Campus, Stockton, to build a robust and high value-added International Study Centre (ISC);
- Internationalise the curricula of Durham University degrees with a view to increasing the employability of Durham students around the world. The University will foster a culture of intellectual inquiry that advances respect for others and which more consistently addresses claims of difference;
- Develop University partnerships with eight to ten peer institutions in North America, Europe and East Asia; and
- Establish a presence in key global cities, starting with London and New York, to enable better engagement with partners, alumni, students, staff and potential funders around the world.
What about the UK’s exit from the European Union?
The University has a steering group which is considering what the implications might be for Durham once Britain leaves the European Union (EU). More information is available on the dedicated web pages.
The University plans to increase its student population by up to 4,000 to a maximum of 21,500 by 2027. This will include increases in the numbers of UK students and non-UK students. The target figure of 35% of students coming from outside the UK takes into account the possible impact of Brexit, which would lead to EU students being reclassified as international students.
Does the University plan to open overseas campuses?
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 includes proposals to establish a presence for Durham University in key global cities, starting with London and New York. The aim is to enable the University to better engage partners, alumni, students, staff and potential funders. There are currently no plans to open overseas campuses.
What is the Durham University International Study Centre?
The Durham University International Study Centre, which opened at Queen’s Campus, Stockton-on-Tees, in September 2017, provides pathway programmes for international students wanting to study at Durham University, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Programmes are available in English Language Preparation and study skills. The International Study Centre is run with Study Group, a highly respected international education provider. For more information, click here.
Accommodation and Estates
What is the Accommodation and Estates Strategy all about?
The Accommodation and Estates Strategy recognises that to deliver the broader University Strategy, 2017-2027, the University needs a world-class estate. It sets out ambitious proposals for major investments, both in new departmental space, teaching space, residential accommodation and student facilities and in improving the condition of the existing estate. It is closely linked to the Estate Masterplan, which provides a guide as to how the University could develop its estate over the long-term. This can be viewed here.
What are the goals of the Accommodation and Estates Strategy?
The goals of the Accommodation and Estates Strategy are to:
- Develop an academic estate that will allow the University to deliver world-class education, research and student experience;
- Ensure the long-term availability of suitable residential accommodation;
- Ensure the continuing renewal and maintenance of the University’s estate; and
- Improve the environmental sustainability and ease of travel around the estate and city locations.
Why does the University need to build?
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 envisages growth in staff and student numbers, an enhanced collegiate experience and an environment where world-class research and education can thrive. To deliver the Strategy, the University needs a world-class estate. To achieve that, major investments are required, both in building new departmental space, teaching space, residential accommodation and student facilities, and in improving the condition of the existing estate.
What is the University developing?
Subject to funding being available, appropriate business cases being approved and all necessary permissions being granted, the University wishes to develop:
- A Centre for Teaching and Learning at Lower Mountjoy;
- A new Sports Park at Maiden Castle;
- New buildings for Mathematical Sciences and Computing at Upper Mountjoy;
- Four to six new colleges;
- New facilities for Arts and Humanities departments at Elvet Riverside; and
- A new Business School at Elvet Waterside.
Further ahead, the University wishes to develop a new home for Durham Students’ Union and fundraise for a Concert Hall.
Existing buildings on the Peninsula will be remodelled, facilities for laboratory-based science departments will be enhanced and repairs delivered so that 85% of University buildings are of a very high standard by 2027.
For more information, visit our dedicated web pages.
What will be built, where and when?
All projects are subject to funding being available, appropriate business cases being approved and all necessary permissions being granted. But the University’s timetable for development is:
2017: Durham University International Study Centre opens at Queen’s Campus, Stockton
Sheraton Park opens as the new home for Ustinov College
2018: John Snow and Stephenson Colleges relocate from Queen’s Campus to Howlands, Durham City
Maiden Castle Sports Park opens, with new state-of-the-art sports facilities
2019: New Centre for Teaching and Learning opens at Lower Mountjoy
John Snow College and a new College open at Mount Oswald
2020: New Mathematical and Computer Science facilities open at Upper Mountjoy
2021: New Business School opens at Elvet Waterside
2022: Redeveloped Arts and Humanities facilities open at Elvet Riverside
A new College development opens
2023-27: Improved facilities for laboratory science, a new Students’ Union and a Concert Hall
For more information, visit our dedicated web pages.
How can I shape the proposed developments?
Any investment will be carefully planned and the University is committed to working with business, residents, the voluntary sector, staff, students and other partners to ensure the best outcomes for the city and region.
Extensive consultation on the Estate Masterplan was undertaken during 2016 and further consultation on the proposals for Maiden Castle Sports Park and the Centre for Teaching and Learning took place during early 2017. Further opportunities to comment on specific proposals will be available at the appropriate times.
How will the new buildings look?
The University is keen for any new buildings within its estate to exceed environmental legislation and provide exemplars in design, operational effectiveness, low maintenance and fitness for use for people working in them. New developments will be both functional and of high architectural quality, to give staff and students outstanding work, study and living spaces and pride in the University.
What will be done for pedestrians and cyclists?
The University is committed to ensuring Durham City is a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly place to live, work and study. The University intends to improve pedestrian routes and cycle routes, easing congestion and improving access. More detailed proposals will be announced as specific projects come forward.
What will the developments mean for motorists?
Projects will be carefully planned to improve the experience, environmental sustainability and safety of travel around the University estate.
What about the environment?
Durham is focussed on becoming a more environmentally sustainable university. Environmental sustainability is a key principle of the University Strategy, 2017-2027 and all areas of University life are being examined to consider how the University can reduce its carbon footprint. Estate projects will comply with the Sustainable Construction and Renovation Policy developed by Greenspace, which is available via the Greenspace web pages.
How much will all this cost?
The University is planning to make an investment of £120 million during Phase One of the Estate Masterplan. Total capital expenditure is expected to be in the region of £350 million, but this will depend on financing options.
How will this be paid for?
For more information on how the University Strategy, 2017-2027 will be funded, visit the Funding our Future page.
How will the planned developments impact the local community?
The University is proud of the positive contribution it makes to Durham City, Stockton, the wider North East of England, nationally and internationally. The University is worth more than £600 million a year to North East England and supports 10,330 jobs in the region. The University attracts many tourists to the area and its students make a positive contribution through the money they spend and the 14,000 hours a year of volunteering they undertake.
The University Strategy, 2017-2027 includes ambitious proposals to invest in research, education and the wider student experience, increasing academic staff numbers by 330 from c900 to c1,200 and increasing student numbers by up to 4,000 from 17,500 to a maximum of 21,500 by 2027. This investment is necessary to build critical mass in all departments and ensure the University’s long-term financial security.
The University is keen to work with the community to ensure there is a positive environment for all who live and work in Durham and welcomes open dialogue.
The Strategy includes a target that more than 50% of students should be housed in collegiate accommodation by 2027. This will require the development of new colleges with private partners, including at Mount Oswald.
Significant numbers of students will also continue to live in private rented accommodation. The University is committed to achieving sustainable communities and welcomes open dialogue with residents’ groups, Durham County Council and other partners such as the police and local businesses.
What will the current Business School be used for?
After Durham University Business School relocates to a new home at Elvet Waterside in 2021, its current home on Mill Hill Lane will be used for other academic departments.