Birmingham City University BCU (abbrev. as BCU; and previously Birmingham Polytechnic and the University of Central England in Birmingham) is a post-1992 British university in the city of Birmingham, England. It is the second largest of three universities in the city, the other two being the Aston University and University of Birmingham. Initially established as the Birmingham College of Art with roots dating back to 1843. In 1971 it was designated as a polytechnic until 1992, when it gained university status.
Birmingham City University BCU has eight campuses serving six faculties, and offers courses in art and design, business, the built environment, computing, education,engineering, English, healthcare, law, the performing arts, social sciences, and technology. A proposed £125million extension to its campus in the city centre of Birmingham, part of the Eastside development of a new technology and learning quarter, is to open in two stage, in 2013 and 2015. The university is a designated Skillset Media Academy, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for health and social care, and a member of the million+ group of New Universities.
Birmingham City University BCU is the West Midlands’ largest provider of higher education for undergraduate study, and its portfolio of part-time courses is among the biggest in the UK. Roughly half of the university’s full-time students are from the West Midlands, and a large percentage of these are from ethnic minorities. Birmingham City University BCU runs access and foundation programmes through an international network of associated universities and further education colleges, and has the highest intake of foreign students in the Birmingham area
The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allowed all polytechnics to adopt the title of “university”. The name University of Central England in Birminghamwas approved by the Privy Council on 16 June 1992. The name change took place in time for the new academic year starting later that year. Students who graduated in mid 1992 were given certificates bearing the name University of Central England, even if the entirety of their study had taken place at the polytechnic. The original design was created by Amba Frog Designafter a meeting with delegates from university student councils.
In 1995, two more colleges were absorbed—Birmingham and Solihull College of Nursing and Midwifery, and the West Midlands School of Radiography—and the Birmingham School of Jewellery opened on Vittoria Street in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The Faculty of Engineering and Computer Technology provided the basis for the creation of the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) in 2000. The following year, the Faculty of Health incorporated the Defence School of Health Care Studies.
In 2003, Birmingham City University BCU proposed a merger with the University of Birmingham. Birmingham City University BCU immediately rejected the proposal. In November 2003, the university pursued a merger between UCE and Aston University-another university in Birmingham that, according to The Guardian, “would create an institution of 32,000 students with a £200m turnover”. The plans were announced by the then Vice-Chancellor Peter Knight, and approved by lecturers. The new institution would utilise the established Aston University name, and all UCE staff members’ jobs and employment conditions would be kept intact, although Vice-Chancellor Knight would not be part of its management team. He estimated a completion date for the merger of August 2006.
The Aston University Council discussed the proposal during a meeting on 3 December 2003 and concluded that it should be rejected. In a statement, the university said that “Whilst the Council respects UCE’s distinctive mission, it does not share UCE’s analysis of the potential opportunities that might arise from any merger”, and cited influencing factors such as Aston’s approach to research and teaching, the “significant differences between the missions and strategies” of Aston and UCE, and the negative impact that prolonged discussions would have on both institutions. Aston suggested that it, UCE and the University of Birmingham should instead begin discussions about the three universities’ contribution to the future of local and regional higher education.
In August 2005, the University of Central England rebranded itself as UCE Birmingham for marketing and promotional purposes, though the original name remained for official use. This decision was reversed in March 2007, following the arrival of a new Vice-Chancellor, and the fuller title University of Central England in Birmingham was resurrected for all purposes.
The Coppice and Oscott Gardens are residential halls of residence located adjacent to City North Campus. Hamstead Campus is a purely residential campus located near to City North, in Handsworth Wood, that includes a Grade II-listed Hall built in 1881.
There are also halls of residence at the City South Campus, primarily used by nursing students, while the university also has access to rooms in a number of private halls in the city centre.
The New Technology Institute (NTI) is a business and I.T. training centre at Birmingham city centre in association with Aston University and theUniversity of Birmingham. Screen Media Lab, part of the Birmingham School of Media, is a purpose built centre for enterprise and innovation in screen media and visual design. The International Project Space (IPS) is an art gallery located at the Bournville Centre for Visual Arts.
Moor Lane is a venue for sports, business training and conferences near to City North Campus. Previously, a dedicated sports centre was located behind The Coppice, a student accommodation block next to the City North Campus, and included tennis courts, bowls, football and rugby pitches, running track and a social club. The university announced a £7 million sports complex would be built on the site, formerly the Ansells Sports Club, with construction to start in mid 2008 for completion in 2009. The centre, City North Sports Centre, opened on 4 January 2010 and includes a fitness suite, workout classes, and a sports hall.
Lawyers at Wragge & Co have advised Birmingham City University on the outsourcing of work for the sports centre to international service company Serco. Under a new 10-year agreement, the FTSE 100 Company will run both the sports centre and the existing Pavilion sports facility in Perry Barr
Throughout its history the university has been spread across a number of different sites in Birmingham. As of 2013, the university is at the following campuses:
- City North Campus is located in Perry Barr, Birmingham. This campus includes the Birmingham City Business School; Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences; and a part of theFaculty of Performance, Media and English;
- City Centre Campus, located in Millennium Point, is the home of Birmingham School of Acting and the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (formerly the Technology Innovation Centre). A new art, design and media building is being constructed next to the existing facilities and is set to open in 2013;
- Gosta Green, the main home of the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) until September 2013;
- Vittoria Street in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, home to the School of Jewellery (BIAD);
- Margaret Street, home of the School of Fine Art (BIAD), formerly home of the Birmingham School of Art;
- Birmingham Conservatoire, based in Birmingham city centre;
- City South Campus, on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, home to both the —along with the Defence School of Health Care, part of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) located atSelly Oak Hospital—and a moderate amount of student accommodation;
- Bournville Campus, home to Birmingham City University International College
Birmingham City University BCU is planning a “flagship” extension to its campus in Birmingham City Centre, next to the existing facilities at Millennium Point. The City Centre campus will be a £150 million development as part of Birmingham’s Eastside development, with art, design and media students moving into Phase 1 of the development in 2013, with business, education, law and social sciences following in 2015, when Phase 2 of the new building is completed. Existing facilities at the Gosta Green, Bournville and City North campuses will be moved to the City Centre Campus as the university seeks to reduce the number of campuses it occupies.