UHI is awarded taught degree awarding powers

Issued by UHI Millennium Institute

UHI Millennium Institute, the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands, has announced today (Thursday 26th June) that it has been granted taught degree awarding powers by the Privy Council.

It means that from 1st August this year UHI degrees will no longer have to be validated by the Open University. This follows a recommendation earlier this year by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) that UHl be granted its own taught degree awarding powers.

UHI principal, Professor Bob Cormack, said taught degree awarding powers would give UHI more flexibility in the development of new courses and enable it to respond more efficiently to student interests and employer demands. He thanked the Open University for its backing to date and paid tribute to staff, students and supporters for helping UHI to reach this milestone stage in its development.

He added: “We are delighted to announce this important news, and very proud to be considered worthy and ready for taught degree awarding powers (tDAP) just seven years after becoming a higher education institution. This is a huge achievement for UHI and means that we can now begin the next stage of our progress towards university title for which taught degree awarding powers is a pre-requisite step. 

“We are working with the QAA, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government and others to bring this about. While creating a university is quite correctly a rigorous process, our development is supported by the acknowledged needs of our region, the skills and commitment of our staff, and the support of three of Scotland’s leading universities – Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde.”

Fiona Hyslop, the cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, said: “To create a more prosperous, successful Scotland we must continue to foster a lifelong learning system that offers better chances for everyone and drives economic growth. Our universities and colleges are central to our aims and we are committed to helping them attract students and enhance their capacity for learning.

“UHI provides a vital higher education resource to the Highlands and Islands, offering flexible learning opportunities to diverse and diffuse communities which enable many to study without having to move away. Being granted degree awarding powers marks a major milestone for UHI and I’m delighted that the hard work going on there has been recognised in this way. Clearly, the establishment of a university would be a major accomplishment and a huge asset to the region and we will continue to support UHI in its aspirations for university title.”

More than 6800 students are currently studying at university-level with UHI through a network of colleges, research institutions and learning centres in the Highlands and Islands.

Five new programmes are being launched by UHI in September; all of them designed to meet regional and national demands for professional skills development. They are the bachelor of science (BSc) in sustainable construction; bachelor of arts (BA) childhood practice; BSc oral health science; master of arts (MA) health and wellbeing, and BA adventure tourism management. 

The UHI academic partners are: Argyll College UHI; Highland Theological College UHI; Inverness College UHI; Lews Castle College UHI; Lochaber College UHI; Moray College UHI; NAFC Marine Centre UHI; North Highland College UHI; Orkney College UHI; Perth College UHI; Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI; Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI near Oban; Shetland College UHI. The Sustainable Development Research Centre in Forres is an associate institution. 

Media contact:
Martin Wright
UHI director of marketing and communications
01463 279221
07796 930024

Notes to editors

• UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) is a higher education institution comprising thirteen partner colleges and research institutions, one associated institution and a network of over fifty outreach learning centres, located throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (including Moray and Perthshire).
• Currently over 6800 students are studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with UHI.

• The UHI partner institutions are working together to achieve university status, as the University of the Highlands and Islands.

1992 - UHI Project established
1996 - Millennium Commission funding awarded
1998 - Open University confirms degree validation backing
2001 - Higher education institution status granted
2002 - Research funding awarded
2005 - Application for taught degree awarding powers lodged with the Privy Council 
2008 - Taught degree awarding powers granted

26 Jun 2008