When art critic and philanthropist John Ruskin unveiled Cambridge School of Art in 1858, he planted the seed for what would eventually grow into Anglia Ruskin University, which now has more than 40,000 students worldwide and campuses spread across Cambridge, Chelmsford, London and Peterborough.
In 1960, Cambridge School of Art became Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology (CCAT), before a merger 29 years later with Essex Institute of Higher Education, which led to the formation of the Anglia Higher Education College. By 1991, the merged college became a polytechnic, going by the name Anglia Polytechnic, prior to receiving university status 12 months down the line, leading to the name change ‘Anglia Polytechnic University’.
It has gone by its current title, Anglia Ruskin University, since 2005. The London campus was introduced in 2015, for students to study the likes of Business, Finance and Law at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The university has invested more than £100 million in its campuses in recent years, unveiling modern clinical skills labs that include mock hospital wards. A specialist Music Therapy Centre was also added to the complex, and there are plans in place to open a new Science Centre.
The university boasts no less than half-a-dozen high-profile research institutes. The Postgraduate Medical Institute does ground-breaking medical research and trains healthcare staff a variety of modern techniques. The Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute looks into the effects of the digital economy on art, culture and society, while the Global Sustainability Institute hones in on climate change and sustainability.
The Veterans and Families Institute conducts research into the impact of military activity on veterans and their relatives, and the Anglia Ruskin IT Research Institute works on IT systems through visualisation and intelligent modelling. The Policing Institute for the Eastern Region, meanwhile, is home to research, knowledge exchange and professional development to improve policing in the East of England.
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In September 2017, the university enjoyed a watershed moment when it was announced that the General Medical Council had approved the its curriculum, and it would now enjoy official School of Medicine status – a long-held ambition of the Governance team and something that will help the university stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its peers.
A dozen of the university’s research areas were ranked as ‘world-leading’ in the government’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The university was placed 29th nationally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 301-350 in the world. It also has a Silver Teaching Excellence Framework accolade to its name.
Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire former Conservative vice-chairman, is among the high-profile alumni of Anglia Ruskin University. His statue resides at the Cambridge campus, and the university’s business school was named after him, as was the building where it is housed.
The T.S Eliot Prize-winning author and academic John Burnside studied at the university, as did the television presenter, radio personality and model Sarah-Jane Crawford, Pink Floyd musicians Syd Barrett and David Gilmour, NSPCC chairman Mark Wood, sports journalist Manish Bhasin, and Spitting Image creators Roger Law and Peter Fluck.