Bishop Grosseteste University, which sits in the heart of beautiful Lincoln just a short stroll away from the iconic cathedral, traces its roots back to 1862, when it was an Anglican teacher training college for women. As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations in 1962, the name was changed to Bishop Grosseteste College in honour of Robert Grosseteste, the former Bishop of Lincoln, who was a 13th century scientist and educator.
Widely-admired for being a pioneering scholar, teacher and theologian, Grosseteste held a range of academic roles before becoming Bishop in 1235 at what was, at the time, England’s biggest diocese. He remained in the position for 18 years, before passing away in 1253. During his life, Grosseteste penned texts such as religious poems, philosophical commentaries, and prayers.
He also carried out experiments with light and optics, and is believed to have influenced Roger Bacon, later known by the scholastic accolade Dr Mirabilis, whose major work was the Opus Majus (Latin for ‘Greater Work’), an 840-page treatise explaining the work he had undertaken. The treatise was personally requested by Pope Clement IV.
Grosseteste’s remains lie in Lincoln Cathedral. He is remembered every year in a service at the University Chapel on October 9th, his feast day.
The teacher training college set up camp at the same premises of a previous educational establishment for male teacher, which had been established in 1842 with lecture rooms, a chapel and a school. It was later rebranded as Lincoln Diocesan Training College, prior to the centenary-inspired switchover.
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Having awarded degrees of Bachelor of Education (BEd), validated by the University of Nottingham, the college went on to offer the same qualifications but validated by the University of Hull from 1987, with BEd students spending one year of their programme reading their main subject at Hull. Four years later, the college stopped awarding the BEd degrees in favour of the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Qualified Teacher Status (BA Hons and QTS).
In 2003, the college signed a Validation Agreement with the University of Leicester, three years before receiving university college status itself. The change of legislation regarding the use of the title ‘university’ in 2012 gave higher education providers with more than 1,000 students the chance to apply for university status. The college successfully applied in the summer of that year, and was rebranded as Bishop Grosseteste University at the end of 2013.
The library building was given a makeover before doubling in size, and a new dining facility was complemented by the addition of a refectory.
Recent years have seen an increase in student numbers and courses, with teaching courses sat alongside a wide range of other subjects. More than 2,000 learners benefit from the university's 150 years of experience, covering an array of programmes and qualifications.
In the Times/Sunday Times rankings for 2018, Bishop Grosseteste was awarded 95th position in the UK.
Well-known alumni of the university include Jade Etherington, the Paralympic ski silver medallist, West End Theatre Producer David Pugh, and Muriel Robinson, who served as both Principal and Vice-Chancellor.