Newman University, which enjoys on of the UK’s best graduate employment rates of education providers, sits in the Bartley Green suburb of Birmingham. Founded in 1968 as Newman College of Higher Education, it started life as Newman College of Higher Education before becoming Newman University College, prior to receiving full university status in 2013.
John Henry Newman, a religious figure of the 19th century, was a member of the Birmingham Oratory. He strongly believed that a university should be a community in which one should train the mind to think. The university is named after him.
Three years before it opened, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, George Patrick Dwyer, donated land in Bartley Green in the hope of seeing a teacher training college built, for the benefit of local primary and secondary schools. The following year the college, still being built, appointed its first Principal and Vice Principal, and when it was unveiled in 1968, it took in the first 182 students.
In 1983 the college formed a partnership with Westhill College to share facilities, and this agreement ran for 15 years. From 2003 to 2008, the University of Leicester validated all degrees at the college, at a time when student numbers increased considerably.
Memorably, the world’s media descended in September 1992, when the iconic Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa, who was revered around the world, paid a visit to the college campus along with Cardinal Basil Hume. They were greeted by staff and students in a splash of publicity.
The college changed its name to Newman University College at the start of 2008, before updating again five years later, to its current title of Newman University. It is one of only three Catholic universities in the UK. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI held a ceremonial mass at Cofton Park, in Birmingham, where staff and students from the university took part.
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In 2016, the local authority approved the university’s building projects, which saw £22 million invested in a new teaching block, coffee bar and social spaces. The teaching block boasts a brand-new lecture theatre, atrium and seminar rooms.
Newman University received an ‘outstanding’ grade for the latest inspection of its Employment-Based Initial Teacher Training (Graduate Teacher Programme). Recent inspection reports by the QAA and Ofsted have also proved to be positive.
It has boasted an impressive sporting tradition spanning several decades, thanks in no small part to the quality of the gym, squash courts, health and fitness centre, and all-weather sports pitch.
Honorary doctorates have been awarded by the university to several high-profile figures, including Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge; John Sentamu, the 97th Archbishop of York; and Edward Bond, the theatre director and poet.
In the government’s teaching assessment exercise in the summer of 2017, Newman University received a Silver award for its teaching standards. In an exercise carried out by the Times Higher Education Supplement, the university scored highly on its overall student satisfaction ranking with an outcome of 89%.