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Coventry University - Students Come First

Today, in his annual Awards Ceremonies address to students, Dr Michael Goldstein CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, emphasised the major economic impact of the University on the surrounding area, but also the University's resistance to simply providing "Short-term 'oven-ready', 'microwavable' people for specific job markets."

Dr Goldstein, while stating that students are "what we are really about", explained the economic impact of the University on Coventry and Warwickshire.

"We account for about 2,500 jobs and have a turnover of 75 million a year. And 60 million of that ends up in the pay packets of Coventry and Warwickshire people . . . The University is thus a major economic force in the area."

The Vice-Chancellor continued that, as an institution that is "in many respects a business, and a big one at that", the operation of the University has been re-defined in a real business sense, and its students provide intellectual underpinning to businesses in the region.

Many students undertake placements with local companies and many remain the area after their studies.

"An increasing number start up their own businesses in the area, aided by our pioneering Graduate Enterprise Scheme. Much research in the University is in close collaboration with local firms - improving their competitiveness and helping to secure their future", stated Dr Goldstein.

The activities already outlined and the University's international dimension, providing education to students from over 60 countries, a multi-million pound contribution to Britain's exports, means that 'Yes, in these senses we are a highly successful business.'

But the Vice-Chancellor also emphasised Coventry University's crucial difference.

"We are driven by educational imperatives, not by worship of the bottom line . . . money for us is a means and not an end. Our focus in on public service; providing opportunities for the future; developing human potential; delivering high academic standards; ensuring quality learning; supporting our students."

For Coventry University students are not just customers or, at the end of their studies commercial products like cars, or fish and chips. "Students actually make education. They actively create the phenomenon of education."

While explaining Coventry University's "pride in being pioneers in providing vocational higher education . . .", Dr Goldstein said that

"We resist calls to provide short-term, 'oven-ready', 'microwavable' people for specific job markets. Our prime function and role is to prepare the ground. To focus on students as people. To take a longer term view."

The Vice-Chancellor concluded his address by congratulating the students.

"We wish you all well in the years to come. We hope that we have lived up to your expectations of us, and that we have fulfilled our ideals; that the University has provided a preparation for you now to take forward; with confidence, with hope, and with belief in yourselves. Good luck and best wishes to you all."

Cyrrhian Macrae or Floyd Jebson 01203 838352


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CWN / Education / Universities / Coventry University / 16 Nov 98

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