Ulster Unionist Causeway Coast and Glens Councillors Joan Baird and William McCandless have reminded Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry of the importance of the Coleraine campus of the Ulster University. Cllrs Baird and McCandless were part of a delegation from the Council who met the Minister at Stormont.
Cllr McCandless said:
“This was a useful meeting with the Minister in which we set out the case for future investment and development at the Coleraine campus of the Ulster University. We have recently met Professor Paddy Nixon, the new Vice Chancellor at the Ulster University and have been impressed at his positive vision for all of the campuses of the University. However the fact is that higher education is in considerable financial stress with a 8.7 % cut in funding leading to widespread redundancies over the past year and the closure of the school of modern languages at Coleraine.
“We took the opportunity to remind the Minister that UUC is a centre of excellence for biomedical science, pharmacy and teacher education. There is also positive news with the recent £6.75M investment in a new state of the art media training facility and a new £5.1M sports centre on the campus. What we want and need from the Minister is a commitment to sort out the funding gap so that the Ulster University can complete gain on a level playing field with Universities right across the United Kingdom.”
Cllr Joan Baird said:
“A lot of the focus in recent times has been about the relocation of the Belfast campus, and expansion of the Magee campus. We were keen to remind the Minister about the needs of the Coleraine campus of the Ulster University. As a new Council we need to form a close and permanent partnership with the University. The whole area of community planning is something that the University should have a major say in. There is great potential for the wider community to share in the excellent sporting and leisure facilities at the campus. Above all we need to better integrate the campus into the wider North Coast community.
“On a wider level, we shared with the Minister our concern at the reduction in the amount of undergraduate places at local Universities. Thousands of our young people are leaving our shores to pursue their higher education and too many are choosing not to return. We should be exporting product, not our young people.”