University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean) is a tertiary university composed of Academic Partners which are the 13 colleges and research institutions in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland delivering higher education. Its executive office is in the former Royal Northern Infirmary building in Inverness.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has a number of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes, most of which can be studied at a range of locations across the area. There are 9,984 students who are on undergraduate and postgraduate courses and 31,533 further education students.[5] There are 70 learning centres spread around the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.[6]

While the University of the Highlands and Islands is Scotland's newest university,[7] many of its 13 colleges and research institutions have longer histories, the earliest having been founded in the 19th Century. The UHI network has had a unique structure and the way that it has evolved as a multi-campus institution has been constrained by a legislative framework that deals with further and higher education separately.[8] Technology has played an important part in connecting the partner institutions.[9]

In April 2001, it became known as the UHI Millennium Institute, following the Scottish Parliament awarding Higher Education Institute status. By 2004 full-time deans had been appointed to its three faculties, with experienced figures having been attracted from other academic bodies.[10]

University degrees were authenticated by the Open University Validation Service, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Aberdeen until 2008 when the UHI was given taught degree awarding powers (tDAP) by the Privy Council[11][12] under recommendation from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA);[13] Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma courses are awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

University status was awarded by the Privy Council in February 2011, and UHI became the University of the Highlands and Islands.[14][15]

The Princess Royal was officially installed as chancellor in June 2012.[16]

Clive Mulholland became principal and vice-chancellor in June 2014,[17] after his appointment to this post was announced in February 2014.[18]

Professor Todd Walker became principal and vice-chancellor in 2021. [19]

Anton Edwards, a marine physicist, took over as rector in June 2014.[20]

The university coat of arms has been designed to reflect important aspects of the university. A compass rose with a fleur de lys indicating north denotes the university's location and two open books symbolise learning. The 13 hazel leaves are to represent the university's partners, a tree associated with wisdom in Celtic and Norse tradition.[21]

The University organised into two faculties, the faculty of arts, humanities and business, and the faculty of science, health and engineering.[23]

The Court consists of up to 20 members including graduates, academic and support personnel, university sponsor representatives and a majority of independent members. From the independent members the party elects its president and vice-chair. The University Court assigns many of its academic responsibilities to the academic board.[24]

Academic council is the main Higher Education disciplinary authority in the university. Any of its specific tasks are assigned to a variety of committees.[25] These committees are;[26]

The Foundation creates a link between the university and its communities, and serves as a mission custodian. The foundation contains a maximum of 120 members. In addition to the rector, principal and vice-chancellor, president of the student association and chair of the court, the foundation also includes members from academic partners, employees, students, industry, alumni, external organizations and individuals with organizational value-added expertise and knowledge.[27]

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business has three subject networks;[23]

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, courses such as honours programmes in Gaelic,[28] Theological Studies,[29] and Scottish History,[30] all reflect the distinctive nature of the region, its past, present and future. The Centre for History is based in Dornoch and teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees via videoconference to students around the UHI network and worldwide.[31] The faculty also offers an interdisciplinary course in Scottish Cultural Studies,[32] which received the 2005 Times Higher Education Supplement Award for Most Imaginative Use of Distance Learning.[33] Other postgraduate masters programmes cover the culture, literature and history of the Highlands and Islands, Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History, Orkney & Shetland Studies, and Viking Studies. The business school offers distinctive programmes such as Scotland's only degree in Golf Management,.[34] The School of Adventure Studies delivers courses in Adventure Tourism Management, Adventure Performance & Coaching, Adventure Education & Marine Coastal Tourism using Lochaber, the UK's Outdoor Capital as a living research laboratory.[35]

From August 2013 UHI have benefited from allocation of student teacher places,[36] allowing postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) to be offered, and the success of this has led to the number of places being increased.[37]

The Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering has three subject networks;[23]

The Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering has research in Renewables, Marine Science, Digital Health, Sustainable Rural Development and Environmental Issues. A fully online honours degree programme is available across the UK from this faculty. The BSc (Hons) Sustainable Development[38] is an example of a multi-disciplinary programme from this Faculty. The programme has professional accreditation from the Institute of Economic Development.[39] The Faculty also offers postgraduate studies, including an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development.[40] This Masters programme also has professional accreditation from the Institute of Economic Development.[citation needed]

The Energy and Technology subject area offers a range of academic programs up to, and including Masters level (such as MSc Developing Low Carbon Communities and MSc Sustainable Energy Solutions), together with various subjects taught at HNC/HND level.

UHI has links with the new Centre for Health Sciences located behind Raigmore Hospital. This is being funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government and Johnson and Johnson. The University purchased the Centre for Health Science in Inverness from Highlands and Islands Enterprise in a £9.83m deal.[41] The building includes a research centre.[42] Phase I of this opened in early 2007, phase II and phase III were opened in 2009. The University of Stirling has moved its nursing and midwifery operations from Raigmore Hospital to the CfHS. A BSc Oral Health Science was set up in 2008, and was based on two campuses, the Centre for Health Sciences and Dumfries Dental Centre. In 2011 a third campus was added in Stornoway. In September 2016 the Nursing and Midwifery Council approved the transfer of the pre-registration nurse BSc nursing programmes in Inverness and Stornoway to be provided by UHI.[43]

In August 2015, Inverness College UHI, one of the main collaborators at the University of the Highlands and Islands, opened its doors at the Inverness Campus. The £50m 18,500 sqm facility offers services for further and higher education courses including Life Sciences education and research.[44]

The £6.5 million Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health is a Moray College UHI centre for excellence in digital health and Life Science for the North of Scotland and beyond, providing facilities for, and expertise in, digital health and life science research and education. The centre was officially opened by the Princess Royal in June 2014.[45] The University of the Highlands and Islands received a £9 million grant from the UK Government for this project.[46]

The new life sciences innovation centre is a collaborative project between NHS Highland, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The total size of the building is projected to be 2700m². The new innovation center aims to promote the development of the University for education and research. The new center will also collaborate with the proposed Elective Care Centre also planned for Inverness Campus.[47]

The Center for Health Science 2 is a collaborative project between NHS Highland, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and HIE. The total size of the building is projected to be 8,300m2. Occupying the greatest proportion of this will be a northern Scotland's £34 m elective care centre, headed by NHS Highland. This will have 28 hospital beds, four operating theatres, day case, and outpatient services due to opening in 2021.[48]

University of the Highlands and Islands has 13 individual colleges and each college/research centre has its own campus in different locations. As colleges offer different programmes, not all courses are available at every campus. Some campuses such as SAMS have tiny student populations all learning the same sort of course, and some campuses such as Inverness College have diverse disciplines. Some UHI colleges have student accommodation on their campuses and some of them do not. Argyll College does not have a single campus; staffed learning centers are located in Oban, Lochgilphead, Helensburgh, Campbeltown, Islay, Dunoon, Rothesay and Arran. Lews Castle College campus is set in 600 acres of parkland beside the principal harbour town of Stornoway. North Highland College UHI has four campuses spread throughout the north of Scotland. There are two campuses in Caithness; main campus in Thurso and one in Wick. NAFC Marine Centre UHI is located on the seafront in the historic village of Scalloway. Moray College UHI has its main campus in the ancient cathedral town of Elgin. The Elgin campus is home to Scotland's fifth art school and the only one located in a non-urban environment. West Highland College is located in Fort William. Orkney College UHI is principally based in Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands with a second campus in Stromness and learning centres based on the smaller islands. Perth College UHI is situated in the city of Perth on the southern edge of the Highlands of Scotland. The Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI (SAMS UHI) is located on Dunstaffnage bay on the west coast of Scotland, three miles from the seaside town of Oban. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI is situated close to the sea on the southern peninsula of Sleat on the Isle of Skye. Shetland College UHI is on the Shetland Islands to the north of the British mainland.[49]

The University of the Highlands and Islands conducts its research through a collaboration of twelve colleges and academic institutions. These institutions are defined as Academic Partners which can operate as an autonomous body. Due to the University's regional characteristic, academic partners can determine their own strategy and they are authorized to make their own investments and recruitment.[50]

The University operates across the region through partnerships with colleges and research institutions.[51]

In early 2018, the University awarded the Institute of Health Science and Innovation an Institution status in recognition of the scale and success of the pre-existing cluster of health research. The Institute includes representatives from around the UHI collaboration, but most of them are located at the Inverness Center for Health Science. Institute activities can be divided loosely into three major themes: Disease Management, Smarter Health, and Rural Health and Wellbeing.[52]

Opened 2000, The ERI is located in the town of Thurso. The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) is part of North Highland College UHI, which is one of 13 partners in the University of the Highlands and Islands. Its research is focused into three areas; Renewable Energy and Environment, Carbon Water and Climate, and Environmental Contamination and Ecological Health. The Centre for Energy and the Environment is affiliated with the ERI.[53]

The Agronomy Institute performs work on the production and promotion of new crops and plant products in the Scotland's highlands and islands. The Institute cooperates with growers, end-users and other research organisations.[54]

Based on the Orkney Mainland, the University of the Highlands and Islands Archeology Institute also has research and teaching staff in both Shetland and the Western Isles. Throughout Scotland, the Institute integrates teaching, scientific research, and applied industrial research and consultancy. The institute's commercial arm, ORCA, provides Northern Scotland archeological and conservation services-from archeological excavations and assessments to environmental consulting services, underwater archeological invasion.[55]

Founded in 2007, Institute for Northern Studies operates at Orkney, Shetland, and Perth Colleges UHI from three main locations. Research areas are Viking Studies, Medieval and modern history and culture of the Highlands and Islands, Links between Scotland and the Nordic world, The history and culture of the Scottish islands within the North Atlantic region, Highlands and Islands Literature, Island Studies, The languages and dialects of Orkney and Shetland, and Pictish studies.[56]

Language Sciences Institute seeks to revitalize minority languages. The LSI will expand on the work of the Soillse project, with a special emphasis on the traditional Gaelic speaking communities of Scotland.[57]

Founded in 2012, the Institute specializes in work on molecular genetics to help conserve and maintain all rivers and lochs biodiversity, including fish stocks. The researchers work with local communities, wetlands and fisheries managers, businesses and government agencies to provide scientific support for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of wetlands biodiversity.[58]

The university offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in the following academic areas;[59]

The university offers Masters by Research (MRes) degrees in the following academic areas;[60]

The university offers undergraduate degrees in the following academic areas;[61]

The university offers HNC / HND degrees in the following academic areas;[61]

The Highlands and Islands Students' Association (HISA) is based on Church Street in Inverness. They previously were based at the Executive Office on Ness Walk. HISA represents all higher and further education students across the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and its 13 partners. HISA hosts events including Sports Day, Freshers, Student Elections, HISA Awards and Regional Council. All university students aged over 16 are automatically a member of HISA. The Union supports more than 60 clubs and societies.[62]

8 campuses of The University of the Highlands and Islands offer dedicated accommodation with more than 600 rooms.[63]

The students' association, HISA offers sports clubs include; Badminton, basketball, boxing, climbing, football, golf, mountain biking, mountaineering, paddle sports, snow sports, sab-aqua, wind & wave, and more. The university awards program for Sporting Blues was launched in March 2017, and honors its students' sporting accomplishments. The Elite Athletes Fund supports athletes currently studying at the University or one of the affiliate colleges participating at national or international level in their chosen sport and representing the university/college where possible.[64]

A new sports complex to be situated within the Inverness campus with facilities targeted at both students and campus-based staff, but also available to the broader community in and around Inverness, is being planned. A wide variety of sports and activities will be offered at the centre.[65]