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City Centre campus with Students' Union on the right
|Leeds Metropolitan University
|Established||1992 – gained University Status
1824 – Leeds Mechanics Institute
|Endowment||£139 million |
|Chancellor||Sir Bob Murray CBE|
Leeds Beckett University (LBU, formerly Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Polytechnic) is a public university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, with campuses in the city centre and Headingley. The university’s origins can be traced to 1824, with the foundation of the Leeds Mechanics Institute. Leeds Polytechnic was formed in 1970, and was part of the Leeds Local Education Authority until it became an independent higher Education Corporation on 1 April 1989. In 1992, the institution gained university status. The current name was adopted in September 2014.
The university traces its roots to 1824 when the Leeds Mechanics Institute was founded. The institute later became the Leeds Institute of Science, Art and Literature and in 1927 was renamed Leeds College of Technology. In 1970, the college merged with Leeds College of Commerce (founded 1845), part of Leeds College of Art (f. 1846) and Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics (f. 1874), forming Leeds Polytechnic. In 1976, James Graham College and the City Of Leeds College of Education (f. 1907 as part of City of Leeds Training College) joined Leeds Polytechnic. In 1987, the Polytechnic became one of the founding members of the Northern Consortium.
After the Further and Higher Education Act came into effect in 1992, the Polytechnic became Leeds Metropolitan University, with the right to award its own degrees. In 1998, the university merged with Harrogate College, establishing the Harrogate campus until 2008 when the college left the university and merged with Hull College. In 2008 the university petitioned the Privy Council to be renamed "Leeds Carnegie University"; however, this was eventually dropped. In 2009 a partnership with the University of North Florida was established to begin a student and faculty exchange programme. The university also has an agreement with Bradford College by which it validates degrees for the college.
In 2013, it was announced that the Board of Governors had applied to the Privy Council to change the name to Leeds Beckett University, after one of the university's founding colleges, Beckett Park, which in turn was named after Ernest Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe. The proposed change resulted in a backlash among students. The Privy Council approved Leeds Metropolitan University's application to change its name to Leeds Beckett University in November 2013. The name change took place in September 2014. The former logos of Leeds Metropolitan University were retained after the name changed, being adapted to fit the new name. Despite the name change, the university is often referred to as "the Met" or "the Poly" by local people. The Carnegie name is less commonly used by the university now but is still retained for the sporting faculty.
This comprises a number of locations on the northern side of Leeds city centre, largely between the Inner Ring Road and the University of Leeds campus. In addition to the former Polytechnic site, several other buildings have recently been acquired. These include: Cloth Hall Court, in the legal district of the city; Old Broadcasting House, the former home of the BBC in Leeds; Electric Press, a building on Millennium Square; and Old School Board, the birthplace of school education in Leeds. The latest additions for the 2008/09 year were the Rose Bowl, the new home of the Leeds Business School, opposite the Civic Hall and designed to reflect the facade of the Civic Hall and the Broadcasting Place complex, including Broadcasting Tower, a new set of buildings which fits in with the red stone brick buildings famous in Leeds and which provides teaching space for the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology and the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, as well as student accommodation. Two buildings on the site have been disposed of since becoming a university, the Brunswick building was sold and in 2008 demolished; it is now the site of the Leeds Arena. A further tower block has been sold and is now a Premier Inn. The remaining largely 1960s buildings of the former polytechnic were reclad in the early 2010s.
A 100-acre (40-hectare) campus sited in Beckett Park, Headingley, the campus is connected to the city centre by Headingley railway station which is a short walk from the campus. Bus routes on Otley Road and Kirkstall Lane are also close by.
The main building was constructed in1912 as the Education Block for the City of Leeds Training College and is a Grade II Listed Building of red brick, gritstone ashlar dressings, slate and a lead roof. It is of classical Neo-Georgian style by G. W. Atkinson, the winner of an architectural competition. The main entrance is reached by a flight of stairs to a recessed portico framed by 4 Corinthian pillars and a pediment above, and the building as a whole was constructed around two internal quadrangles. However, these have now been filled in to create large lecture theatres. During the WW I and WW II it was used as a military hospital. It is now named after James Graham, Secretary of Education of the City of Leeds, who was a major instigator of the Training College, and greatly involved in the planning (some at his own expense) and supervision of the project. He also named all of the Halls, apart from Priestley, which was chosen by a committee.
The James Graham Building stands in front of a large lawn called the Acre. On the two sides are buildings of the same date and materials, which were originally halls of residence for the college students but are now teaching facilities. These are also Grade II Listed buildings. Bronte Hall was designed by G. W. Atkinson. The others were designed by the runners up in the architecture competition, using Bronte as a template but allowing individual touches. The 5 halls on the East were for women, the two halls on the West were for men (women being more numerous as teachers) .
This is a Grade II* listed building of ashlar gritstone with blue slate roofs and a lead-covered dome. The earliest portions date from 1752, but there were major alterations in about 1834 and 1858 by the Beckett family, who ultimately sold it and the surrounding estate to Leeds Corporation to build the college and make a public park. It was used by the college as a hall of residence for men, but the university converted it into offices and teaching spaces.
In 2006, the campus extended beyond the confines of Beckett Park to include the Carnegie Stand at the Headingley Stadium. This dual-purpose stand accommodates more than 4,500 spectators, and also provides teaching rooms and a hall. After bulldozing R.W.Rich Hall, a student hall of residence built in the 1960s, the Carnegie Village was opened in August 2009, providing on-campus accommodation for 479 students.
The university provides 4,500 bedrooms in a variety of locations and all first year undergraduates are guaranteed a place in university accommodation, so long as Leeds Beckett University is the student's first choice university.
Carnegie Village was newly built in September 2010 and provides Passivhaus standard townhouses and apartments at Headingley Campus. The largest hall is Kirkstall Brewery on Broad Lane which has places for over 1,000 students and is about 2 miles (3 kilometres) from the Headingley campus. As its name suggests, it is a former brewery property, but is mostly modern blocks. The second largest is Sugarwell Court, in Meanwood, which is about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from the City campus, and accommodates 388 students. This is also a converted industrial site.
Two of the most popular accommodation buildings are next to each other in Burley near The Leeds Studios and 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from City Campus. Formerly owned by Opal Property Group and now owned by Greystar, they are Marsden House (previously Opal 1) and Leeds Student Village (previously Opal 2).
Accommodation types not owned by the university vary. Across North Leeds there are many sites which are primarily low-rise buildings, often converted from a former industrial use. The growing number of sites around the city centre has led to the building of new highrise complexes, these include CLV Leeds (previously Opal 3), The Skyplaza and Broadcasting Tower.
Peter Slee joined the university as Vice Chancellor in September 2015, succeeding Susan Price, who had been in post since January 2010.
The current Deputy Vice Chancellors are Paul Smith (Strategic Development), Andrew Slade (Research & Enterprise) and Phil Cardew (Academic).
In November 2006, the university won the award for "outstanding contribution to the local community" at the annual higher education awards ceremony hosted by The Times Higher Education Supplement. It also came second in the main category, "the university of the Year", which was won by the University of Nottingham. In this category, the university was highly commended for its "low-charging, high impact" strategy.
In June 2007, the university was recognised for its environmentally friendly attitude by being ranked number one in the UK in the Green League 2007: a ranking of sustainability in the higher education sector, compiled by People & Planet.
In June 2013, Leeds Beckett University became only the third university in the UK to achieve the Customer Service Excellence standard, a Government benchmark awarded to public sector bodies who demonstrate a commitment to driving customer-focused change within their organisation.
In 2013, the University obtained the Gold Investors in People standard, one of only a handful of higher education institutions to do so.
In January 2015, Leeds Beckett University entered Stonewall’s nationally-recognised league table of gay-friendly employers at number 51 in the rankings.
In common with many institutions in the UK, and globally, the university maintains an open access repository that comprises an Open Access research archive and an OER repository: A store of Open Educational Resources produced at Leeds Beckett that are freely available for reuse under a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales) licence.
The university has established a number of sporting and cultural partnerships, both in the UK and overseas.
Simon Lee embarked on a controversial programme of partnerships with external bodies during his time as vice-chancellor, which were dubbed as "rubbing shoulders" after the university took a majority stake in the Leeds Tykes rugby club, renaming it Leeds Carnegie. It was subsequently revealed that the club signed Waisale Serevi after he had been paid for other work at the university. The university sold its stake in April 2009.
In April 2014, the Quality Assurance Agency confirmed the quality and standards of provision at Leeds Beckett University. In October 2009, the Quality Assurance Agency gave the university a "limited confidence" rating, due to concerns over maintenance of academic standards. In 2009 Simon Lee resigned following a series of controversies over the university's fees strategy, allegations of bullying and foreign travel for his wife paid for by the university. The chancellor, Brendan Foster, also resigned less than a month later. The controversies that led to these resignations formed part of the 29 July 2010 edition of the BBC Radio 4 documentary "Face the Facts".
Leeds Beckett University Students' Union operates out of offices at both the Headingley and City Campuses. Its live music venue has played host to bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, The Fratellis and We Are Scientists. The Union runs two bars, with one at each study site. A Student Advice service as well as being a source of volunteers working in the local community. A third Student Union bar at the Kirkstall Brewery halls of residence was closed and discontinued in 2012.
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