Anchored in rich history, propelled by innovation and inspired by an increasingly globalised educational landscape, Northumbria University is quintessential of today's academic institutions aiming to breed, hone and equip tomorrow's leaders.
The university brings distinction, however, in pushing excellence through geographical and cultural barriers as it expands its presence from Newcastle to London and the Asia-Pacific region this year.
"Research-rich, business-focused and professional - this is the distinguishing Northumbria brand that we aim to grow along with our presence," says Andrew Wathey, vice-chancellor. "We want to be a new kind of excellent university - one that brings together outstanding academics, industrial sponsorship by key stakeholders and a one-of-a-kind student experience."
A highlight of this experience is finding the ideal employer or field of higher study that matches each student's skills and interests. About 92 per cent of Northumbria alumni find employment or pursue further study within six months of graduation. The university also ranks eighth among Britain's 130 universities and colleges with the highest percentage of graduates attaining professional employment, and fourth in terms of the highest number of graduates who successfully launch their own start-up enterprise.
"Northumbria attributes its impressive employability rate to focused, demanding programmes based on the requirements of top employers," Wathey says. "The best testament to this is the long list of alumni who have made a mark in their chosen fields, including Jonathan Ive, designer of the iMac and current senior vice-president of design at Apple."
Northumbria will begin offering its renowned professional, industry-based programmes at its London campus in September. The new location complements the university's City Campus at the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne and its Coach Lane Campus less than five kilometres away in the east of Newcastle. It is also set to replicate Northumbria's professional "sandwich" programmes, which allow students to work in relevant industries in their third year.
Beyond leveraging the British capital's exposure to various industries and businesses, the London campus is anticipated to enrich the university's research with greater access to national and international academic and scientific communities. It is also projected to attract more international students, particularly from Asia-Pacific.
"The university has strong ambitions to grow its international students to represent half of the student base by 2025," Wathey says. "Asia-Pacific is playing a key role in this growth, which is an important focal point for Northumbria."
The region's bullish economic outlook and flourishing education industry drive Northumbria to co-operate with a growing number
of institutions. Among notable Northumbria partners are the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Technology Sydney, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Wuhan University of Technology.
Northumbria also works with the Management Development Institute of Singapore, KDU University College, Malaysia, and South Korea's Kyungpook National University, whose corporate partners include global giants Samsung and LG.
Making history as the first British institution to extend degree programmes on a campus in Indonesia, Northumbria has reinforced its commitment to Asia-Pacific by opening BINUS-Northumbria School of Design in partnership with BINUS International. The school will allow aspiring Indonesian designers to acquire a competitive British degree in Jakarta, where the demand for creative professionals is steadily growing, especially in the country's thriving textile, garment and apparel industry.
The expansions in Indonesia and London are expected to boost significantly Northumbria's student population, which currently exceeds 35,000 - of whom more than 3,000 are international students completing their programmes in their countries through partner institutions.
"Realising a shared vision, such as empowering students to shape their own future in a research-rich, professional context, is a powerful motivation for forming further collaborations in Asia-Pacific and globally," Wathey says. "Whether it is in Newcastle, London, or in partner universities in Asia, we aim to reach more students and partners seeking the benefits of the Northumbria vision."