UCL statement on Visitor report
7 May 2019
We are pleased that the Visitor has concluded his report. UCL accepts all the recommendations in full and is actively considering the best way to implement them.
We are pleased that he has found no breach of UCL’s constitution and that decisions reached by use of Chair’s actions met the relevant criteria and are valid.
Most of the issues raised by the petitioner and investigated by the Visitor had previously been considered by internal investigations or by our regulator, HEFCE, which also determined the complaints to be unfounded or mistaken.
UCL is committed to being as transparent as it can be in all financial and governance issues relating to its activity. While the report concludes that there has been no infringement of UCL’s constitution, it does make some recommendations for improving some of the structures of governance, both for Council and for the Academic Board.
From the outset, UCL has co-operated fully with the investigation which was conducted by Mr Charles Bourne QC on behalf of Sir Terence. We are pleased that the Visitor sees no shift from educational to fiscal priorities at UCL and no case to widen the investigation. We consider the matter now closed and will move on together to improve channels of communication with all parts of our academic community.
Determined to stay world leading: Response to media coverage
UCL has expanded in recent years – mainly due to significant mergers with the Institute of Education and School of Pharmacy. However, there is no evidence whatsoever of declining academic standards at UCL. To the contrary.
UCL is currently 6th in the world by ranked mean average and was rated the top university in the UK for research power in the most recent Research Excellence Framework. The entry tariff of our students continues to rise and applications to study at UCL are soaring. Our tally of academic and research staff now stands at nearly 6,500 – the highest it has ever been. UCL’s staff student ratio is the second best in Britain at 10.4:1.
Our new campus at UCL East will bring together seven faculties to generate radical and innovative research and teaching programmes from robotics, artificial intelligence and media, to innovative finance, global health leadership, advanced propulsion and sustainable cities. These programmes are led and designed by our academics.
To ensure that we maintain our high academic and teaching standards, we are continuing to invest in our research, facilities and people. We are able to do this because UCL is in a strong financial position with a sustainable operating surplus. Our borrowing compared to other UK universities is modest, while we have seen an impressive growth in UCL’s research income and fundraising.
Our strength lies in our multi-disciplinary excellence, numerous external collaborations and our global and diverse community of staff and students. With a university of UCL’s size and success, it is inevitable that not everyone will support the direction of travel. We will continue to consult with all members of our community, including some who take a different view of our successful trajectory.
And we will continue to make the case for our strategy which will ensure UCL stays at the top of the global league tables for decades to come and continues to pioneer discoveries and develop innovations to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the world today.