The foundations of
“education with a purpose”

The University of Stirling’s story starts with a visionary who recognised that society was being transformed and it needed men and women skilled in navigating change.

Lord Robbins, our first Chancellor, was an economist who changed the face of higher education. He understood the importance of a skilled workforce to the future wealth and well-being of society. The Robbins Report widened access to higher education, and for almost 50 years the University of Stirling has been delivering the vision he first articulated.

Robbins valued learning. For him it was all about ‘education with a purpose’. And that phrase sums up what happens here. Our people – staff, students and graduates—take the skills and knowledge learned here to shape our society, our economy, and the environment. Our primary goal is preparing people to go out into this fast-moving world and transform it for the better.

The University is first and foremost a community of scholars. We exist to create new knowledge, deepen our understanding of it, and to share it at home and abroad. We have a global impact through our research, our international partnerships, and a growing international community of alumni providing leadership in countries, businesses and communities on every continent.

Our aim is to educate the whole person. Our students are not just taught, they are active participants in the learning process. Facts and information are readily accessible in a world increasingly dependent on technology. But the skills needed to understand, innovate and to create new knowledge have to be learned. And that is best done in a place that cherishes research-active academics with international reputations and connections.

In his report, Robbins was explicit about the importance of learning and teaching within an environment where research is prized. The University of Stirling is such a place, and our graduates understand the importance of innovation, creativity and enterprise.

Doing things differently

The University of Stirling has always had a reputation for doing things differently. Imbued with the radicalism that defined the 1960s, it has never accepted the status quo or been attracted to conformity. It embraces difference and it values independent minds. We know that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ education is not an education fit for purpose in today’s world.

At the University we help individuals identify and use their natural abilities; we create the space for them to discover their passions, and provide opportunities for them to fulfil their aspirations. We were among the first to embrace modular degrees, allowing students to choose the building blocks of their courses.

We believe everyone with ability should have the opportunity to access higher education, and we have been pioneers in providing different entry routes to our courses. Many of our students are the first in their families to go to university and many come through non-traditional routes—for example through our partnership with Forth Valley College.

As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, our students have access to some of the country’s finest coaches and mentors. The link between physical well-being and academic achievement is well known. The sporting opportunities we provide reinforce our commitment to health and well-being: developing leadership and team skills, mental and physical agility, and building resilience.

Alongside sport, the University has valued art, heritage and culture from its inception. Visitors to the campus are exposed to the best in Scottish and international art—and they have access to the best in cinema and the dramatic arts in the Macrobert Arts Centre.

A clear vision

What we do, we do with a purpose—and that purpose is to give people the skills they need to shape the future and make a positive impact on the world.

By delivering on our commitment to transform the lives of our students, and develop our staff, we fulfill a wider purpose. We make a direct contribution to the global communities we serve; we add to the economic and cultural capital of Scotland; and we make a difference to the lives of people around the world who benefit from our research and the skills of our graduates.

We have a clear vision. This Strategic Plan will guide our decision-making over the next five years—a period that includes our landmark 50th anniversary. It was developed as the result of one of the widest consultations in the University’s history and was shaped by the people who will deliver it. Our strategy reflects our sense of common purpose to lead the sector, and to deliver real benefits for people.

Find out more

We are ambitious. During the development of this strategy, our staff, students and stakeholders were clear that we must set our aims high. Our Strategic Plan 2016-2021, identifies a set of overarching institutional objectives that will help us focus on the practical steps needed to achieve our goals over the next five years.

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