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University Praised for Innovative Progress

The University of Worcester provides a ‘hugely innovative’ environment for its students, and is destined for an ‘exciting future’ according to the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Alison Allden heads up the organisation, which acts as the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of Higher Education data – a resource which is used by universities and colleges, Government organisations and politicians and policy makers.

Ms Allden, who has been in the post for four years, visited the University last week, and met with Vice Chancellor David Green and Director of Information and Learning Services, Anne Hannaford.

She said: “Having had a look around the University, I’m so impressed by what I have seen - I think the University has been hugely innovative in its investment for students.

“The development of The Hive is absolutely fantastic and it is a wonderful building. I heard of the concept quite a few years ago, and now actually getting to visit for the first time, I saw a vibrant mix of ‘town and gown’ – a great way of getting the city and the University working together.”

The Hive – Britain’s first University and public library – recently celebrated its first birthday, with the unique venue having landed a host of awards since being opened by Her Majesty The Queen in July 2012.

These include three awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and Ms Allden admitted to being particularly struck by the building’s imaginative design.

“You see the gold roof and you think ‘this is a statement’, and that, for me, signals what an important development this is for the University and City of Worcester.

“I’m also hugely impressed by the work that must have had to be done to move the physical library, plus the services, into a new space, and refocus them. It clearly has resulted in a massive success.”

Ms Allden was also shown around the University’s other recent developments , including the Riverside building and the University Arena – the 2,000-seat sporting arena which is the first venue in the UK specifically designed to meet the needs of wheelchair athletes.

“That was very exciting,” she added. “ It is incredible to think that what once was a car showroom is now a fabulous working space for students (Riverside), and the University Arena is inspirational, and again, a triumph of innovative design.

“The way that the University has thought about these buildings as integral to its academic plans and the level of investment that has been made is very impressive.

“The University of Worcester is clearly one of high ambition, and in what is a very attractive historic city, has demonstrated a new and exciting future.”

Professor Green said: “We welcome many influential visitors representing leading national organisations to the University.

“We are delighted that, as the Chief Executive of the influential and internationally respected Higher Education Statistics Agency, Alison takes such a positive view of our work.”

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