Almost two-thirds of Teesside’s research submitted to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) was classed as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). The proportion of four-star world-leading work almost doubled compared with the university’s REF 2014 submission. The upswell in research excellence has boosted Teesside 16 places up our research index.
Teesside’s campus masterplan, which has already turned £275 million investment into new developments, continues. A £13.1 million Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre is under way, tasked with increasing clean energy and sustainability when complete — thus delivering on the carbon neutral ambitions of the northeast region and UK more widely, while creating “hundreds” (the university tells us) of clean energy jobs.
A £15 million Digital Life Building is next in Teesside’s sights, with plans already in place that will enhance facilities for the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies. The university is also spending £30 million on installing the latest in science laboratories.
The university’s Future Facing Learning model was in place pre-pandemic and helped to earn Teesside the status of Adobe Creative Campus (the first to be designated in Europe) giving students and staff access to Adobe Creative Cloud apps. It has since been recognised as an Apple Distinguished School, for its innovative learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic achievement. Addressing digital poverty during the pandemic, the university increased the range of equipment available to students through its Advance Scheme to include mobile data.
Job-specific and vocational degree programmes help to keep Teesside’s graduate employment rates within the upper third of UK universities. Teesside was offering 32 higher and degree apprenticeships, at the last count, with more than 1,750 student apprentices enrolled on programmes in fields including engineering, forensic science and midwifery. Ten more options are joining the portfolio of courses over the coming two years. Broadening the curriculum further, a School of Law is being introduced by the university, which is working with partners to provide fresh opportunities for law students.
Our previous edition’s University of the Year for Social Inclusion, in honour of the outstanding role it plays in making higher education an option for teenagers in a region with the lowest participation rate in England, Teesside continues to succeed in our social inclusion index, placing third overall and with the highest proportion of students (31.1 per cent) drawn from deprived areas. The university also succeeds in recruiting the sixth-highest proportion (10 per cent) of white working-class boys – the most underrepresented group in higher education and its numbers from nonselective state schools (99 per cent) are the highest in the country.
A high dropout rate is often the price to pay for such diversity in the student body, but Teesside’s students are strongly supported in their studies from the outset, so the dropout rate is almost on track with the expected level.
Foundation years are offered as a route into university for students who have grades significantly below the minimum tariff, while university outreach work in schools and colleges aims to raise aspirations and dispel myths about higher education. Levelling up is assisted by the Teesside University Advance scheme, which provides all students beginning a full-time undergraduate degree with a new iPad and separate keyboard, and up to £300 of credits to buy learning resources.
A strong culture of partnership with students was acclaimed by the Teaching Excellence Framework, which awarded Teesside silver. Assessors were also impressed by innovative and well-resourced support for developing employability. Our analysis of the latest Graduate Outcomes figures positions Teesside on the cusp of the top 40 in the UK for its proportion of students in high-skilled jobs or further study 15 months after completing their course.
Teesside has a programme of more than 200 internships each year and industry mentor schemes are a feature of initiatives such as Advantage Tees Valley, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to get graduate-level jobs locally. The start-up centre Launchpad, which helps fledge entrepreneurs and businesses, includes games studios, business units and hot-desk space.
Sports facilities are available on and off campus. The Olympia sports complex on campus incorporates a sports hall with capacity for 500 spectators, a climbing wall and gym. The Saltersgill Pavilion, two miles away, has four rugby union pitches, and the university is a stakeholder in the River Tees Watersports Centre offering waterskiing, rowing, kayaking, white water rafting and canoeing around the Tees barrage, four miles from campus.
The £21 million Cornell Quarter for student residences has opened its doors, housing 300 students in the 2021-22 academic year and increasing the university’s accommodation stock by nearly a third to about 1,300 places — an important step towards broadening Teesside’s appeal beyond the local region it serves so well.