The life changing University of Sunderland has 20,000 students based in campuses on the North East coast, in London and Hong Kong and at its global partnerships with learning institutions in 15 countries. We are proud of our long-established commitment to widening participation, our world-leading research, public and private sector collaborations and our track-record for providing quality student experiences that result in graduates who are the tomorrow-makers of our societies and economies. We are proud to be shortlisted as University of the Year for 2021, the leading category in the annual THE – Times Higher Education – awards. Our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion was reinforced recently when we were named University of the Year for Social Inclusion (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021) and our We Care programme picked up the Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Progression) Award at the 2020 NEON awards. In March 2018, we were successful in our bid to open a new School of Medicine. With a track-record of excellence in medical education spanning almost 100 years, the University is now well-placed to address the chronic shortage of doctors in the North East.Sunderland has been an important centre for education since 674AD, when Benedict Biscop built St Peter’s Church and monastery. Among its early students was a seven-year-old boy who became known to history as The Venerable Bede, a renowned scholar and teacher. The river bank surrounding the ancient church of St Peter's is now the setting for our award-winning Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's. Here we take a look back at some of the key developments of the 20th and 21st century which have helped create the modern University of Sunderland.Our modern roots lie in Sunderland Technical College, which opened at the Galen Building in Green Terrace in 1901. The local Taxation and Customs and Excise Act of 1890 paved the way for the new College, which was paid for from so-called 'whiskey money' at a cost of £27,800. As a dynamic new College, Sunderland was the first in England to introduce the 'sandwich course', which enabled engineering apprentices to gain higher qualifications whilst working. By 1908, 25 engineering firms were involved in the scheme. The concept of educational progression, familiar nowadays, was already in place by 1910, when evening classes were re-structured to allow specialist study after two preliminary years. In 1921-22 the College introduced departments of Naval Architecture and Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Department began as a single bench in the Chemistry Department, but soon grew to become the largest in the country. This was thanks to the vision of Miss Hope CM Winch, a remarkable scientist and pioneer of the Pharmacy Department. In 1922, students moved into Langham Tower in Ryhope Road, bought by the College for £8,000. At the same time the College became 'women only' and remained that way until 1959. Under its last principal, Mr H Armstrong James, the Teacher Training College reached its zenith with 820 students and 80 staff.Sunderland has been an important centre for education since 674 AD, when Benedict Biscop built St Peter's Church and monastery. St Peter's Church was the site of the greatest scriptorium north of the Alps. The oldest existing Latin version of the Bible – the Codex Amiatinus – was written at St Peter's Church. This area has been developed as the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's of the University of Sunderland. The University's £9m state-of-the-art Media Centre, launched in 2004, is near St Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth. The university's modern roots can be traced back to 1901, when Sunderland Technical College was established as a municipal training college. It was the first to offer sandwich courses. It began with four departments: Chemistry, Mechanical & Civil Engineering, Physics & Electrical Engineering and Commerce & Languages. Part-time lecturers taught other subjects, ranging from Latin to navigation. 671 students enrolled in the first year; it was more than three times the number expected. The College's longest-serving Principal, the physicist VA Mundella was appointed in 1908 and served until his retirement in 1932.During the Second World War, Sunderland ran special courses for the armed forces and the Ministry of Labour. In the 1960s, a PDP-8 hybrid computer was installed at the Chester Road site. There was also an Elliot Brothers 803B digital computer. A new complex of buildings, including a new Students' union and Hall of Residence facilities, on nearby Chester Road was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1964.Equality, Diversity and InclusionSunderland was recently named University of the Year for Social Inclusion (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).Inclusivity is a value at the heart of the University strategy, expressing our commitment to Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility (EDISR).EDISR is intrinsic to everything we do as a University and to every aspect of our student and staff experience, including who we attract to study and work here, their experiences and opportunities to achieve and the impact they have in the future.The University believes that everybody should be treated with equality and dignity and it is our civic duty to have practices that add value beyond compliance with equality legislation.Sunderland Polytechnic was established on 26 January 1969, incorporating the Technical College, the School of Art (which was also established in 1901) and the Sunderland Teacher Training College (established in 1908). Sunderland was among the first of 30 Polytechnics, like polytechnics or technological universities in other countries their aim was to teach both purely academic and professional vocational subjects. Their focus was applied education for work and their roots concentrated on engineering and applied science, they also created departments concerned with the humanities.After the passage of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the polytechnic gained university status. Lord Puttnam became the university's first Chancellor in 1998. The Sunderland Empire Theatre was the regular venue for the graduation ceremonies, although they have been hosted at the Stadium of Light since 2004. In July 2007, he stepped down to become the Chancellor of the Open University. On 23 May 2008 the University announced that former Olympic athlete Steve Cram had been appointed as Chancellor and would be officially installed at a ceremony on 27 June 2008. Singer and songwriter, Emeli Sandé was officially installed as the University of Sunderland's new Chancellor on 10 July 2019 during the university's summer Academic Awards. In 2018, it was announced that Sunderland was to host one of five new medical schools established under a UK government initiative to increase the number of training places for doctors. The medical school opened in September 2019. On 24 September 2018, Sir David Bell became Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland.
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Watch the videos to learn about the student life-cycle and the teaching environment at the University.
Graduation is a special milestone for every student – but for 59-year-old University of Sunderland graduate Mitch Stevenson it’s nothing short of a miracle.Read more →
Aged just 18, Ines Rebelo Fonseca left her home country in Portugal to study at the University of Sunderland in 2019 and became one of the first students to join a brand-new Physiotherapy course.Read more →
The University of Sunderland’s graduation celebrations will be happening in-person this DecemberRead more →
A Sunderland graduate whose digital strategy helped thousands of Defra staff stay connected during lockdown has been shortlisted as one of the UK’s Top 10 Young Digital Leaders of the Year.Read more →
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