UEL prepares for fresh chapter with new vice chancellor
"If you were going to build a university you would want it to look like this, at this place and at this time," claimed a proud John Joughin, the new vice chancellor who will lead the University of East London (UEL) through the next chapter of its history.
The 55-year-old Shakespearean scholar was appointed as vice chancellor in July following a six-month period as acting vice chancellor.
Professor Joughin will now oversee UEL's trio of campuses in both Docklands and Stratford that cater for 28,000 learners, the bulk of whom live within a 10-mile radius of the sites.
And he said post-Olympics, with east London being thrust into the spotlight, it was an exciting time to be in the area and at UEL's helm.
"I think we are a major part of the social infrastructure of east London, and that's very important," he said, adding that the facility's new University Square campus in Stratford would also foster a new community from September.
"We like to work with stakeholders in the area, in partnership, to make sure we bring the best facilities here for prospective students.
"In all sorts of ways, east London is becoming a more attractive destination - there are more hotels, more things being built.
"We have got the cable car, we are close by, The O2 and Excel. We have also got the Olympic Park.
"Our campuses in Docklands and Stratford are exciting places of change and we hope to be involved in that."
And while the landscape may be changing, Professor Joughin said UEL's commitment to a "studentcentred" approach would remain the cornerstone of the establishment.
In a challenging time for education, with a number of universities in the capital striving to attract learners, he said it was key to get the balance right.
"Everything we do as a university should be for the students - that's something I am very committed to," said Professor Joughin.
"We need to do as much as we can to engage with and support students.
"The university is, in many ways, the students that it produces. We have got a great legacy as university being a place that changes people's lives.
"Although that sounds dramatic, it is something we are aspiring to do."
He added UEL's strong research credentials - it is placed in the top six modern universities in the country - would also play its part in making the university stand out.
Having been directly involved in its research strategy, he said attracting world-class scholars with excellent teaching skills underlined the academic credentials for students.
"We've got a mix of really modern facilities like SportsDock, really strong research with really great university professors and what is hopefully a student-centred experience," he said.
"We are focused on students getting the best experience over the three years of their degree and supporting them to get the right job at the end."
Go to uel.ac.uk.