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New Vice-Chancellor’s ‘student experience’ pledge

03 September 2012

Cardiff University’s new Vice-Chancellor and President has pledged to improve the student experience and maintain Cardiff’s position as one of the ‘University of choice’ for UK employers.

Professor Colin Riordan – who joins the University as Vice-Chancellor and President from the University of Essex - has pledged to put improving the student experience at the heart of the University’s new strategy and priorities.

"I want to start work immediately on refreshing the University strategy and priorities," insisted Professor Riordan, on taking up his new post.

"Among key areas of emphasis – like research excellence and internationalisation – I see improving the student experience as a key priority for me as the new Vice-Chancellor."

Professor Riordan is keen to highlight work already completed – working alongside the Cardiff Students' Union - on the development of the University’s Student Charter and the development of the ‘Cardiff offer’ and ‘Cardiff Award’.

The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University and the Students' Union as part of their Cardiff Experience. The Student Charter focuses on what students can expect from the University and the Students' Union in areas including: their course, IT, finances and housing amongst others.

Professor Riordan said: "The Cardiff Experience relies on a successful partnership between the University, the Students' Union and our students. Our students study in a successful, vibrant, multicultural and diverse University, set in the capital city of Wales.

"There is a strong sense of community that is characterised by the balance we achieve between our educational, social, cultural and sporting experiences. The Cardiff community creates an environment where expectations can be met and ambitions realised."

Work to maintain the University’s reputation for student employability is also a key priority identified.

Some 94% of students are currently employed or in further study within six months of graduating with further work underway to take this a step further.

In addition, Professor Riordan points to recent investments. The University’s Student Union is set to unveil its first ‘Employability hub’. A new dedicated centre to help improve the standing of students CVs, and increase their chances of getting the jobs they want following graduation.

Professor Riordan added: "All students develop many marketable work-related skills and attributes through their degree schemes and through participation in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. But one thing is quite clear in today’s employment market: any degree, from any university, is no longer enough to guarantee employment at graduate level. Increasingly recruiters are not just looking for intellectual capacity as evidenced by a degree, but also, more importantly, practical experience of work and a range of other skills.

"Cardiff University will help meet this challenging time for graduate recruitment by developing the Cardiff offer. By 2015 every one of our students will have had the opportunity to gain work or other related experience. We will be working with businesses, locally and further afield, to create sufficient opportunities for our students to gain this experience.

"We have also developed the Cardiff Award, enabling students to recognise the value of their extracurricular activities in developing key employability skills."

Professor Riordan is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. He moved to Essex in 2007 from Newcastle University, where he had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences since August 2005.

Professor Riordan has published widely on post-war German literature and culture, including editing books on the writers Jurek Becker, Uwe Johnson and Peter Schneider. Other research interests include the history of environmental ideas in German culture.

He has extensive experience of teaching and improving the student experience. In 2009 he chaired the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s enquiry into teaching quality.

He has taught at a number of universities including Swansea University (1986-94) and Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany (1982-84). He was Dean of Postgraduate studies and Head of the School of Modern Languages at the University of Newcastle.



Further information, please contact:

Chris Jones

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20 874731


Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.