The University of Wales, Bangor (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru, Bangor) is a constituent institution of the University of Wales based in the city of Bangor in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales, United Kingdom. The university occupies a substantial proportion of the city and also has some departments in Wrexham. One of the university's key selling-points is its location between Snowdonia and the island of Anglesey. The university continues to undergo a scheme of 'voluntary' staff cuts in order to remain financially viable.
UWB has been known at various times as the University College of North Wales (UCNW, in Welsh Coleg Prifysgol Gogledd Cymru) and University College, Bangor (UCB, Coleg y Brifysgol, Bangor) – not to be confused with the University College of Bangor (UCB), which is a campus of the University of Maine at Augusta. It is often referred to as Bangor University ("Prifysgol Bangor"), and from September 2007 this is the name it will assume.
The university was founded as the University College of North Wales in October 1884 as the result of a campaign for better HE provision in Wales, and was incorporated by charter a year later, in 1885.
The university was originally based in an old coaching inn called the Penrhyn Arms (which housed its 58 students and 12 teaching staff), but in 1911 it moved to a much larger new building which is now the old part of the Main Arts Building (M) (see image below). This building was designed by Henry Hare and opened by King Edward VII.
Its students received degrees from the University of London until 1893 when UWB became a founding constituent institution of the federal University of Wales.
In 1898, the red-bricked Rathbone Accommodation Halls were built. They are named after Lady Rathbone, one of the early patrons of the University.
In 1967, UWB was the venue for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's lectures in Transcendental Meditation, at which The Beatles learnt of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.
In 1996, Coleg Normal was merged with the university, which now has over 9000 students, as well as a franchise cooperation with Athens Metropolitan College located in Athens, Greece.
The Principals (now Vice Chancellors)
The university has had a total of 6 principals/vice chancellors and they are as follows:
- Harry Reichel - Principal 1884-1927
- David Emrys Evans - Principal 1927-1958
- Sir Charles Evans - Principal 1958-1984
- Eric Sunderland - Principal (vice chancellor) 1984-1995
- Professor Roy Evans - Vice chancellor 1995-2004
- Professor Merfyn Jones
The University of Wales, Bangor has a long tradition of academic excellence which continues to this day. Over half of the academic departments at Bangor received an 'Excellent' rating for the quality of teaching, and the University's performance in the latest Research Assessment Exercise confirms their status as a world-class research institution. This is further highlighted by their recent success in doubling the number of research contracts won, bringing Bangor's research contract income to £20M.
As of 2007 following a reshuffle in August 2006, the University of Wales, Bangor is broken down into 6 colleges. These are then broken down into schools and research institutes.
College of Arts and Humanities: School of Engish. School of Welsh. School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology. School of Linguistics and English Language. School of Modern Languages. School of Music. School of Theology and Religious Studies. NIECI (National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries) ELCOS (English Language Centre for Overseas Students) WISCA (Welsh Institute for Social and Cultural Affairs)
College of Business, Social Sciences and Law: Bangor Business School. School of Law. School of Social Sciences.
College of Education and Lifelong Learning: School of Education. School of Lifelong Learning.
College of Natural Sciences: School of the Environment and Natural Resources. School of Biological Sciences. School of Ocean Sciences. Welsh Institute of Natural Resources.
College of Health and Behavioural Sciences: School of Healthcare Sciences. School of Psychology. School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences. Institute of Medical and Social Care Research.
College of Physical and Applied Sciences: School of Chemistry. School of Computer Science. School of Electronic Engineering.
[Halls of residence
A recent application for a 48-room hall has been rejected by Gwynedd County Council.
Accommodation is guaranteed for all single, undergraduate first year students at Bangor. There are over 2,000 rooms available in halls of residence, and all of the accommodation is within easy walking distance of the University, and includes some 800 en-suite study rooms.
The main types of accommodation are: Catered Accommodation, Self-Catered Accommodation, En-suite Accommodation and Shared Facilities Accommodation.
There are 4 residential sites:
Normal Site - situated on the shores of the Menai Strait next to the School of Education and School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences and the closest residences to the School of Ocean Sciences in Menai Bridge.
St. Mary's Site - Originally a Convent St Mary's Site has had a long and interesting past. Before 1976 it was not part of the university but was then incorporated into the university. Originally it was a college for women teachers. Since then, the site has been expanded and at one point even accommodated nearly 2000 students. Although in recent years the site has been falling into a state of disrepair (Barlows block was finally closed around 2003 due to asbestos issues) the Main block now accommodates over fifty students and there is accommodation for several families also on site. In 1997, Bryn Eithin was built and added an extra 96 rooms to the site. Situated just a few metres further up the hill, it is made up of three blocks and has fantastic views over the whole of Bangor and Snowdonia. Bryn Eithin, although managed by the university halls team, is in fact owned by a housing association and is leased to the university until 2027. Bryn Eithin is reliant on St. Mary's site for its services. Post and laundrette services are all located on the site just over the road. However, St. Mary's site is for sale and is due to be closed in the near future. Plans for Bryn Eithin when that does happen have not yet been released but it is believed that they will become either postgraduate accommodation or family accommodation. St. Mary's site is situated at the top of Lon Pobty, overlooking the centre of Bangor, and very close to the Science Departments and School of Informatics. St. Mary's is also ideally situated for Bangor High Street's shops and nightlife.
College Road Site - located a stone's throw from the original Top College building in Upper Bangor, and departments such as Psychology, Music and the School of Business and Regional Development. This site also has two accommodation halls - the Welsh speaking John Morris Jones, and the English speaking Rathbone halls. Neuadd John Morris Jones started it's life in 1974 and has, along with its equivalent Neuadd Pantycelyn in Aberystwyth, became a hub of Welsh identity and Nationalism. It is also the main focal point of Welsh language activities of the University and is an integral part of UMCB, which is the Welsh Student Union, part of the main Student Union body. The hall itself is affectionately known as 'JMJ' to all its current students and alumni. John Morris Jones was named after the first professor of Welsh at the University.
Ffriddoedd Site - the largest accommodation site is in Upper Bangor about 10 minutes walk from Top College, the Science Site and city centre. This site includes a coffee shop, laundrette, bar and 6 en-suite buildings (Bryn Dinas, Cefn y Coed, Elidir, Y Borth, Tegfan, Glyder) all constructed in the mid 1990s. It also houses the Maes Glas sports hall, open to the community and students which received national lottery grant funding.
Neuadd Reichel opened in 1942 and was named after Sir Harry Rudolf Reichel, first principal of the university. A large extension was completed in 1950.
Plas Gwyn opened early 1960s. and Neuadd Emrys Evans opened 1966. along with Llys Tryfan and the halls office are due to be demolished this summer to make way for new Halls to be built in the summer holidays of 2007.
New University halls are due to be constructed on the Ffriddeodd site in two phases. Phase One began in October 2006, and when completed will be two new buildings constructed on what used to be the playing fields. Phase Two will see the demolition of the derelict 1960s structures, and further new builds erected in their place. Residents' main objections regard the height of the structures following the previous building project in the mid 1990s which included Bryn Dinas, a 7 storey building which can be seen from several miles in all directions.
Private halls of residence
A private hall of residence called 'Neuadd Willis' (named after a well liked and respected architect) has been built (2006), encorporating the old listed British Hotel with a new build extension to the rear. This project is run by Watkin Jones (a local building firm) and Carlton North Wales Ltd and is not a University owned or managed hall. Local residents have mixed feelings about such developments, some feel it will ease pressure on the housing stock in the city, whilst others fear that it will create too much of a concentration of students in a given area.
Carlton North Wales and Watkin Jones is currently in the middle of building another Halls of Residence. This was to be on the site of the old cinema. Plans for this build incorparated a main office from which both sites could be run. However, after the company demolished the cinema, planning permission was suddenly revoked because of the recent changes to the town centre road system. A new site was selected near Orme Road. This is due to open in September 2007.
The Students' Union is currently situated under main arts and is in some need of renovation. The Union's day to day operations are run by the SU exec of which five are full time paid positions.
Policy of the Union is decided by a council which is made up of 15 independent councillors, heads of standing committees, course reps, and JCR Heads. Council meets roughly once a month and takes reports from standing committees, decides policy and decides changes to the constitution.
The University is one of only three Universities in the UK to have a permenant FM license and a radio station run entirely by students. Storm FM broadcasts on the 87.7 fm frequency to the Ffriddoedd site halls and has recently been relocated to the Students Union building where its studio is. The audio is then sent via the university IT network to the transmitter site. The project was masterminded by former manager and assistant manager Spencer George and Tom Giddings who were made Life members of the Students Union for their work. It is probably one of the most sophisticated student radio stations in the country with a DSP extra Audio Processor and Canford Audio BCX Playout software. The Studio is currently broadcasting with only minor technical hitches caused by "drop outs" in the university network. The station is looking at purchasing some dedicated Audio-ethernet (audio over IP) converters to reduce down time (estimated at 1%)