Teesside University History

Teesside University logo

Teesside University History

Teesside University. Teesside University is a public university with its main campus in Middlesbrough, Teesside in North East England. It has 18,576 students, according to the 2015/16 HESA student record.

History and development

Teesside University’s Students’ Union

A shortage of funding long proved a barrier to developing the Middlesbrough-based Mechanics’ Institute of 1844. With the required funding, the College’s launch could have come as early as 1914. Even after the donation of £40,000 to build the college from local shipping magnate Joseph Constantine in 1916, progress was slow. A Governing Council took place in 1922, followed by a doubling of the original financial offer by the Constantine family in 1924. For the task of constructing the first technical college building, Graham R. Dawbarn (a London architect also responsible for additions to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge) was appointed on 29 March 1926. Building work began in 1927, culminating in the beginning of enrolment and teaching on 16 September 1929.

Constantine Technical College was formally opened on 2 July 1930 by the future King Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales. Although not yet a university, Constantine was a further and higher education college from the onset. Students at Constantine could be as young as 15. Degree courses, published in the College’s prospectus were validated by the University of London. Disciplines included metallurgy, engineering and chemistry. Five rooms were also reserved for an art department, until cramped accommodation forced the School of Art to split from its parent site for the 1950s.

 Teesside University’s Phoenix Building

The 1960s were years of sweeping change – as well as political sting – for the still comparatively fledgling College. By the end of the decade the first two “Teesside University” campaigns had begun: the first, from the early 1960s to 1966, and the second, from 1967 to 1972. Spates of enthusiasm were killed off on each occasion by the scepticism of then-Minister of Education, Anthony Crosland, and Margaret Thatcher’s defining White Paper, respectively. The latter effectively shelved plans for the erection of any new institution in the United Kingdom, until the 1980s at least.

On campus, one of the most visible major developments for the College was an extension in 1963 which featured an 11-storey “skyscraper” . The College also acquired the neighbouring former High School of 1877. The College briefly restyled itself as Constantine College of Technology, before becoming Teesside Polytechnic (Britain’s 13th Polytechnic) in 1969. At that point, the institution ran seventeen degree courses.

A merger with Teesside College of Education took place in the 1970s along with the purchase of Flatts Lane. The Clarendon Building was added in 1973, as was the Stephenson Building in 1976. Both of these buildings remained in use for the Polytechnic’s long-awaited conversion into a university. That happened on 16 June 1992, when Teesside Polytechnic became the University of Teesside, one of the UK’s first new universities following that year’s Further and Higher Education Act.

Victoria Building

By the 1990s, the institution had almost 8,000 students. In 1997 the old Polytechnic’s library was replaced with a Learning Resource Centre. Subsequent additions included the Virtual Reality Centre and Centre for Enterprise, and later, the Phoenix and Athena Buildings. Today, historic structures such as the old High School (the Waterhouse building), the Constantine building and Victoria Building of 1891 (a schoolyard-equipped Victorian school, housing a series of graduate business incubator units), are all Grade II listed buildings.

In 2009, the University of Teesside changed its name to “Teesside University”. It also changed its logo and adopted the motto “Inspiring success” as part of a £20,000 rebrand. Alternative names included “Middlesbrough University” and “Tees Valley University”.

On 15 October 2009, Teesside was named University of the Year and awarded Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative in the Times Higher Education Awards.

In 2010, the £17m Centuria South building for dental training and sports therapy was opened. This continues to provide specialist facilities.

A major phase of development known as campus heart began in 2014. This £22m landmark development created a central focus to the Middlesbrough campus. It also brought the iconic building, The Curve, a new £20m teaching building. As part of this £280m investment period, a “living wall” was created around a giant plasma screen on the side of the University’s Student Centre.

In September 2017, the University unveiled a £300m campus masterplan set to transform its campus across the following decade.

The University was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize (2014–18) for outstanding work in the field of enterprise and business engagement. In 2017 Teesside University was named as the top North-East university for graduates securing professional and managerial level jobs (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015-16).

In 2017, Teesside University was awarded a Silver rating in the government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework.

Recently, several professors at Teesside University in the UK have been told they must reapply for their positions over the summer or face redundancy. The university says the purpose of this is to bring all university professors under the same job title by creating a new position, rather than to save costs. Higher education policy watchers warned that this decision is part of a trend of casualising university employees.