Swansea Met and Trinity Saint David formally merge

Students should not notice any difference at Swansea Metropolitan University despite it officially merging with another institution, the university's outgoing vice-chancellor has said.

Today, the university announced its legal merger with Trinity Saint David, University of Wales, a move recommended by Leighton Andrews, the Welsh education minister, and the country's funding council.

Mr Andrews has argued that Welsh universities need to be bigger so they are more financially robust.

David Warner, who until 8 October was the vice-chancellor of Swansea Metropolitan, said: "From a students' perspective they will hardly notice any difference at all."

Swansea Metropolitan will be known as "Swansea Metropolitan University of Wales Trinity Saint David".

The two universities' logos will stay the same, and students will continue to apply separately to the different campuses through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

"The Swansea Metropolitan brand...will be kept. We will trade as Swansea Met because we worked damned hard to establish our credentials," said Professor Warner, who is to become senior provost of the new institution.

Although the two universities are now joined legally, Swansea Metropolitan's higher education corporation will remain active until August 2013 while the merger is completed.

The governance and management of the institutions have already been merged, while back office functions, IT and the student database will be brought together during the coming year.

The University of Wales it also set to merge into the new institution after its activities have been "wound down", Professor Warner said.

Medwin Hughes, vice-chancellor of Trinity Saint David and the University of Wales, is the unified institution's new vice-chancellor.

"It will be one institution but we will celebrate different brands," he said.

The increased scale of the new university meant it would be more financially robust, he said. "It's clear [that there are] troubled waters for all institutions [ahead]," Professor Hughes said, adding that the merger created more "resilience".

He also said that the expertise of both universities could be used to develop new programmes for students.

Professor Warner stressed that efficiency savings were not a motivation. "Mergers don't produce significant amounts of money," he said.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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