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Life Changers

Our Ambition

A world leading contemporary University that is distinctive in supporting learning at all stages in life.

Our product offer will include degree apprenticeships, part time, blended and distance learning, flipped classroom models and career accelerators.

Our Objectives

Our students will come from all walks of life and backgrounds, including mature learners, widening participation and minority groups; as we act as an agent of social change and opportunity.

Our work on raising aspirations and educational achievement will be profound.

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Our future journey

Our drive to offer those with talent, regardless of background, the opportunity to enter higher education has been profound, and has so far led to life-changing experiences for close to 50,000 graduates.

We are acknowledged as having been the UK leader in widening access to higher education for the past 25 years. Our commitment in this area has led us to the top of the Government’s performance indicators. Throughout this period we have been highlighted by Government, by the higher education sector and by other relevant organisations, as an exemplar of best practice. Numerous accolades and awards have been received in recognition of this life-changing strategy.

Our excellent, inspiring work in this area will remain a key focus within the new Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021.

We will continue to raise aspirations for people from all walks of life, and during all stages of life. We will extend our commitment to attract and support harder to reach people, not just in the UK, but across the world.

We will ensure that students, such as looked after young people, mature learners and minority groups, receive the support and opportunities that will allow them to develop personally and gain the confidence and drive to make a significant contribution to society. We will not only prepare our students for the world of work we will prepare them to be able to compete in the world at large, dealing with the challenges it brings and the opportunities it offers.

We will open up new networks and connections for these students and offer personal support and guidance throughout their learning journey, empowering them to seize their opportunities as we act as an agent of social change. We will work with our partners, our supporters and our alumni to achieve these aims.

Our product offer will develop in support of these aims. It will reflect the nature of our diverse global student body, which includes students from differing cultures and backgrounds and who join us at different stages in life. We will satisfy these varying needs by developing programmes which are more diverse and flexible.

We will develop degree apprenticeships that allow greater choice for students in line with the needs of business and industry. We will enhance our part-time provision to offer relevant and attractive career accelerators. We will ensure blended and distance learning, as well as flipped classroom models, are available across our academic offer.

Our offer will be distinctive, allowing students to become lifelong partners in the institution, able to access career accelerators and updated learning and practice throughout their lifetime.

Our journey to date

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of students studying at Sunderland over the past 15 years have been from low participation neighbourhoods


Multi award-winners for raising aspirations.


Highest percentage of ethnic minorities intake in the North East



students in Sunderland, London and at institutions around the world.


No. 1

in the UK for widening access to Higher Education* (Polar 1)


50,000 widening participation graduates and growing...

Our Strategic Plan 2016- 2021 will allow those with talent, regardless of their background or time of life, the opportunity to change their lives and make a difference in society.

They will join the thousands of graduates who have left Sunderland and who are now leading in business and industry, are driving improvements in health and wellbeing, expanding the richness of our arts and culture and who are teaching and inspiring our next generations.

The University’s work in raising aspirations is already profound. The new Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021 will develop this exemplary work further, ensuring it develops and adapts to meet the changing global environment. This will allow us to achieve our ambition over the next five years to be acknowledged as:

A world leading contemporary University that is distinctive in supporting learning at all stages of life.

Million +, Chief Executive

"The University of Sunderland’s Strategic Plan has all the foundations it needs to be successful. It is inspirational and aspirational, and I have no doubt it will achieve its ambitions, as bold as they are. This Plan will further enhance its already outstanding work on social mobility."

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive, MillionPlus

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Life Changers


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