University seeks community ambassadors
The University of the Highlands and Islands, the UK’s leading tertiary education institution incorporating both further and higher education, is seeking new volunteers for its community stakeholder group, the Foundation. Foundation exists to provide an essential connection between the university and its region.
“Foundation has up to 120 volunteer representatives,” explained university rector, Anton Edwards, who chairs the group. “Our collective role is to act as custodian of the university mission - to promote the prospects of our region, its economy, its people and its communities.
“But, associated with that formal role, we also act as ambassadors and provide an important link to and from university partnership across our region.”
Foundation meets twice a year either in person or by video conference to hear and comment on university progress. Members are also closely associated with one of the 13 partner colleges and research institutions that make up the university. As public knowledge of the University of the Highlands and Islands grows, the Foundation is seen as a valuable way of highlighting the roles of these partners.
“For our university to act as a force for economic, social and cultural change across the Highlands and Islands, we need representatives from business, public and third sector partners as well as our communities,” explained the rector.
“We’re looking for new members who want to learn about, participate in and influence the activities of the university. We want to strengthen and enhance our representation locally by involving members in their most relevant college or research institution. We welcome a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds with the experience and knowledge to help us act as effective stakeholders in the university venture.”
Anyone interested in joining or finding out more should go to the university website www.uhi.ac.uk/foundation
Foundation member case studies
Catherine Handley - alumni member
“I have been an alumni member of the University of the Highlands and Islands Foundation for many years. The university offered me the opportunity to gain a degree, something which I feel would not have been possible without its online course and the excellent support I received throughout my studies. Being a mature student with three young children, it was necessary for me to be able to study at home, online.
“As a Foundation member I have been able to continue my involvement with the university and I feel that I am able to give something back. Being part of Foundation has been an enriching experience. Foundation members attend approximately two to three meetings per year and are made up of a wide variety of individuals from diverse backgrounds.”
Professor Stuart Gibb, director of the Environmental Research Institute at North Highland College UHI and Professor of environmental sciences at the University of the Highlands and Islands - staff member
“There is risk in working in any complex organisation of becoming inward looking. So, for the University of the Highlands and Islands to be the university ‘of’ and ‘for’ the region, and to reach out to the rest of the world through its research and teaching, external perspective and support is fundamentally important.
“Foundation brings this to the university. In the words of our national Bard, Robert Burns, it helps us “To see oursels as ithers see us.” Involvement with Foundation allows me to gain that perspective from a membership with extensive and diverse background and experience and to work with these ‘critical friends’ towards a common vision of a dynamic 21st century university which benefits the people, communities and economies of the region.”