The University of Nottingham already has a reputation as an international university, perhaps as a result of having six campuses worldwide (with four in the UK, one in Malaysia and one in China). This figure could now be on the rise after the University announced that it is entering talks with the government in Shanghai to develop a second campus in China, around 140 miles from where the current Ningbo campus is situated. It is possible that, providing the decision is finalised, the University will open the campus in 2012.
The new proposals centre on the financially successful city of Shanghai – a city whose need for education is increasing exponentially. The purpose of building a new campus is to provide “the opportunity to offer different subjects to a new group of students” by offering courses based on life sciences. Ningbo cannot provide these courses simply because there is no more space for development there; the university does not wish to ruin the natural aesthetics by building on the parkland setting that the campus currently enjoys. It was the government of Shanghai, in fact, who approached the University first. If the University had turned down this opportunity, there may well have been another internationally acclaimed university developing there, which would almost certainly compete with Ningbo. As it is, Nottingham University asserts that it is against its interests to provide any courses Ningbo already provides.
Professor Christine Ennew, Pro Vice Chancellor, argues that this will have a very positive effect on UK students. There will be opportunities for exchange in new subjects (since Shanghai will offer all-new courses), as well as new international programmes for “shared learning”. Some students based in Nottingham may have concerns over the increase in young graduates in China earning themselves University of Nottingham degrees; how desirable is each individual University of Nottingham graduate if collectively the numbers are increasing? In terms of ‘employability’, Professor Ennew believes the contrary – rather than detracting from the appeal of a Nottingham graduate, a Shanghai campus will attract better teachers and therefore build upon Nottingham’s reputation, by “enhancing the international dimension to our teaching”.