Leeds Beckett University (LBU), formerly known as Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) and before that as Leeds Polytechnic, is a public university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It has campuses in the city centre and Headingley. The university’s origins can be traced to 1824, with the foundation of the Leeds Mechanics Institute. Leeds Polytechnic was formed in 1970, and was part of the Leeds Local Education Authority until it became an independent Higher Education Corporation on 1 April 1989. In 1992, the institution gained university status. The current name was adopted in September 2014.
The annual income of the institution for 2016–17 was £221.4 million of which £3.4 million was from grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £217.1 million.
Leeds Beckett, is a modern professional university with ambition. Based in the vibrant city of Leeds, the biggest financial district outside of London,their vision is to be acknowledged for their commitment to student success, innovation and enterprise, global reach, and strong local impact.
Their aspiration is to help create great graduates, exceptional employees, dynamic citizens and enterprising leaders and they work closely with employers and partners to ensure that their graduates are ready for work, ready for life, and ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
A big business in their own right, they have around 2,900 staff and more than 28,000 students from almost 100 countries around the world; they contributed an estimated £500 million to the economy every year.
With a 190-year history of education, which began with the founding of the Leeds Mechanics Institute in 1824, they are proud of their history and excited about their future. Their institutional Strategic Planning Framework 2016-2021 was approved by their Board of Governors on 6th May 2016. Our Education Strategy 2016-2021 was approved by the University’s Academic Board in July 2016 to support the University’s strategy in the provision of an excellent education and experience for all their students.
During 2016 their University entered a new chapter under the leadership of Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor, and the development of their new Strategic Planning Framework 2016-2021 incorporating a new Vision, Mission and Values. The framework does three things:
Their values, which are the principles that guide the way we do things, are that they should be:
The university traces its roots to 1824 when the Leeds Mechanics Institute was founded. The institute later became the Leeds Institute of Science, Art and Literature and in 1927 was renamed Leeds College of Technology. In 1970, the college merged with Leeds College of Commerce (founded 1845), part of Leeds College of Art (f. 1846) and Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics (f. 1874), forming Leeds Polytechnic. In 1976, James Graham College and the City Of Leeds College of Education (f. 1907 as part of City of Leeds Training College) joined Leeds Polytechnic. In 1987, the Polytechnic became one of the founding members of the Northern Consortium.
After the Further and Higher Education Act came into effect in 1992, the Polytechnic became Leeds Metropolitan University, with the right to award its own degrees. In 1998, the university merged with Harrogate College, establishing the Harrogate campus until 2008 when the college left the university and merged with Hull College. In 2008 the university petitioned the Privy Council to be renamed "Leeds Carnegie University"; however, this was eventually dropped. In 2009 a partnership with the University of North Florida was established to begin a student and faculty exchange programme. The university also has an agreement with Bradford College by which it validates degrees for the college.
In 2013, it was announced that the Board of Governors had applied to the Privy Council to change the name to Leeds Beckett University, after one of the university's founding colleges, Beckett Park, which in turn was named after Ernest Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe. The proposed change resulted in a backlash among students. The Privy Council approved Leeds Metropolitan University's application to change its name to Leeds Beckett University in November 2013. The name change took place in September 2014. The former logos of Leeds Metropolitan University were retained after the name changed, being adapted to fit the new name. Despite the name change, the university is often referred to as "the Met" or "the Poly" by local people. The Carnegie name is less commonly used by the university now but is still retained for the sporting faculty.
This comprises a number of locations on the northern side of Leeds city centre, largely between the Inner Ring Road and the University of Leeds campus. In addition to the former Polytechnic site, several other buildings have recently been acquired. These include: Cloth Hall Court, in the legal district of the city; Old Broadcasting House, the former home of the BBC in Leeds; Electric Press, a building on Millennium Square; and Old School Board, the birthplace of school education in Leeds. The latest additions for the 2008/09 year were the Rose Bowl, the new home of the Leeds Business School, opposite the Civic Hall and designed to reflect the facade of the Civic Hall and the Broadcasting Place complex, including Broadcasting Tower, a new set of buildings which fits in with the red stone brick buildings famous in Leeds and which provides teaching space for the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology and the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, as well as student accommodation. Two buildings on the site have been disposed of since becoming a university, the Brunswick building was sold and in 2008 demolished; it is now the site of the Leeds Arena. A further tower block has been sold and is now a Premier Inn. The remaining largely 1960s buildings of the former polytechnic were reclad in the early 2010s.
New high-rise student accommodation has been built around the City Campus and includes Opal Tower and the Sky Plaza. These are now the tallest buildings in the Northern half of the city centre.
In November 2006, the university won the award for "outstanding contribution to the local community" at the annual higher education awards ceremony hosted by The Times Higher Education Supplement. It also came second in the main category, "the university of the Year", which was won by the University of Nottingham. In this category, the university was highly commended for its "low-charging, high impact" strategy.
In June 2007, the university was recognised for its environmentally friendly attitude by being ranked number one in the UK in the Green League 2007: a ranking of sustainability in the higher education sector, compiled by People & Planet.
In June 2013, Leeds Beckett University became only the third university in the UK to achieve the Customer Service Excellence standard, a Government benchmark awarded to public sector bodies who demonstrate a commitment to driving customer-focused change within their organisation.
In 2013, the University obtained the Gold Investors in People standard, one of only a handful of higher education institutions to do so.
In January 2015, Leeds Beckett University entered Stonewall’s nationally recognised league table of gay-friendly employers at number 51 in the rankings.