In fall 2018, Warwick University will become the first international university to open a new stand-alone college in the U.S. The British university hadn’t planned on this groundbreaking achievement. Rather, they were courted by Placer County and the City of Roseville to bring their program and expertise to the area.
Roseville City Council established a Higher Education Task Force in 2011 to expand educational opportunities in the area. When provided information about Warwick, the city and county welcomed the the school, based on its international reputation for academics and innovative partnerships with industry, says Megan MacPherson, director of public affairs and communications for the City of Roseville.
The University of Warwick in Coventry, United Kingdom, will eventually open two permanent campuses near Roseville. The first is a graduate school that will be completed in 2018, and ready to enroll students at the University of Warwick in California. The initial campus will be at an as-yet-to-be-determined location and will offer the same staff and programs that have propelled the 50-year-old institution to top rankings in the U.K. Warwick has received several top awards in math and science, including the Fields Medal from the International Congress of Mathematicians. The second location will be located west of Roseville’s city limits in an unincorporated area of Placer County, and will house undergraduates, and possibly a limited number of graduate cohorts, as well.
“The University of Warwick is the third fastest growing university in the world, with 25,000 students and we have been consistently ranked No. 6 in the U.K., overall, and No. 7 in research,” says Professor Sean Hand, dean of Warwick in California’s Graduate School, and a professor of modern languages and cultures. He was in Roseville in early September for a short visit. The university will employ a number of professors from the U.K., and Hand and his family will relocate to Placer County in the coming months.
Undergrad Campus to Hold 6,000 Students
Opening a new campus is a time-consuming process: performing due diligence, consulting with developers, complying with local and state regulations, and receiving formal accreditation. According to Bob Hogg, project director for Warwick in California, the institution recognizes the need to begin teaching as soon as possible. As such, they will begin with two cohorts in 2018, and break ground on the campus west of Roseville — an undergraduate facility — in 2019.
This campus will be located on over 1,100 acres donated by real estate developer, Angelo Tsakopoulos’s partnership, and will have an estimated 6,000 students. According to a study by Applied Economics, commissioned by the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, the campus’s overall impact will bring nearly $600 million to the area’s economy by 10 years of operation. This includes direct impacts of the university, plus indirect and induced impacts from vendor purchases and employee and student spending. The university could directly support 1,250 jobs and indirectly support over 2,000 additional jobs, as well as substantially boost sales and tax revenues, according to the report.
While the process of creating a university in California may be arduous, the dean welcomes the rigor. “Our university is founded on notions of excellence,” Hand says. “It’s in our interest for the regulatory authorities to be scrupulous. We wouldn’t want it any other way. This is the first time that a foreign-born university is opening in the U.S. We’re not a satellite campus, but a whole university. And this is fantastic for everyone at every level, that universities can become global entities.”
Close Collaborations With Business
Warwick works hand-in-hand with business and industry. Warwick Manufacturing Group, founded by Warwick professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980, was created to spur manufacturing in the U.K. by offering a competitive environment that focused on innovation, new technologies and bringing academic rigor to industry. “Warwick Manufacturing Group was part of the structure of the university, and we partnered with Jaguar, Land Rover and others,” Hand says. “We’ve always been known for innovation in enterprise, and this makes our graduates exciting to prospective employers. When Warwick began 50 years ago, a university working closely with business was unusual. Today, it’s what you want a university to do.
According to Hogg, Placer County needs a university. The Applied Economics report states that although employment in higher education has grown during the economic recovery, the Greater Sacramento region has not seen considerable growth in the sector, which is creating a challenge for economic development.
“There’s a shortage of highly-qualified universities in the area, and we want to try to keep bright young people from leaving the state,” Hogg says, referencing analysis that states metro areas with strong higher education infrastructure will attract and retain workers to support economic growth.
Hogg says that Warwick and will be complementary in research terms, to world-class universities like UC Davis. “We don’t see ourselves as competitors, but partners,” he says.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated the second Warwick campus would be located in Roseville. It will be located west of the city limits in an unincorporated area of Placer County.
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