- The best way to predict the future is to create it. Peter Drucker
Graduate from the University of the Highlands and Islands
project to create a University of the Highlands and Islands started in 1992. This led to the development of a higher education institution named the UHI Millennium Institute in 2001. The UHI Millennium Institute gained full university status in 2011, becoming the University of the Highlands and Islands.
The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university based in the Highlands and islands of Scotland. It provides access to undergraduate and postgraduate study and research opportunities through a partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions.
Each institution has its own character which contributes to this distinctive organisation. Some are relatively large colleges in the urban centres of the region such as Perth, Elgin and Inverness. Others are smaller institutions, including some whose primary focus is on research. All, however, have a student-centred culture and an individual approach to student learning. The university’s Chancellor is the HRH, The Princess Royal.
Several of the colleges are in spectacular locations. Lews Castle College UHI, in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, for example, is set in 600 acres of parkland. It has a harbour-side Lochmaddy campus in North Uist. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI is the only Gaelic-medium college in the world, set in breath taking scenery on the Isle of Skye, while the Highland Theological College UHI is in Dingwall.
West Highland College UHI does not even have a central campus, although its degree in adventure tourism management, is taught in Fort William, close to Ben Nevis. North Highland College UHI has opened a new equestrian centre in Caithness, six miles from the main campus in Thurso, with international-sized outdoor and indoor arenas.
Courses and teaching
There are now 7,500 students taking more than 100 undergraduate courses at 70 learning centres across the region. Many courses are available entirely online. Degree courses intended to lead to careers in renewable engineering, tourism and hospitality, health care, and children’s services were among the options for 2014. The University was the first higher education institution to publish a Gaelic language plan, promising students more opportunities to learn Gaelic, improve existing skills, or study for qualifications entirely through the language. There is now a growing community of students with Gaelic skills throughout the university network and there are plans to extend the course portfolio.
Environmental science produced the best results and made by far the largest submission in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, but there was some world-leading research in Celtic studies and archaeology. There are a dozen research centres specialising in everything from agronomy and marine science to Nordic studies, diabetes and rural childhood.