Word on the wire is UCE will announce it’s changing its name to Birmingham City University on Monday. And I’m struggling to think of a comment that’s insightful or even vaguely witty about it.


  1. Katie

    I reckon this name change could well kick off an interesting debate …

    Get it? Kick-off …?!

    (Please forgive the dad joke – it is Friday after all.)

  2. It will be refered to as Birmingham City Nil University. (and i speak as a bluenose)

    It’s a silly idea for promotion when it comes to search engine ranking and the like. Every search that isn’t in quotes on google will reveal University of Birmingham stuff, Council stuff, Blues stuff. It’ll cause more confusion that it solves I bet.

  3. I’m pretty sure there’s research to show (although I can’t be bothered to it track down) that university’s which have “vague” names are less attractive to students. “University of Central England” could be anywhere, while Birmingham City University is, clearly, in Birmingham.

  4. And they cite exactly that

    Research shows that universities that have the name of their location in their title are more easily recognised and remembered by potential applicants, increasing their ability to recruit able and committed students. It is equally important to graduates when they are seeking employment or promotion, as high recognition enhances the value of students’ awards. Birmingham has enjoyed a huge renaissance since the early 1990’s, transforming itself from a traditional manufacturing centre to a thriving cosmopolitan hub at the heart of a city-region. It makes sense, therefore, to feature the name of the city of Birmingham much more prominently in the University’s title.

    Turns out at the UCE’s full name was University of Central England in Birmingham. Who knew?

  5. As an alumnus I got sent a letter sometime over the Summer asking for my vote on 3 proposed names.

    The options were:

    Birmingham City University
    Birmingham Metropolitan University
    Birmingham [insert name of historical founding figure, possibly Chamberlain] University

    I’d have probably gone for Birmingham Met.

    The change is apparently tied in with difficulty in marketing themselves abroad: “UCE” not really being that informative and “The University of Central England in Birmingham” hardly rolling off the tongue.

    Can anyone confirm the rumour that Aston Uni and Birmingham Uni insisted that UCE had to be UCE in the first place, (allegedly) precisely because it was a bit of a kludge?

    Apparently I will be issued with a new degree certificate with the new university name on it. Which is nice.

  6. i also got to vote on the new name with the option of explaining my choice, & my suggestion was birmingham chamberlain uni *precisely* because of the possibility of wags making jokes about aston villa uni; also, to my mind both the ‘city’ & ‘metro’ options just reek of ‘former poly’ – at least ‘chamberlain’ is a genuinely unique option & actually means something for the city.

  7. Dave

    i would have gone for Bimringham Ozzy Osbourne University myself. Failing Ozzy, Pato Banton.

    what does the new logo look like most (at http://www.bcu.ac.uk)?

    a)The Premier League logo
    c)a pub sign

    answers on a postcard kids

  8. Can anyone confirm the rumour that Aston Uni and Birmingham Uni insisted that UCE had to be UCE in the first place, (allegedly) precisely because it was a bit of a kludge?

    That might have been me referring to the Southampton Polly / Uni situation on the BiNS Blog but I do wonder what Birmingham Edgbaston Uni (as it will have to be called) think of this.

    And as for the recent website redesign – my thoughts exactly. Here’s hoping it’s nice a modular and they can simply swap the new logo in.

    bcu.ac.uk seems to be offline right now.

  9. ‘fraid not Pete – I heard this from a member of staff at birmingham university at least 5 years ago!

    Don’t even get me started on Southampton Solent University…

  10. Speaking of modular approaches, apparently the BIAD building on the Gosta Green campus houses the generator for the Aston Uni building next door (or vice versa)!

  11. Stef, are you going to have to spend another half a day ranting about another UCE website ‘redesign’ on your blog? The mind boggles.

    I love the way the equally non-descript ‘BCU’ acronym has effortlessly replaced ‘UCE’

  12. @Nick – I don’t think so. It’s bad for your health. Apparently they don’t take kindly to people pointing out for free what a consultant would charge them several grand for. However, I notice a bunch of changes on their site… strange.

    @bounder – Ha. For a moment I thought you were going to suggest that Birmingham University would come out all guns blazing on the possible ‘passing off’ and rebrand themselves as Birmingham It’s Not City University in a nod to your fine work! :-)

  13. >I love the way the equally non-descript ‘BCU’ acronym has effortlessly replaced ‘UCE’

    That’s just it, the full name is too long to use and the individual parts are difficult to use alone without confusion. People in Brum will end up calling it City University (which despite the nice repeating ‘word’ isn’t going to help recognition).

    It’ll be interesting to see how it develops. I hope whoever is monitoring the change let’s us in on how it goes six-months down the line.

  14. Chamberlain already has fairly strong ties to UB/UoB (as they now appear to be known!) – he was the first Chancellor, and also has the main clock tower and a hall of residence named after him, as well as a large collection of original manuscripts and papers in the main library from all three Chamberlains.

    Hence UB might not have been best pleased with the creation of a Birmingham Chamberlain University.

    Birmingham Skinner University anyone?

  15. Donald

    Jez wrote:
    “I’m pretty sure there’s research to show (although I can’t be bothered to it track down) that university’s which have “vague” names are less attractive to students.”

    I remember it used to be known as The University of Central England in Birmingham. They obviously did want to let people know it was in Birmingham although it was a bit of a mouthful.

    Then it got changed to UCE Birmingham. Here’s a bit of inside info: They didn’t like this name because it didn’t include the word ‘University.’

    Suddenly, they renamed it to something that included the words ‘University’ and ‘Birmingham.’

  16. Back in 1992 they wanted to be Birmingham XXXX University but Birmingham and Aston would block it in the Privy Council (i was a student at the Poly at the time and was told this a lecturer) so they opted for the vague UCE name.

    To be honest i am surprised it got through now without opposition by Brum Uni (i hear that Tidmarsh got assurance beforehand there would not be any opposition before he submitted the name to the Privy Council) but times change.

    The UCE Birmingham rebrand was a mistake and gave us a name and logo that looked like we made computer consumables or something.

  17. I was all for Birmingham Osbourne University myself, and suggested it only half-jokingly. It has a nice ring. A colleague suggested Birmingham Polytechnic University, which tells it like it is at least. Hong Kong Polytechnic University seems to do pretty well, and the change is certainly targeted overseas.

  18. birmingham polytechnic university was actually one of the original options back in 1992, but was rejected on the grounds that they wanted to get away from the second class (as described by others – me, i’m proud of the fact that i enrolled at birmingham *school of music* at the *city of birmingham* polytechnic, not these jonny-come-lately imposters) image of former polys.

    if they were to follow the chinese model, would that mean the university based down in edgbaston & bournbrooke would become birmingham normal university ?

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