Queen's University is investing £15m in a new state-of-the-art management school.
Work commenced on the site of Riddel Hall at Stranmillis Road last month with the first occupants due to move into the flagship building in July 2011.
As well as the sizeable investment, the expansion of the management school will also create 15 new academic posts. Three of those posts were advertised last week while interviews are ongoing for another three.
Queen’s University Management School (QUMS), which is rated as one of the top 20 management schools in the UK, will provide a new postgraduate education centre to provide high quality learning facilities for students and a new leadership institute that will focus on executive education.
Professor Richard Harrison, director of the school, said: “This will provide a unique dedicated graduate school facility in the setting of an iconic building that will significantly enhance the ability of QUMS to attract top quality students from Northern Ireland, and by offering both top rated facilities and relevant market-attuned degree programmes attract back to Northern Ireland students who have pursued their degree programmes elsewhere.
“The new Leadership Institute will support senior managers and emerging leaders in all sectors of the Northern Ireland economy develop the knowledge and skills they need |for personal and organisational |development.”
Enniskillen-based Tracey Brothers have been awarded the contract for the School of Management and Executive Education Centre while Belfast-based Hamilton Architects have been appointed to oversee its design.
Tim Harkin from Hamilton Architects said: “We are delighted to have designed this facility for the Queen’s University Management School.
“The Belfast and Derry based practice relished the opportunity to bring new life to the prestigious listed building and to solve the complex extension requirements.”
Business and management education at Queen’s has been expanding over the past decade.
As a result of significant growth in student numbers and in academic and support staff over the past five years in particular, the school has outgrown its current premises.
“The move to the Riddel Hall site will provide both an expanded facility to house the growing management school and world class facilities for postgraduate education and for executive education that will significantly contribute to the development of the regional economy,” said Professor Harrison.
In 2008 95% of research carried out by QUMS was assessed as world-leading, internationally excellent and recognised and the development of a world class management school is central to the university’s ambition to become a Global 100 institution.
Professor Harrison explained: “As the 2009 Entrepreneurial University of the Year, QUMS shares in the university commitment and tradition of effective knowledge generation through innovative world leading research and knowledge transfer and exploitation through effective teaching, and education programmes and research commercialisation and academic entrepreneurship.”
Today it boasts a staff of 100 and 1,300 students on a range of undergraduate, taught postgraduate and postgraduate research degrees, making QUMS one of the biggest schools in the university in terms of student numbers.
Professor Harrison said: “DEL (Department for Employment and Learning) has estimated that there will be a shortfall of up to 10,000 graduates in Northern Ireland relative to the needs of the economy — the developments associated with Riddel Hall are designed to make a major contribution to this need and to ensure that QUMS continues to make a significant contribution to the development of industry, commerce and the professions here and more widely afield.”
When completed, the new Queen’s management school will provide teaching, syndicate and post-graduate rooms, academic offices and facilities for executive dining.
The new build teaching facilities will comprise single and two storey blocks which will accommodate teaching facilities, lecture theatres and computer rooms.
The new school of management will provide academic and administration offices in the part three and part four storey building.
Professor Harrison said: “For Northern Ireland to become a strong, growing competitive economy it requires access to world class management knowledge and the ability to transform that knowledge into effective policy and managerial practice. With the investment now underway, QUMS is now well established on a path to be that world class resource.”
Denise Falls, business development manager, added: “The development of the Leadership Institute and the new executive education facilities at Riddel Hall provides a major opportunity for the provision of an expanded suite of executive education programmes using world class faculty drawn from the management school and its network of adjunct faculty.
“By developing programmes that address critical issues of leadership and leadership development and explore the relationships with personal development and organisational performance QUMS is making a major contribution to strengthening key sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, including the small business sector, the public and voluntary sectors |and strategic business areas such as financial services.”