Sir Paul's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts has been granted higher education status from the government.( See June 16, 2005) It is believed to be the first institute to win university status after having been set up from scratch. LIPA will be granting university degrees by 2008. Founding principal Mark Featherstone-Witty told reporters:
"This is great news. It is what we have been working towards. It's poetic it has happened in our 10th year. It means the city now has four higher education institutes - the three universities and us. It shows confidence in LIPA's ability to manage itself. We can now apply directly for Government schemes when before we had to approach JMU to do it on our behalf, which sometimes led to a conflict of interest. We have always had a very good relationship with JMU but this means no one has to compromise. It is the first time a brand new institution has achieved this. Student achievement always comes first, things like Sandi Thom getting to number one are bigger celebrations. But in terms of bureaucracy it will be much better."
Last year, LIPA started initial preparations to become independent from John Moores University, which now accredits its degrees. Since 1996, LIPA has offered undergraduate degrees in the performing arts, in acting, music, and dance, and nonperformance degrees, in management, sound technology and theater, technology and design. LIPA degrees will continue to be awarded through JMU until LIPA achieves full university status in 2008. According to a spokeswoman for JMU:
"For LIPA to achieve formal higher education institute status is a great achievement for them, LJMU and the city of Liverpool."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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