Swansea University has launched a new five-year strategy outlining its ambitions and aspirations to continue its work of ensuring a prominent place for the Welsh language within the institution and the local community.
Over a period of 18 months, talks and workshops have been held with staff, students and stakeholders, culminating in a plan that has been embraced across the institution and that promotes working in partnership in the community and nationally in the interests of the Welsh language.
This strategy, Stepping Forward – Swansea University's Welsh Language and Culture Strategy 2022-27, aligns with the University's Strategic Vision and Purpose, which was published in 2020, and is a means of further building on the University's commitment to widening the range of opportunities for students to study through the medium of Welsh and to engage with the Welsh language.
Welsh has been at the heart of the University's work and provision since its inception in 1920. Following the establishment of Academi Hywel Teifi in 2010 and the successful collaboration that has developed with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, there has been a national transformation in the Welsh-medium education that is available to students and in Swansea the provision is broad and richer than ever.
With the introduction of the Welsh Language Standards regulations at the University in 2018, a further increase was facilitated in the institution's front-line Welsh-language services, and the work of Learn Welsh – Swansea Bay Region has provided access to the language for new speakers on campus and in the community alike.
Therefore, this strategy and the Welsh language have a sound foundation at Swansea University, and the aim during the next five years is to further build on those foundations to ensure ongoing progress, and enable the University to confidently take its place amongst those universities in Wales that welcome, celebrate and promote the Welsh language and Welsh identity.
In order to fulfil its ambitions for the Welsh language at Swansea University, this strategy focuses on four key pillars.
- The culture of Swansea University, ensuring that the University is home to a welcoming and flourishing community of multilingual and multicultural students and staff.
- The learner experience, nurturing a supportive environment that helps all Welsh language learners to progress, no matter what their level of proficiency.
- Embedding Welsh across the University, enabling the institution to comply with and surpass the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards regulations.
- Supporting the University's research and civic mission, recognising the value of the Welsh language to our research and innovation activities, and its impact on our civic mission.
A comprehensive Action Plan accompanies the strategy with a commitment by departments across the entire institution to realise the objectives to celebrate and promote the Welsh language and ensure that it is seen and heard in every aspect of life at the University.
Professor Elwen Evans QC, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Welsh Language and Culture said: “This strategy shows that Swansea University is stepping forward confidently to the next stage in our history, building on the enormous growth that has been experienced not only in our Welsh-medium education provision but also in highlighting the Welsh identity of our community. We are a university with its roots in Wales and a university for Wales, and we celebrate our Welsh heritage and culture in an inclusive and welcoming manner.
“This strategy acknowledges the reality of twenty-first century Wales with its two official languages and multicultural and multi-ethnic society. It strives to ensure that all who visit or live, study or work in Wales are able to experience all that this unique nation offers through their time at Swansea University. This strategy will ensure that the Welsh language, culture and heritage remain integral to those formative experiences for all our students and that our Welsh speakers benefit fully from studying at a university with valuable multicultural and international links.”