Historic Day for WRF Member Highland Theological College (Dingwall, Scotland)

February 4, 2011

Historic day for Highland Theological College UHI as University of the Highlands and Islands becomes Scotland’s newest university


2 February was a historic day for Highland Theological College UHI as UHI Millennium Institute became the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).  Following confirmation from the Privy Council, the milestone will be marked by celebrations at UHI locations throughout the Highlands and Islands and a flag bearing the new UHI logo will be hoisted at campuses across the network.  The achievement of university title by UHI is the realisation of a long-time ambition for the region to have its own university to support economic development and to help sustain rural and island communities. 

Highland Theological College UHI was founded in 1994 by a group of ministers and businessmen who had the vision that a theological college would be part of the proposed university.  Amongst that group were the Reverend Andrew McGowan (HTC’s first principal), the Reverend Hector Morrison (who became Principal of HTC after Rev. McGowan returned to parish ministry (East Church in Inverness) in January 2009) and the Reverend Alexander Murray, former APC minister and member of Highland Regional Council and current Chairman of the Board of Governors.

HTC grew up at the same time as the UHI Project so has been part of UHI since its start.  HTC’s staff have been heavily involved in the development of curriculum and also academic quality assurance and standards in UHI over the years and have contributed significantly to the success of UHI and its progress towards today’s landmark event.  One of the smallest colleges in the UHI network, HTC has one of the highest proportions of research activity in UHI and its staff and students are frequently invited to speak at international conferences.  The reputation of HTC has drawn students from all over the world, putting Dingwall clearly on the world map.  Gaining University title will only enhance further the standing HTC has and will attract more students to the Highlands.

Hector Morrison, Principal, said: “This is a historic event and the culmination of years of work by many people.  It is a very exciting time for the whole Highlands and Islands area and we are privileged to be part of it.  For generations people have hoped for a University in the Highlands and Islands.  It is finally here and it will bring great opportunities for the area – educational, economic, socio-cultural, etc.  It is a momentous day and one that we will enjoy telling future generations about!  We have sought God’s guidance in all that is done at HTC since the college started in 1994 and we thank Him for bringing us to where we are today.”

One of our students’ has commented, “Today is an exciting and historic day for the Highlands and Islands.  Prospective students are no longer forced to leave the region if they want to go to university - they now have a choice.  HTC has been providing degree level and postgraduate education for many years.  It’s wonderful news that we now have full university status.  I’m privileged to be a student here, especially at this special time.”

UHI comprises thirteen colleges, specialist institutions and research centres spread across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland; an area twice the size of Wales.  It uses information technologies to link together students and staff to bring access to higher education to dispersed communities.  HTC is one of UHI’s specialist colleges and delivers theology programmes, although it also hosts students who study programmes offered by other colleges across the UHI network.  Approximately 160 theology students are enrolled at HTC across all the levels from Access right up to PhD.  Many of HTC’s students study by open learning.  There are about 40 students on-campus with several more regularly video-conferencing in to classes from the other UHI colleges.  HTC’s Learning Centre also offers community-based courses, for example computing, for people who are retraining, updating their skills or returning to work.

HTC’s students are all ages from school-leavers up to retired people, both male and female.  Some are studying with a view to working in various forms of ministry, others just out of interest in the subject.  HTC is non-denominational but is recognised as a place of training for parish ministry for Church of Scotland and other denominations.  Students are drawn from a wide variety of denominations and come from all over the world to study at HTC.  The current cohort includes students from the USA, Japan, New Zealand and Belarus.  HTC’s graduates are involved in parish ministry, youth work, mission work, teaching and many other forms of Christian work all over the world.

Highland Theological College UHI: A Community of Faith and Scholarship

For further infoirmatyion, contact:

Marina MacKenzie

Development Officer

Highland Theological College UHI

High Street


Scotland IV15 9HA


T: +44 (0) 1349 780223

W: www.htc.uhi.ac.uk

E: Marina.MacKenzie@htc.uhi.ac.uk

Highland Theological College UHI is a constituent college of the University of the Highlands and Islands