Glasgow College of Technology was established in 1971 in Glasgow, Scotland, as a result of the merger of two proposed colleges of higher education, the College of Science & Technology and the College of Commerce. In 1987 , the Governing Body agreed to change the name of the College to Glasgow College, mainly for advertising purposes, although for legal purposes the name remained Glasgow College of Technology. Several attempts were made to designate the College a polytechnic. It was proposed in 1971 and 1979 but it was not until 1 January 1991 that it became Glasgow Polytechnic. The new Polytechnic was officially launched on 1 May 1991.
Following the Government’s White Paper "Higher Education: A New Framework" in May 1991 the new institution saw its opportunity to become a University and to award its own degrees. Discussions were entered into with The Queen’s College, Glasgow, with regard to a merger and the intention to merge was announced on 4 December 1991. In June 1992, Glasgow Polytechnic was granted full degree awarding powers and on 1 April 1993 it finally merged with The Queen’s College, Glasgow, to form Glasgow Caledonian University.
The institution’s premises were located on Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow in a purpose built complex, which in 2002 formed the main campus of Glasgow Caledonian University.
The original aim of Glasgow Polytechnic was to develop a higher level of academic training and to offer degrees validated by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA).
In 1971 there were twelve departments. On the technological side were Optics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Biology, Computing, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. On the non-technological side were Business Administration, Law and Public Administration, Commerce, Management and Finance, Social Sciences and Humanities. The first CNAA degree to be offered was in optics. Other courses on offer were diplomas and certificates validated by the Scottish Technical Education Council (SCOTEC) or the Scottish Business Education Council (SBEC). The Social Sciences and Humanities Departments both provided teaching towards London University degrees.
The second CNAA degree was introduced in 1973, a BA in Social Sciences, and this was followed, in 1977, by a degree in nursing. A Department of Nursing Studies was established in 1980 and there was a clear commitment to development in this area.
In 1981 three faculties were established: Business and Administration Studies, Life and Social Sciences, and Science and Engineering. This decade also saw a move to improve the standard of engineering education. By the early 1980s there was a CNAA validated BSc in Engineering and soon approval was given for a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng). Development of offering joint courses with neighbouring further education establishments continued. In 1985, the full time courses on offer included fourteen degrees, twelve higher diplomas and higher national diplomas. There were seven other diplomas and professional courses such as those in nursing, over fifty part time courses, two of which were degrees-BSc in Mechanical Engineering and the BA in Social Sciences. In June 1992, Glasgow Polytechnic was granted full degree awarding powers.
The Glasgow College of Technology was initially under the control of Glasgow Corporation. The Board of Governors was responsible for the allocation of resources and the Academic Board, chaired by the College’s director, dealt with academic planning, implementation of quality control and academic affairs. In 1975, control of the College was transferred from Glasgow Corporation to the newly formed Strathclyde Regional Council. In 1985, the College became a Scottish Central Institution.
Thompson, W. and McCallum, C., Glasgow Caledonian University: Its Origins and Evolution (East Linton: Tuckwell Press: 1998)
Miller, E. , Century of Change 1875-1975: One Hundred Years of training Home Economics Students in Glasgow (Glasgow: The Queen’s College: c1975)