A-Z OF UNIVERSITIES; Glasgow Caledonian

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Age: Four as a university.

How many lives? Many and various. Formed in 1993 out of a marriage between Glasgow Poly and Queen's College, Glasgow. The latter traces its origins back to 1875 and the formation of the Glasgow School of Cookery. Glasgow Poly came out of Glasgow College of Technology.

Address: Three campuses: City, Southbrae and Park.

Ambience: City campus, built in 1971, is in the thick of Glaswegian hustle. It borders the city centre and is surrounded by bright lights, theatres, shops, restaurants and art galleries. Park campus, beside Kelvingrove Park, is an old Victorian building and more bucolic. Southbrae is a building in Jordanhill College, leafy and quiet too.

Vital statistics: A former poly, its strengths lie in business, health, science and technology. It boasts that its health offerings are the most comprehensive in the UK. A huge building programme - pounds 38m worth - has meant a new financial services centre and 400-bed accommodation. The refectory has been upgraded and extended, many lecture halls refurbished, plus there's a new students' union bar and disco, now thought to be the best 550-capacity venue in Glasgow. Currently, the library is being improved with fully networked computer facilities and multimedia stations for up to 178 students.

Added value: Has flexible credit accumulation and transfer on the American model, which means enhanced opportunities for adult learners. Students can accumulate credit at one institution and use that credit to qualify for other programmes at the same or other institutions. Formal links with further education colleges which can take students from modular National Certificate up to degree and honours degree level.

Transport links: Good access to train and bus stations and international airport.

Who's the boss? Acting principal Bill Laurie following unexpected early retirement last month of Professor Stan Mason, famous for being Scotland's highest-paid principal and earning pounds 123,000 a year. Mason stood down when the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council announced a further investigation into university management. Mason is the third head of the university in a row to leave suddenly.

Teaching rating: Scored highly satisfactory in finance and accounting, social work, sociology and mass communications in the 1995-96 quality assessment.

Easy to get into? Good grades in highers needed for communication and media studies ABBB (BCC at A-level); engineering BBC/BCCC (CD or DDE at A-level); optometry BBBBC (BBC at A level).

Glittering alumni: Pat Nevin, footballer, Chelsea and Scotland; Philip Differ, creator of the BBC's Only an Excuse series; and Louise White, BBC presenter.

Research: Came 82nd out of 101 universities in the research assessment exercise, tied with Leeds Met and Thames Valley. Strengths in nursing, biological sciences, built environment, business and management studies, psychology, applied mathematics and communication, culture and media studies.

Financial health: Was running a deficit of pounds 805,000 in 1995 according to Noble's Higher Education Financial Yearbook. Last year had an operating surplus of pounds 1,478,000 and assets of pounds 48.3m.

Nightlife: Students frequent two bars, the Asylum and the Bedsit. Asylum on City campus has been recently redesigned by Graven Images, responsible for many of Glasgow's stylish bars. Bedsit, its rival on Park campus, is described as a lively happening bar.

Cheap to live in? Student accommodation ranges from pounds 35 to pounds 60 a week.

Buzzword: Bawz (Chief or top dog)

Next week: Glasgow University