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2026 Strategy


After 178 years of educating people from all walks of life, this is what we know: Humans have an incredible capacity to learn, to grow and to change. To make the possible happen.

The speed of change in the 21st century and the scale of innovation is remarkable. We live amidst the fourth Industrial Revolution. The students of today are the pioneers of tomorrow in a world we don’t yet fully understand.

And as an educational institution, preparing students for this uncertain future is our greatest responsibility, biggest challenge and most amazing opportunity.

We must engage actively with the themes and ideas shaping our world that resonate closely with our heritage, values and ambitions for the future. Three key themes have been identified, each reflecting the importance of human relationships, with each other and the world around us:


The fight for a fairer society has reached a new phase. Issues of equality, dignity and mutual respect that historically have been hidden or suppressed, are gradually surfacing to change the debate.

Demographic, economic and social trends are fostering more diverse communities and shifting the power relationships within them.

Yet at the same time, many people feel more polarised. Political differences appear more pronounced and poverty persists as one of the most pressing challenges we face.

York St John has always been proud to stand up for social justice. That commitment is as important today as it has ever been. In changing times, we can help people see the big picture, bring ideas together and celebrate each individual human contribution.


The fourth Industrial Revolution makes the relationship between people and technology increasingly blurred. Technology has stepped into many roles previously done by people. This trend will only accelerate. The skills of greatest value in the future workplace will be those contributed by humans that complement and enhance what technology offers.

This means that sharing and applying knowledge through social skills, complex problem solving, cognitive abilities and more will increasingly shape the success and influence of our graduates and staff.

As a university, we have a responsibility to foster these attributes – to harness what technology offers and supercharge it with human qualities.


We have never been so aware of our responsibility to our planet and the impact human choices have on our shared home.

The next generation inherits a legacy that has seen the earth as an industrial resource and the consequences as an issue for the future.

That future is now.

Each decision we take, the investment we make and innovation we pursue must recognise this wider environmental responsibility. Building on the positive initiatives we already have in place to protect our habitat and procure new business and buildings responsibly, we must set a positive example - shaping capacity to rise to the environmental challenges our planet increasingly faces.

Humans still have it in our gift to change our relationship with the natural world and find a more sustainable future – our expertise can inspire success.

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