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Strategy 2026 Refresh


Our strategy must adapt and respond to continue empowering our graduates, our staff and the wider community to succeed.

This refreshed strategy is informed by staff and student consultation and puts people at its centre: our students, our colleagues, and the communities in which we are located, recruit from and support.

It is bold and ambitious. It focuses on our commitment to social justice in all we do, honouring and building on our founding mission from 1841.

By 2026 we will have grown our diverse student population to at least 10,000 students. We will have created more educational opportunities for the communities we serve and will have developed new courses that meet the needs of our region and beyond. Our commitment to providing an experience of ‘support to succeed’ will remain core.

Exceptional teaching and research are key to student success. Student wellbeing services, financial and learning support will be focused on preparing our students to succeed. Our exceptional ‘student partnership plus’ model will encourage students to engage with our social justice mission and embrace challenges so that they are prepared to achieve their full potential. 

Our Purpose

Our teaching and research are exciting and rigorous.

We work in partnership with our students and communities to achieve success.

Our teaching and research focus on addressing world challenges such as social justice, climate change and eliminating inequalities.

It does this whilst making a difference to the communities in which we live, work and recruit students from.


By 2026 University activity will be characterised by:

  1. Outstanding learning and research that enables success for all.
  2. Innovative, enquiry-led approaches to research, teaching and curriculum that promote engagement, internationalisation and the creation and application of new knowledge.
  3. A relevant and contemporary portfolio that refreshes existing courses and introduces new subjects to extend student opportunities.
  4. Embedded employability that supports positive graduate outcomes with professional accreditations as appropriate.
  5. Impactful research that addresses global challenges and benefits society.
  6. Diverse growth to at least 10,000 students increasing and extending educational opportunities for undergraduates, postgraduates (including research students) and degree apprentices.
  7. An innovative digital campus and digital experience for everyone that engages with us.

Our People

York St John is committed to creating a fairer world.

Our people define our success as a University.

Our students and staff care about addressing society’s problems. We are committed to social justice and eliminating inequalities.

We challenge prejudice and work in partnership with our community to address global challenges.

By 2026 the University will be recognised as:

  1. Attracting and retaining a diverse and inclusive staff, student, and alumni community.
  2. A lead institution for student and staff partnership.
  3. A lead institution in the UK for eliminating inequalities in higher education access and outcomes.
  4. Promoting a culture of personal responsibility and collaborative ownership in which all contributions are valued; workloads are manageable, and people are empowered, supported, and inspired to deliver.
  5. Having a culture of excellence, demonstrated through our people, leadership and governance.

Our Place

Education is for all.

Our campuses (digital and physical) are for the benefit of our communities. We work in partnership with our students, our regional stakeholders and the wider community.

Our role in society is far reaching. Social justice is the compass that drives our behaviour, projects and approaches.

We embed our social justice values in our day-to-day work from defining our strategy to daily acts of kindness and standing up against inequality.

By 2026 the University will be recognised by its:

  1. Active collaboration with schools, further education, employers, NHS, and third sector contributing to educational and economic ecosystems.
  2. Role as an anchor institution at the leading edge of the intellectual, economic and social prosperity of our City and region.
  3. Footprint in London to further extend our reach to our targeted communities and unlock intellectual, enterprise and political capital to support our institutional aims.
  4. Exciting, vibrant and sustainable campuses with high quality, agile and digitally enhanced environments that support students, staff, our partners and the community to succeed.
  5. Student residences with the ‘support to succeed’ model embedded, offering our students exceptional accommodation and living facilities close to our campus.
  6. Sector leading environmental sustainability and biodiversity, with a significantly reduced carbon footprint and lower energy usage.