Friday, May 09, 2008

The Reading away game

We had our first faculty-to-faculty meeting with soon-to-be-colleagues at the University of Reading this week. In preparation, I had a quick look at the Wikipedia entry for UoR. I found a several interesting facts, and here is my top 10. See if you can work out which ones may have played a part in the merger:
  1. The Whiteknights campus name was taken from the nickname of John de Erliegh IV, a 13th century knight
  2. UoR was founded in 1892 as an extension of Christchurch College, University of Oxford
  3. They attained Royal charter in 1926, the only new university created in the UK between the World Wars
  4. It is one of the ten most research-intensive universities in the UK, as well as being considered one of the top 200 universities in the world.
  5. It is one of the highest financially endowed Universities in the UK, at 9th position in the most recent table
  6. In -2006, UoR closed its Physics Department, which caused a bit of controversy at the time, and even led to questions being asked in the Houses of Parliament!
  7. The Chancellor of UoR is John Madejski
  8. The University library has over 1 million books
  9. UoR has a world-class reputation in research in a number of areas, including archaeology, psychology, English and climate change
  10. The University announced in 2007 plans to spend 250 million GBP on its estates

[Funnily enough, the Henley Management College Wikipedia entry has already changed to read Henley Business School at the University of Reading, which somehow feels a little premature.]

The meeting and evening meal with the Reading faculty went on at several levels, as all communication does. I'm glad to say that it went pretty well on the person level, the personal level. It turns out that there's a lot of respect at UoR for the Henley reputation and I think, as we discussed how we see ourselves, that they formed an impression of us as being focused on practical application and on the customer. There was an acknowledgement that there may be a lot for them to learn from our approach (and a hunch that it won't be easy).

For our part, I think we gained a sense of their expertise and of their commitment and belief in research, and there was a hint of their 'maverick' attitude to authority. One thing they weren't expecting (apart, I suspect, from all of us being there ready to start the meeting on time...) was our sense of sadness at the change in status. I have to add that we have other feelings, too, such as excitement and anticipation.

Anyway, we're waiting now to see what the details will be about the new structure of the Business School from August. Before then, of course, there will be more meetings like this one. The next will be the return fixture at the College on May 21st.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a very good article on university endowments 'University fundraising - an update' on the web published by the Sutton Trust [dated December 2006] which gives a lot of detail on the subject of university endowments and alumni giving at :
for anyone interested.