University of Buckingham
|The University of Buckingham|
|Motto||Alis Volans Propriis (Latin)|
|Motto in English||"Flying On Our Own Wings"|
|Established||1983 - gained University Status by Royal Charter
1976 - University College 
|Chancellor||due march 2014|
|Admin. staff||97 academic, 103 support|
The University of Buckingham (UB) is a private university located in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England, on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It was originally founded as the University College at Buckingham in 1973 and received its Royal Charter from the Queen in 1983.
The university's funding regime is not like that of other UK universities, but rather is on the model of many US universities, as it does not receive state funding via HEFCE. It has formal charity status as a non-profit making institution dedicated to the ends of research and education.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Organisation and governance
- 4 Academic profile
- 5 Reputation and rankings
- 6 University of Buckingham Press
- 7 Notable people
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Some of the founding academics migrated from the University of Oxford, disillusioned or wary of aspects of the late-1960s ethos. On 27 May 1967, The Times published a letter from J. W. Paulley, a physician, who wrote:
"Is it now time to examine the possibility of creating at least one university in this country on the pattern of [the] great private foundations in the USA."
Three London conferences followed which explored this idea.
Its development was influenced by the libertarian Institute of Economic Affairs, in particular, Harry Ferns and Ralph Harris, heads of the Institute. In keeping with its adherence to a libertarian philosophy, the university's foundation-stone was laid by Margaret Thatcher, who was also to be the university's Chancellor (nominal and ceremonial head) between 1993 and 1998.
The University's first three Vice-Chancellors were Lord Beloff (1913–1999), former Gladstone Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford; Sir Alan Peacock, the economist, founder of the Economics department at the University of York, and Fellow of the British Academy; and Sir Richard Luce, now Lord Luce, the former Minister for the Arts.
Near the centre of the town of Buckingham is the river-side campus, which is partly contained within a south-turning bend of the River Great Ouse. Here, on or just off Hunter Street, are some of the University's central buildings: the Reception and central administration; the Anthony de Rothchild building (which contains Business and Economics); the Humanities Library; and also some of the student accommodation, looking northwards across the river. Prebend House, a recently restored Georgian house, contains parts of the department of Politics and also Economics. On the other side of Hunter Street, on the so-called 'island', is the Tanlaw Mill, one of the university's social centres—with the main refectory, the Fitness Centre, and the Students' Union Office.
Overlooking this site, on the hill above, is the extensive Chandos Building. This complex contains the main teaching areas for English Literature, English Language, Modern Foreign Languages, and the Foundation programmes. It also houses the Ian-Fairburn Lecture Theatre. Adjacent to the Chandos Building, is the Department of Education. This has both a research arm, and also a teacher training (PGCE) faculty.
Further on, up the hill, on the London Road, is another element of the campus, in particular the School of Law, which is housed in the Franciscan Building, surrounded by other student accommodation blocks. This is opposite the swimming pool and leisure centre. The university has been expanding in recent years. It has acquired a new site on the west side of the river, which will increase the capacity of the river-side campus as a whole. Teaching on some master's degrees takes place in London, in Grosvenor Place, at the home of one its partner institutions: the European School of Economics, and some Life Science programmes are also run in Central London, in conjunction with Medipathways.
Organisation and governance
The immediate past- Chancellor is Sir Martin Jacomb, Chairman of Canary Wharf Group PLC, and Share PLC (in Aylesbury), and the director of other companies including Oxford Playhouse Trust. He was Chairman of Prudential PLC from 1995 to 2000 and last year retired from the boards of Rio Tinto Group and Marks & Spencer. Former Chancellors of the university have been Margaret Thatcher who retired in 1999, and Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone.
The current Vice-Chancellor is Terence Kealey, formerly of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Cambridge University, who has held the post since April 2001. Kealey is known for his research challenging the idea that education and science are public goods needing public subsidies. He wrote an academic book on the subject in 1996, "The Economic Laws of Scientific Research", which he repackaged and updated for a general audience in 2008 as "Sex, Science and Profits".
Kealey sparked a sexism row in September 2009. The Times Higher Education had commissioned, for its issue of 17 September 2009, seven articles of 500 words each on the seven deadly sins of academia. The seven sins were sartorial inelegance, procrastination, snobbery, lust, arrogance, complacency and pedantry, and the commissioning editor, Matthew Reisz, wrote that the contributors "entered into the spirit and offered amusing examples of their sins in action …". The illustrations in the magazine reflected the humour of the feature. Kealey wrote on lust, and he adopted a satirical tone, claiming that young female students were a "perk" for male academics and they should "look but not touch". Over the next week the Times Higher Education website filled with comments about the article, many expressing shock but some expressing support. On 23 September the London Daily Telegraph ran a story about the article and the backlash was swift from academics. Kealey was criticised by the University and College Union and the National Union of Students who said his comments displayed an "astounding lack of respect for women". At the same time Kealey was defended by scholars such as Mary Beard of Cambridge University who in her online blog for The Times newspaper wrote that it was instantly clear that the piece was satire. Kealey wrote a defence of his piece in the Daily Telegraph and he was also defended by the editor of the THE but nonetheless he wrote a piece in the Times Education Supplement three weeks later in which he said that it is a mistake for a scholar to write ambiguously, which must generally preclude the use of satire, irony, humour or parody in academic writing.
In February 2010, Kealey proposed the establishment of a new independent university, modelled on American liberal arts colleges, that would concentrate on undergraduate teaching rather than research. The plan is currently being considered by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), whose 243 members include independent schools such as Eton College, Winchester College and St Paul's School, London. Kealey believes that complaints about impersonal teaching and oversized classes at many traditional universities mean there will be strong demand for higher education with staff-student ratios similar to that provided by independent secondary schools.
The University's five schools are Law, Humanities, Arts and Languages, Business, and Science and Medicine. Each of these is presided over by a Dean.
The quality of the University's provision is maintained, as at other UK universities, by an external examiner system (i.e., professors from other universities oversee and report on exams and marking), by an academic advisory council (comprising a range of subject-specialist academics from other universities), and by membership of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
The Department of Education has two aspects, research and vocational: it conducts research into education and school provision, and also maintains various PGCE courses for teacher training. The Department of Education is home to some of the most prominent educationalists in Britain, including Chris Woodhead (former head of Ofsted), Anthony O'Hear (director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy), and Alan Smithers. Its postgraduate certificate in education – which deals with both the state and the independent sector – is accredited with Qualified Teacher Status which means that it also qualifies graduates to teach in the state sector.
The University was created as a liberal arts college, and the major humanities subjects such as history and politics are offered with economics as a degree in international studies. Economics, however, is available as a stand-alone degree. So too is English literature, as a single honours subject, and in combinations with English Language, or Journalism, and related areas. The Professor of Economics, and Dean of Humanities, Martin Ricketts, is the chair of the Institute of Economic Affairs Academic Advisory Council.
Some degree programmes at Buckingham, Law for example, place greater emphasis on exams as an assessment method rather than coursework, but in general its degree programmes balance assessment between exams and coursework.
School of Medicine
The cancer specialist Karol Sikora is Dean of the School of Medicine. The school offers postgraduate MD programmes for qualified doctors in a range of specialisations, but is not approved by the General Medical Council as it does not yet offer an undergraduate medical qualification (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery). It will start accepting its first batch of undergraduates for the four and a half year MBBCh course in 2015 at a cost of £35,000 per year. The school will be known as Buckingham Milton Keynes Medical School and will be in partnership with Milton Keynes NHS Trust.
The school had an association with the alternative medicine community via a Diploma course in integrated medicine. This was later withdrawn under pressure from David Colquhoun, a campaigner against pseudoscience and alternative medicine.
Dean of the School, Sikora, is a Foundation Fellow of Prince Charles' now-defunct alternative medicine lobby group the Foundation for Integrated Health and Chair of the Faculty of Integrated Medicine, which is unaffiliated with any university but also includes Rosy Daniel and Mark Atkinson, who co-ordinated Buckingham's "integrated medicine" course. Daniel has been criticised by David Colquhoun for breaches of the Cancer Act 1939, regarding claims she made for Carctol, a herbal dietary supplement with no utility in treating cancer. Andrew Miles is on the scientific council of the College of Medicine an alternative medicine lobby group linked to the Prince of Wales. Sikora is also a "professional member" of this organisation.
Professor of Theoretical Medicine at the school is Bruce Charlton, controversial editor of the journal Medical Hypotheses, who has recently been dismissed as editor by publisher Elsevier over the publication of a paper by AIDS denialists claiming that HIV is not responsible for AIDS and concerns over the lack of peer-review at the journal.
The university offers traditional degrees over a shorter time-frame. Students at Buckingham study for eight terms over two years, rather than nine terms over three, which (with extra teaching) fits a three-year degree into two years. From September 2009, tuition fees for full-time UK and EU undergraduate students have been £8,040 per year for these two-year bachelor's degree programmes. For non-EU students, fees are equivalent to £13,500 p.a. Because Buckingham's degrees take two years to complete, the university views its courses as cost-effective compared to ordinary UK university courses, once living expenses and the income from an extra year's employment are taken into account.
The Humanities Research Institute includes academics working in a range of disciplines, particularly military history, security studies, political history, the history of art, 19th-century literature and social history.[self-published source?]
Alan Smithers runs the Centre for Education and Employment Research, from within the Department of Education. This has produced a series of reports on the fundamentals of secondary and primary education.[importance?]
From the English department, John Drew runs Dickens Journals Online, the project which has put the whole of Dickens's journalistic output on free-access on the web.
The research unit devoted to contemporary Security Studies is run by Antony Glees.[importance?]
Reputation and rankings
The Guardian University Guidefor 2013 ranked Buckingham in 16th position out of 120 UK higher education institutes. The Complete University Guide for 2014 ranked Buckingham in 57th place out of 124 UK higher education institutes.The Times Good University Ranking 2013 ranked Buckingham in its league tables in 41st position out of 120 UK higher education institutes. The Sunday Times University Guide for 2013 ranked Buckingham in its league tables in 61st (2012: 56th) position out of 122 UK higher education institutes.
The most recent league tables of individual university departments in The Guardian University Guide 2013, produced by The Guardian newspaper, ranked the Business department as 28th (out of 116) in the country, English as 14th (out of 106), Economics as 17th (out of 70), Psychology (20 out of 109), and Law as 30th (out of 97). It is not represented in any other field.
Buckingham does not rank in the top 400 universities globally as rated by Times Higher Education, nor does it appear in the top 700 universities ranked globally by Quacquarelli Symonds, nor does it rank in the top 500 universities rated by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. However, it is ranked at 4,084 out of 11,998 universities in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.
The University's Royal Charter, unlike those of other universities, provides for three sovereign bodies, the third one (in addition to the usual Council and Senate) being the Academic Advisory Council, which is a group of external academics that audits the academic staff.
When the national Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) was created, the University felt it should join, even though it perceives itself as markedly different from the state-funded universities that the QAA otherwise audits. The University got "broad confidence" (the highest band) in its first QAA audit in 2003, but "limited confidence" in its last QAA audit in 2008.
"Academic standards at the University meet UK expectations for threshold standards. The quality of student learning opportunities at the University meets UK expectations. [and] The enhancement of student learning opportunities at the University meets UK expectations."
University of Buckingham Press
The University of Buckingham Press publishes in the areas of law, education, and business through its journal articles, books, reports and other material. In 2006 the press relaunched The Denning Law Journal and it is now available in print and its whole archive is online.
It also publishes three other journals: The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics, The Journal of Prediction Markets, and The Journal of Gambling Business and Economics. It has a co-publishing arrangement with The Policy Exchange for its Foundations series.
Alumni include Bader Ben Hirsi, playwright and director; Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth; Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North; Chris de Lapuente, Global President and CEO of Sephora; and Graham Roos, appointed in 2011 as the University's first Creative Artist in Residence.
International alumni include Pravind Jugnauth, MP in the National Assembly of Mauritius, former Deputy Prime Minister, and the leader of one of Mauritius's main parties, the Militant Socialist Movement; Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Governor of Osun State, Nigeria, racing driver Marc Gené, winner of the Le Mans 24-Hour Race in 2009; and Tun Mohammed Hanif bin Omar, Deputy Chairman of Genting Berhad, and former Inspector-General of the Royal Malaysian Police.
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- Humanities Research Institute
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