Lancaster University (officially "The University of Lancaster") is a British university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The University has an annual income of £149 million, 2,250 staff and 17,415 students. In the last Research Assessment Exercise Lancaster was named the 7th best research institution in the United Kingdom. Along with the universities of Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, Lancaster forms the N8 Group of research universities. Lancaster was ranked 10th of 113 British universities in the 2008 Good University Guide.
Lancaster is a collegiate university, with its main functions divided between three central faculties and nine colleges. In general, the faculties perform research and provide centralised lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and some University staff.
The University was established by Royal Charter in 1964. The Charter stipulated that HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent be the first Chancellor. She was inaugurated in 1964. The ceremony also saw the granting of various honorary degrees to dignitaries including Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Princess Alexandra served the University as Chancellor until retiring in 2004: she was the longest serving Chancellor of any British university.
The University accepted its first students in October 1964 and there were initially 13 professors, 32 additional members of teaching and research staff, 8 library staff and 14 administrators on academic grades. The motto, "patet omnibus veritas", which means "truth lies open to all", was adopted by the new university. The first Science students were admitted in 1965.
The University was temporarily based in the city after its establishment. A lecture theatre and the University's first JCR were based in Centenary Church, a former congregational church, opposite the old factory premises of Waring & Gillow, which were used to accommodate the new students. Many new students were housed in Morecambe. The Grand Theatre was leased as a main lecture room and 112 and 114 within the St Leonard's area became teaching and recreational rooms. The library occupied the old workshops of Shrigley and Hunt on Castle Hill.
All members of the University are members of a college. Most colleges have about eight or nine hundred members and all on-campus accommodation is linked to a college. The colleges are governed by a "syndicate". The syndicate structures vary, but all include a Principal, a Dean and assistant deans.
The University has eight undergraduate colleges, which are all named after regions of the traditional county of Lancashire. The University also has one post-graduate college: established in 1992 it is simply named Graduate College. The original colleges are Bowland and Lonsdale.
The college buildings accommodate a number of academic departments, but are primarily social and accommodation facilities, each with its own bar and Junior Common Room. A selling-point of the University is that the colleges are more than mere halls of residence, offering a sense of community. Lancaster's organisation differs from that of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham: while Lancaster's students are allocated a college after stating a preference, the latter three universities employ an application system by which a prospective undergraduate must apply directly to a specific college.
The University is divided into three faculties:
The purpose-built campus occupies Bailrigg, a site donated by Lancaster City Council in 1963. The campus buildings are located on a hilltop, the lower slopes of which are landscaped parkland which includes the "Carter Lake" duckpond and the university playing fields. The site is located three miles (5 km) south of the city centre. The campus buildings are arranged around a central walkway known as "The Spine". The walkway runs from north to south and is covered for most of its length. The main architect was Gabriel Epstein of Shepeard and Epstein. In contrast to some of the other campus universities, Bailrigg was designed to integrate social, residential and teaching areas. Another major feature of the design was that there would not be a large central Students' Union building, but that the individual colleges would be the centre of social and recreational facilities. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is separated: this is achieved by restricting motor vehicles to a peripheral road with a linking underpass running east-west beneath Alexandra Square. The underpass accommodates the Bailrigg bus station. Car parking is arranged in cul-de-sacs running off the peripheral road.
Construction of the Bailrigg campus began in November 1965, with the first building being completed a year later. The first on-campus student residences opened in 1968. Alexandra Square is the University's main plaza. Named after the first chancellor, HRH Princess Alexandra, it is situated at the centre of the original campus and contains the library in the southwest corner, designed in 1964 by Tom Mellor and Partners, the first phase opening in September 1966, the second in July 1968 and the third in January 1971. The library was extended in 1997 and in 1998 the Ruskin Library designed by Sir Richard MacCormac was opened. On the west side of the square is University House as well as various banks and shops. To the southeast of the square is the tallest building on campus: the fourteen storey Bowland Tower, which contains accommodation and disguises the boiler room chimney. One of the most distinctive of the Bailrigg buildings is the free-standing University Chaplaincy Centre. Opened on 2 May 1969, the architects were the Preston-based firm Cassidy & Ashton. The building has a trefoil plan with a central spire where the three circles meet. The University's logo is based on the spire. A plan existed to have a twin campus with another eight colleges to the east of the M6 motorway at Hazelrigg. this would have been linked to Bailrigg by a flyover. The plan was abandoned during the 1970s and the land sold during a period of financial difficulties.
The decision to expand onto what is now known as Southwest Campus was met with some protest for various reasons. Some of the complaints against the expansion were that it would drive up accommodation prices, both on and off campus. The site was a greenfield site, with residents of nearby Galgate being worried about "the impact of the new buildings", flooding of the local area due to increased run-off from the site and increased traffic flow on the A6 and other local roads. The development of InfoLab 21 also met objections with the proposed building being described as a "Dalek factory". Another concern related to the limited amount of new social space. The older accommodation sometimes consisted of approximately 15 students sharing communal bathrooms and kitchens. The communal kitchens were often a source of social interaction, while the new en-suite areas have fewer students per kitchen, and private bathrooms.
The Peter Scott Gallery is open to the public free of charge. The Gallery is located on the Bailrigg campus and houses the University's international art collection, which includes Japanese and Chinese art, antiquities, works by twentieth century British artists including works by artists from the St Ives School, Sir Terry Frost, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Barbara Hepworth and William Scott. Among other British artists whose work is represented are Norman Adams, Patrick Caulfield, Elizabeth Frink, Kenneth Martin and Winifred Nicholson. Within the last fifteen years works by Andy Goldsworthy, Peter Howson and Albert Irvin have been acquired. The university collection also includes prints by significant European artists such as Dürer, Miró, Ernst and Vasarely.
The Nuffield Theatre is a black-box theatre located at the north end of the campus.
The Ruskin Library houses archive material related to the poet, author and artist John Ruskin. It is open to the public, although only a small part of the collection is on public display at once. The building was constructed in 1997 by architect Richard MacCormac. The Whitehouse Collection housed in the Ruskin Library is the largest holding of books, manuscripts, photographs, drawings and watercolours by and related to John Ruskin in the world.
The University's Great Hall is situated at the far north end of the campus.
There are many different clubs and societies operating within the University of Lancaster. Common areas include sports, hobbies, politics and religion. There are several fairs during the freshers period in which various clubs and societies promote themselves.
Every summer term the students take part in the Roses Tournament against the University of York. The venue of the event alternates annually between Lancaster and York. As of 2007, both Lancaster and York have won the tournament 21 times, with one tie. Other sporting activities are focused on inter-college competition rather than on national leagues. The colleges compete for the Carter Shield and the George Wyatt Cup. In 2004 the Founder's Trophy was played for the first time between the University's two founding colleges, Bowland and Lonsdale. The University also has a representitve club , Furness Rovers, in division 2 of the North Lancashire and District Football League.
There are also a range of religious based societies within the University. Lancaster University Chaplaincy Centre is located at the north end of campus and the mosque and Islamic Prayer Room, also open to non-muslims, is located near InfoLab21. There are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahá'í and Pagan societies which hold regular events and meetings.
Lancaster University Students' Union ("LUSU") is the representative body of students at the University of Lancaster. Unusually, there is no main Union building - instead the Union is organised through the eight college JCRs, each of which has its own social venues and meeting spaces. The Union is, however, allocated an administration building by the University. Scan is the Students' Union newspaper. LUSU owns a nightclub in Lancaster called The Sugar House. This is a major source of income for the Students' Union, which also has two shops on the campus.
The Centre for Medical Education was established as the co-ordinating unit for all medical and health-related activity across the University. It is home to the collaborative venture with The University of Liverpool, the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Cumbria to establish undergraduate medical education in North Lancashire and Cumbria.
In April 2008, Lancaster was ranked 10th in the UK in The Independent Good University Guide 2009. In 2007, The Sunday Times named Lancaster the top university in the north-west of England. Lancaster is also currently top in the north-west of England in The Independent, The Guardian and The Times university guides. Lancaster University Management School is, along with London Business School one of only two 6* Management Schools in the UK.
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|Guardian University Guide||12th||23rd||19th||8th|
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|The Daily Telegraph||10th|
The Visitor of the University of Lancaster is Her Majesty The Queen. The Visitor is the final arbiter of any dispute within the University, except in those areas where legislation has removed this to the law courts or other ombudsmen. Student complaints and appeals were heard by the Visitor until the Higher Education Act 2004 came into force. All student complaints are now heard by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
The "George Fox Six" were six members of the local community, including University students, who were prosecuted for aggravated trespass during a corporate venturing meeting at the University in September 2004. Speakers at the conference were drawn from one of the largest companies in the North West. The protesters criticised these companies for involvement in the arms trade and the abuse of human rights and the environment. The six protesters entered a lecture theatre in the University's George Fox building and their supporters say this was to hand out leaflets and engage delegates of the conference. The University says their aim was to aggressively disrupt the conference. On 30 September 2005, the six were found guilty of Aggravated Trespass: specifically of intending to disrupt the conference and were ordered to each pay £300 costs and were given a 2 year conditional discharge.
In 1980, the BBC's four part mini-series adaption of Malcolm Bradbury's novel, The History Man, was filmed at the university, masquerading as the fictional University of Watermouth. It had long been rumoured that the events of the book were based in part on activities at the University of Lancaster, although the University of Sussex has also been cited as a possible basis.
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