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University of Sussex

University of Sussex

The University of Sussex is a British campus university which is situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, and is from Brighton. It is the only university in England to be located entirely within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, that of the South Downs.

The University of Sussex was the first of the new wave of British universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in August 1961, and came to be identified not only with postwar social change, but a groundbreaking interdisciplinary approach, and later social engagement. The University is ranked within the top 30 in the UK, with The Guardian University Rankings of 2005 placing Sussex 16th, whilst the 2007 "Good University Guide" places Sussex in 27th position and the latest 2008 ranking sees Sussex move up to 24th. According to the 2008 Guardian University Rankings, Sussex has the number one ranked chemistry department among British universities, with its Professor Geoff Cloke recently being elected a Fellow of The Royal Society.

History

The University of Sussex initially began as an idea for the construction of a university to serve Brighton. In December 1911 there was a public meeting at the Royal Pavilion in order to discover ways in which to fund the construction of a university. However, the project was halted by the First World War and the money raised was instead used for books for the Municipal Technical College. However, the idea was revived in the 1950s, and in June 1958, the government approved the corporation's scheme for a university at Brighton, the first of a new generation of red brick universities. The University was established as a company in 1959, with a Royal Charter being granted on 16 August 1961.

Many of the universities founded in the 1960s take their name from the county in which they are located. The University of Sussex is unusual in that it is in the county of East Sussex and yet uses only the "Sussex" part of the name (alluding to the historic county of Sussex); there was no corresponding university in the county of West Sussex.

The University of Sussex rapidly gained a reputation of radicalism and liberalism.

In 2004, the University started using a new corporate-style logo in place of its coat of arms. Former vice-chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith, said: "Our new visual identity is the starting point for what will be a fresh look and feel for Sussex. It is based on the university's vision and values, themselves a statement of what it aspires to be: pioneering, creative, international, excellent, engaging and challenging". The new logo is also meant to reflect the large changes that are occurring at Sussex, such as the opening of the new Brighton and Sussex Medical School, new degree programmes, and the largest amount of building work on campus since the university opened. The University retains the right to resume use of its coat of arms.

Campus

The campus, designed by Sir Basil Spence, is located in the village of Falmer, next to its railway station, and accessed by car from the A27 road. It is situated next to the Sussex Downs, which influenced Sir Basil Spence's design of the campus. Many of the buildings on campus are designed to represent other objects. The Arts A building has a distinctive concrete entrance imitating a set of rugby union goalposts, the entire arts A building was made to represent a butterfly. Falmer House is shaped like a camera, with the two protruding concrete appendages representing the flash, and the cylindrical object to the left the flash. From an aerial view, the campus itself has the appearance of a sitting cat, which can be seen on copies of the campus map.

Sir Basil Spence's designs were appreciated in the architecture community, with many of the buildings on the University's campus winning awards. The gatehouse inspired Falmer House won a bronze medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Another campus building, The Meeting House, won the Civic Trust award in 1969. In 1993, the buildings which made up the core of Sir Basil Spence's designs were given listed building status, with Falmer House being one of only two buildings to be given a Grade 1 status of "exceptional interest".

Another prominent building on campus, The Meeting House, caters for the religious needs of the student body; the construction of such a building was part of the initial plan for the University of Sussex, but was only possible due to a donation from both Sir and Lady Caffyn. Begun in 1965 and completed in 1966, the building is 80 feet in diameter and contains a seating area for 350 people.

The Gardner Arts Centre, another of Basil Spence's designs, was opened in 1969 as the first university campus arts centre. It had a 480 seat purpose built theatre, a visual art gallery and studio space and was regularly used for theatre and dance as well as showing a range of films on a modern cinema screen. Recently, it has been announced that the Centre will close in the summer of 2007: withdrawal of funding and the cost of renovating the building were given as the key reasons. There are currently no plans for the future use of the building.

Organisation

There are several schools which are composed of more sub-departments. The main parent departments are:

  • Humanities (HUMS)
  • Life Sciences (LIFESCI)
  • Science and Technology (SCITECH)
  • Social Sciences and Cultural Studies (SOCCUL)
  • Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU)
  • Sussex Institute (SI)
  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS)

Previous organisation

The University was founded with the unusual structure of "Schools of Study" (ubiquitously abbreviated to "schools") rather than traditional university departments within arts and science faculties. The Schools were intended to promote high-quality teaching and research.

In the early 1990s, the University promoted the system by claiming, "Clusters of faculty [come] together within schools to pursue new areas of intellectual enquiry. The schools also foster broader intellectual links. Physics with Management Studies, Science and Engineering with European Studies, Economics with Mathematics all reach beyond conventional Arts/Science divisions. By this time, the original schools had been developed somewhat and were:

  • African and Asian Studies (abbreviated to AFRAS)
  • Biological Sciences (BIOLS)
  • Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (MOLS)
  • Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS)
  • Cultural and Community Studies (CCS)
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences (ENGG)
  • English and American Studies (ENGAM or EAM)
  • European Studies (EURO)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS)
  • Social Sciences (SOC)

Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors

The most recent Chancellor of the university was Lord Attenborough, who was elected as the university's fourth Chancellor on March 20, 1998, he announced he was stepping down in April. A replacement has not yet been announced.

  1. Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (1961–65)
  2. Lord Shawcross (1965–85)
  3. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon (1985–98)
  4. Lord Attenborough (1998–2008)

The university has had seven Vice-Chancellors:

  1. John Fulton (1961–67)
  2. Professor Asa Briggs (1967–76)
  3. Sir Denys Wilkinson (1976–87)
  4. Sir Leslie Fielding (1987–92)
  5. Professor Gordon Conway (1992–98)
  6. Professor Alasdair Smith (1998–2007)
  7. Professor Michael Farthing (from September 2007)

Budget issues

Presently, the University is forecasting a small financial surplus for 2006–07, after a period of deficit, and moving towards a goal of 4% surplus for investment in priority areas of activity. Professor Alasdair Smith has incurred criticism from the student body during his tenure as Vice-Chancellor, with the main complaint being that of financial mismanagement. He has recently been replaced as Vice-Chancellor.

Student life

Housing

The early campus included five Park Houses (Essex, Kent, Lancaster, Norwich, and York, named after other 1960s universities) and Park Village. The "houses", of which all but Kent House were based on a courtyard design, feature several long corridors with kitchens and bathrooms at the end and a social space on the ground floor, very much in the manner of a traditional hall of residence. Park Village, by contrast, consists of individual houses with 4 bedrooms per floor, a kitchen on both the bottom and the top floor, and two shower rooms on the middle floor. The houses are arranged in "streets" with a social centre building towards the campus end of the area. Essex House also featured a self-contained flat which was given over to the Nightline confidential listening and advice service in 1992. During the late 1990s, Essex House and its flat were redeveloped into a postgraduate teaching facility. Kent House includes the Kulukundis House wing, developed with easy access for residents with special needs. Accommodation on campus was expanded in the 1970s with the construction of the unusual split-level flats of East Slope. This development also has a social building with a bar.

In the 1990s, as student numbers rose, further developments were constructed in the corner of campus between East Slope and Park Village. Brighthelm and Lewes Court were constructed in public-private partnership funding arrangements with the Bradford & Northern and Kelsey Housing Associations. The name "Brighthelm" owes its etymology to part of the former name of Brighton, Brighthelmstone, whilst Lewes Court is named after the nearby county town of Lewes.

There are presently five areas of student accommodation on campus. The university has recently constructed two more housing areas: one next to Falmer train station, and the other next to East Slope, opposite Bramber House. They are named Stanmer Court and Swanborough respectively.

Societies

The University competes in the following sports:Team sports: Basketball (men and women), cricket (men and women), football (men, 1st, 2nd and 3rd; women), (field) hockey (men and women, 1st and 2nd), netball (women, 1st and 2nd), rugby union (men and women, 1st and 2nd), ultimate frisbee and volleyball (men and women).Racquet sports: Badminton (men and women) and squash (men and women).Individual sports: Archery, fencing and trampolining Outdoor pursuits: sailing, mountain bike, mountaineering, Ski & Snowboard, sub aqua, surfing and windsurfing.Martial arts: Karate Jutsu, kickboxing, Shaolin Kung Fu, aikido and sport aikido.

Campus media

  • The Badger is the Union’s regular news publication and is written and designed entirely by Sussex students. It aims to represent the views and interests of students and communicate the work of the Union, as well as informing members about local, national and international issues that affect them as students. It has interviewed such celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis and Sir Michael Caine. The former editor-in-chief is Dan Higgins who recently became elected as Union Communications Officer for the 2008 to 2009 year.
  • The Pulse, Sussex's twice termly magazine, complements the Badger by providing in-depth feature articles, interviews with local and national stars, and analysis of the latest happenings in Brighton. The elegant and experimental design gives the magazine an edgy feel, and makes it the perfect publication for those interested in design and visual arts to work for. The former editor-in-chief is Natalie Peck.
  • University Radio Falmer was one of the first student radio stations in the country. It broadcasts locally on 1431AM and to the world via the Internet urfonline The station has a packed daytime schedule and during the evening offers a diverse range of genre programming, all from Sussex students from 10am to 2 am daily. URF also runs a news service which is independent of the control of the Student Union and is bound by legal regulations to remain neutral and unbiased.

International students

Of the 10,500 students at Sussex, around a quarter are international.

Sussex has academic staff from over 50 countries and students from over 120 countries.

The University includes people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and will respect the needs and requirements of people who adhere to a range of cultural and religious beliefs. There are several places for worship on campus.

Sussex was voted "Best Place to Be" in the autumn 2006 International Student Barometer of 40 leading UK Universities.

In 2006 Sussex University was Ranked 17th in UK, 43rd in Europe and 105th in the World

Courses & services for international students

  • English Language courses for speakers of other languages - provided by The Language Institute.
  • English in the Vacation. Intensive practice of spoken and written English.
  • International student advice and support from the International and Study Abroad Office.
  • On-campus International Foundation Year offers routes directly to Sussex degrees.
  • The International Summer School runs for four and eight weeks starting in July, providing intensive courses. It is predominantly attended by foreign students. Each session runs four weeks long, with students attending one class per session. A variety of courses are offered, including the arts, sciences, business, culture, and humanities.
  • The ISS trips office also provides excursions to prominent cities, theatres, and activities throughout Europe.
  • Students may also spend a year abroad at Sussex as part of their degree.

More information

People

Notable faculty

In the sciences Sussex counts among its faculty two Nobel Prize winners, Sir John Cornforth and Professor Harry Kroto. Sir Harry, the first Briton to win the chemistry prize in over ten years, received the prize in 1996 for the discovery of a new class of carbon compounds known as the fullerenes. The University has 15 Fellows of the Royal Society - the highest number per science student of any British university other than Cambridge. In the arts, there are six members of faculty - an unusually high proportion - who have the distinction of being Fellows of the British Academy. Faculty publish around 3,000 papers, journal articles and books each year, as well as being involved in consultative work across the world. Sussex has counted two Nobel Prize winners, 13 Fellows of the Royal Society, six fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the prestigious Crafoord Prize in its faculty.

Research

Sussex is a leading research university, as reflected in the 2001 national Research Assessment Exercise. All subjects at Sussex were rated as either grade 4 or 5, recognising research of national and international standard respectively. Over 90% of staff are researching at this high level, the majority in areas of international excellence.

In respect of teaching quality, 13 of the 15 subjects assessed under the current teaching quality assessment scheme have scored 21 or more points (out of 24), with Philosophy and Sociology achieving the maximum score.

In 2006, Thomson Scientific ranked the University second in the United Kingdom in terms of research, based on the impact levels per paper, shortly behind the University of Oxford. The fields noted for the University were Physics and Space Science.

Educational partners

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) is a partnership between the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. It is one of the new medical schools in the UK. BSMS benefits from the universities' distinctive traditions and shared strengths in biomedical sciences, healthcare and professional education. The school, which is the first medical school in the South East outside London, gained its license in 2002 and opened in 2003. It admits 136 students per year with all of them being based for the first two years on the split campus at Falmer. Some life-science degrees in the University of Sussex involving a medical aspect include classes taught in the BSMS.
  • The Institute of Development Studies is one of the world's leading organisations for research, teaching and communications on international development. IDS was founded in 1966 as an independent research institute based at the University of Sussex. IDS has close links with the University, but is financially and constitutionally independent. It exists as Charitable Company limited by guarantee, and registered in England.
  • CENTRIM is the Centre for Research in Innovation Management. It is a research-based school at the University of Brighton, established in 1990. It is located in the Freeman Centre building on the University of Sussex campus.
  • The Sussex Innovation Centre (SInC) is one of the premier business incubators in the UK. Opened in 1996 it provides support for the creation and growth of technology and knowledge based companies in the South East. The Centre provides excellent facilities and is a thriving business environment for over 40 high growth companies working within the IT, Biotech, Media and Engineering sectors.
  • The Study Group works in partnership with the University to provide the Sussex University International Study Centre (ISC). The ISC offers an intensive course of academic subjects, study skills and English language training for students who wish to study a degree at the university but who do not yet possess the necessary qualifications to start a degree. The ISC course provides students with enough English language and academic skills to start at Sussex the following year.

References

External links

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