The University of Reading is a public research university in Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom. The university was established in 1892 as University College, Reading and received its Royal Charter in 1926. It is based on several campuses in, and around, the town of Reading.
The university has a long tradition of research, education and training at a local, national and international level. It offers traditional degrees alongside less usual and other vocationally relevant ones. It was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 1998, 2005, 2009, and again in 2011. It is one of the ten most research intensive universities in the UK and ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world by THE.
The university owes its first origins to the Schools of Art and Science established in Reading in 1860 and 1870. In 1892 the College at Reading was founded as an extension college by Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford. The first President was the geographer Sir Halford John Mackinder. The Schools of Art and Science were transferred to the new college by Reading Town Council in the same year.
The new college received its first treasury grant in 1901. Three years later it was given a site, now the university's London Road Campus, by the Palmer family of Huntley & Palmers fame. The same family supported the opening of Wantage Hall in 1908, and of the Research Institute in Dairying in 1912.
The college first applied for a Royal Charter in 1920 but was unsuccessful at that time. However a second petition, in 1925, was successful, and the charter was officially granted on 17 March 1926. With the charter, the college became the University of Reading, the only new university to be created in the United Kingdom between the two world wars.
In 1947 the university purchased Whiteknights Park, which was to become its principal campus. In 1984 the University started a merger with Bulmershe College of Higher Education, which was completed in 1989.
In October 2006, the Senior Management Board proposed the closure of its Physics Department to future undergraduate application. This was ascribed to financial reasons and lack of alternative ideas and caused considerable controversy, not least a debate in Parliament over the closure which prompted heated discussion of higher education issues in general. On 10 October the Senate voted to close the Department of Physics, a move confirmed by the Council on 20 November. Other departments closed in recent years include Music, Sociology, Geology, and Mechanical Engineering. The university council decided in March 2009 to close the School of Health and Social Care, a school whose courses have consistently been oversubscribed.
In January 2008, the university announced its merger with the Henley Management College to create the university's new Henley Business School, bringing together Henley College's expertise in MBAs with the University's existing Business School and ICMA Centre. The merger took formal effect on 1 August 2008, with the new business school split across the university's existing Whiteknights Campus and its new Greenlands Campus that formerly housed Henley Management College.
A restructuring of the university was announced in September 2009, which would bring together all the academic schools into three faculties, these being the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social sciences, and Henley Business School. The move was predicted to result in the loss of some jobs, especially in the film, theatre and television department, which will shortly be moving into a brand new £11.5 million building on Whiteknights Campus.
In late 2009 it was announced that the London Road Campus was to undergo a £30 million renovation, preparatory to becoming the new home of the university's Institute of Education. This is planned for completion in the summer of 2011, and is being partially funded by the sale of the adjoining site of Mansfield Hall, a former hall of residence, for demolition and replacement by private sector student accommodation.
The university maintains over 1.6 square kilometres (395 acres) of grounds, in three distinct campuses:
Whiteknights Campus, at 1.3 square kilometres (321 acres), is the largest and includes Whiteknights Lake, conservation meadows and woodlands as well as most of the University's departments. The campus takes its name from the nickname of the 13th century knight, John De Erleigh IV or the 'White Knight', and was landscaped in the 18th century by the Marquis of Blandford. The main University library, in the middle of the campus, holds nearly a million books and subscribes to around 4,000 periodicals. It also has a lake, which is home to many Mandarin Ducks.
The smaller London Road Campus is the original university site and is closer to the town centre of Reading. The London Road site is home to The Institute of Education - one of the leading providers of teacher training in the UK. The Institute moved to its new home in January 2012. The campus was refurbished at a cost of £30 million, providing it with the best and most attractive facilities in the UK. The London Road site also plays host to the University graduation ceremonies twice a year, in the Great Hall.<http://www.reading.ac.uk/education/about/ioe-about.aspx>
The Greenlands Campus, on the banks of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire. Once the home of William Henry Smith, son of the founder of WH Smith, and latterly the site of the Henley Management College, this campus became part of the university on 1 August 2008, with the merger of that college with the university's Business School to form the Henley Business School. The school's MBA and corporate learning offerings will be based at Greenlands, with undergraduate and other postgraduate courses being based at Whiteknights.
The Bulmershe Court Campus in Woodley was the site of the former Bulmershe Teaching College, which merged with The University of Reading in 1989. The campus was sold in January 2014 as the University decided to concentrate its activity on its three other campuses. It had previously moved all teaching and research at Bulmershe either to Whiteknights or to London Road, and closed the student accommodation.
The university also owns 8.5 square kilometres (2,100 acres) of farmland in the nearby villages of Arborfield, Sonning and Shinfield. These support a mixed farming system including dairy cows, ewes and beef animals, and host research centres of which the flagship is the Centre for Dairy Research.
As part of the proposed Whiteknights Development Plan in Autumn 2007, the University proposed spending up to £250 million on its estates over 30 years, principally to focus academic activities onto the Whiteknights site. The University also announced its intention to site some functions on the London Road site, and proposed a complete withdrawal from Bulmershe Court by 2012, which was accomplished.
In October 2012, the university administration announced plans to establish its first overseas campus in Malaysia. The project will be overseen by Tony Downes.
The Whiteknights Main Library holds catalogue of over 1.2 million books, as well as a range of electronic resources, videos and archives, in 14,000 square metres of public space on five floors of resources, a maintenance floor, entrance plaza and the Knowledge Exchange. The secondary library at the University's Bulmershe Campus is no longer in operation and its collections have been transferred to the Whiteknights Main Library. There is also a library in the University's Meteorology department.
Organisation and governance
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science
School of Arts and Communication Design
Department of Art
Department of Film, Theatre and Television
Department of Typography and Graphic Communication
Institute of Education
School of Humanities
Department of Classics
Department of History
Department of Philosophy
School of Law
School of Literature and Languages
Department of English Language and Literature
Department of Modern Languages and European Studies
School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Department of Economics
Department of Politics and International Relations
International Study and Language Institute
Faculty of Life Sciences
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
School of Biological Sciences
School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy
Department of Chemistry
Food and Nutritional Sciences
The Reading School of Pharmacy
School of Psychology and Clinical Language Science
Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Science
School of Construction Management and Engineering
School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Department of Archaeology
Department of Geography and Environmental Science
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Department of Meteorology
School of Systems Engineering
Henley Business School
Henley Business School is a highly selective, top-ranking business school, among only 58 institutions worldwide (less than 1% of business schools globally) to be granted Triple accreditation by the three largest and most influential business school accreditation associations: EQUIS, AMBA and the AACSB. It includes several academic areas:
The university-wide Graduate School is a Faculty provides training and a range of support for doctoral researchers and related staff across the other four Faculties.
Governing bodies and roles
The university is nominally led by a Chancellor, who is the titular head of the university, and is normally a well-known public figure. The day-to-day chief executive role is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor, a full-time academic post. The senior management board of the university is headed by the Vice-Chancellor, assisted by a Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, three Pro-Vice-Chancellors, four Deans and five Heads of Directorate. It is responsible for the day-to-day management of the University and meets fortnightly throughout most of the year.
The senior management board reports to the university's Senate, the main academic administrative body. The senate has around 100 members and meets at least four times a year and advises on areas such as student entry, assessment and awards. Membership includes Deans, Heads and elected representatives of Schools, as well as professional staff and students. The Senate in turn reports to the Council, which is the supreme governing body of the university, setting strategic direction, ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and approving constitutional changes. The Council meets four times a year, and comprises a broad representation of lay members drawn from commercial, community and professional organisations.
In the government's 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) Reading was ranked 40th in the UK across the assessment of all its research in a ranking produced by The Guardian.
The Department of Meteorology was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2005. Reading was the first university to win a Queen's Award for Export Achievement, in 1989.
The School of Agriculture Policy and Development was ranked top in the UK and 11th in the world, according to the QS classification of universities by subject (http://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings, Subject: "Agriculture and Forestry").
In recent years the university has been beset by controversy, with closing departments and job losses among staff. The university will lose 7.7% of its HEFCE funding in fiscal year 2010–2011.
The Gyosei International College in the U.K. was established on property acquired from the University of Reading in 1989. The college, later renamed to the Witan International College, was acquired by the University of Reading in 2004. Witan College closed in 2008.
Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) is the affiliated student organisation which represents the students' interests. The university also has a number of Junior Common Rooms that are linked to the Students' Union. The Students' Union has been the launch pad for many political careers including Penny Mordaunt (MP for Portsmouth North), who was the 1994–5 President of the Students' Union.
The Students' Union runs the student radio station Junction11 Radio, an online student radio station. It also publishes Spark*, a newspaper aimed at the student population of the University, which is published fortnightly during term-time only and award winning student television station RU:ON.
The union provides a free advice service to students, and facilitates over 160 different activities for students to get involved in. The Students' Union building on Whiteknights Campus contains an 2000 capacity venue called 3sixty, two bars, and a number of retail outlets.
Halls and accommodation
Wantage Hall gatehouse, built 1908, is the oldest hall at the University
Student accommodation is provided in a number of halls of residence offering a mix of partially catered (19 meals per week) and self-catering accommodation, along with other self-catering accommodation. Following a major review the University is now preceding with the integrated Halls and Catering Strategy, that will see several halls replaced as well as new ones created with social, catering & welfare facilities provided in hub areas. Most of the halls of residence lie close to the northern campus periphery and in residential areas close by.
Halls are managed in the following groups: Lakeside, comprising Bridges, Bulmershe and Wessex; Northcourt, comprising Sherfield, Benyon and St Patrick's Hall; Park, comprising Greenow, McCombie, MacKinder, Stenton, Windsor and Dunsden Crescent; Redlands, comprising Hillside, Martindale, St. George's, Wells and Wantage; and Estates Management, comprising 35 Upper Redlands Road, Mansfield and St. David's.
Wantage Hall is thought to be the oldest purpose built hall outside of 'Oxbridge' and is built in the style of an 'Oxbridge' hall.
St. George's Hall and the Reading Student Village are leased back to the University from UPP. The cost of leasing back the Student Village to the University, according to the University accounts, was £1.3 million in 2002–03 and £1.5 million for 2003–04.
In 2011 the management of the mature and international halls, Hillside and Martindale, was taken over by the "Estates management team". In the same year the new Kendrick Halls were opened, this were on the ground of halls which had not been in use for many years. These are not managed by the university.
In 2012, UPP and the University announced that they would be redeveloping Bridges Hall. The Hall is scheduled to reopen for the 2014–15 academic year.
Working with business
Reading hosts a number of private sector businesses on its campuses, either occupying dedicated buildings or in managed space at the Science & Technology Centre or Enterprise Hub.
The Science & Technology Centre
Science & Technology Centre
The University of Reading Science & Technology Centre is situated on the eastern side of Whiteknights Campus. The Science & Technology Centre supports and accommodates technology companies from start-up through to larger SMEs.
The following notable companies are based at, or have been based at, the Science & Technology Centre:
The hub was originally situated in World War II era temporary office buildings on the university's Whiteknights campus. During the summer of 2008 the hub was demolished, along with the neighbouring former agriculture buildings, and the remaining tenants relocated to a building on the London Road campus. As of April 2010, a new Reading Enterprise Centre is being constructed on the hub's original site.
Besides its use of the Science & Technology Centre, Reading Scientific Services also occupies the Reading Science Centre, situated on the eastern side of Whiteknights campus.
Anna Watkins (full name) or Anna Bebington (birth name) – rower, bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Olympic Gold medalist London 2012 rowing, PhD student in Mathematics (currently on sab for training)
^Ian Macrae, “The making of a university, the breakdown of a movement: Reading University Extension College to The University of Reading, 1892–1925”, Journal International Journal of Lifelong Education, Volume 13, Issue 1 January 1994, pages 3–18