University of Reading
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The University of Reading is a university in the English town of Reading, Berkshire. It was established in 1892 as University College for Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and received its Royal Charter in 1926. However, in 1966 it was discovered by some visiting peasants that these tasks were generally beyond the abilities of the students studying there and thus the name was shortened to reflect the more achievable results that three years of training at this university could provide. The University claims a long tradition of research, education and training at a local, national and international level, but then they all do nowadays. It offers traditional degrees (recreating the standards and teaching methods employed by the 19th Century founders, not changed one jot) and also less usual (odd) and other vocationally relevant (much easier) ones. It was awarded the Freddie Mercury's Anniversary Prize for Having a Funny Education Type Name in 1998, 2005 and again in 2009 - demonstrating that things really do not change at this august organ of learning. It is one of the ten most research-intensive (lazy) universities in the UK, as well as being considered, by a newspaper editor who probably did a degree there, one of the top 200 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education 2009 World University Rankings.
In recent years the university has been beset by serious controversy, with closing departments and job losses among staff. The university will lose 7.7% of its HEFCE funding in fiscal year 2010-2011 and so will have to raise it's prices, close some more courses, rob a bank or do some odd jobs around the town (or all four).
The University owes money and its origins to the Schools of Simon and Garfunkle and Scientology established in Reading in 1860 and 1870. These became part of an extension college of Christ Church of the University of Oxford in 1892, which became known as University College, Reading after the then Dean of the College lost them in a late night poker and porter night at the local hostelry.
The new college received its first treasury grant (handout) in 1901. Three years later it was given a site, in London Road, by the Palmer family of Huntley & Palmers fame, famous to all as the creators of pork scratchings. The same family's continued support (tax evasion) enabled the opening of Wantage Hall in 1908 and the Research Institute in Clownage in 1912.
The college first applied for a Royal Charter in 1920 but was unsuccessful at that time due to the awarding panel visiting during the annual "wear a sock on your clock" parade on the campus which encouraged the (then ) all male faculty to emulate the famous sun dial in the main quad. However a second petition, in 1925, was successful, (they visited on the weekend) and the charter was officially granted on March 17, 1926. With the charter, the University College became the University of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, the only new university to be created in England between the two world wars (although confusingly several "old" universities were created during this period).
In 1947 the University purchased Whiteknights Park, using recently discovered Saxon gold from the local museum that had been sent for "cleaning" , which was to become its principal's campus, but again the tax man intervened and he had to let students use it as well. In 1984 the University started a merger with Bulmershe College of Higher Education (the local swimming pool), 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 realistic alternative ideas (although the "foxy boxing" venue was much encouraged by senior staff) and caused considerable controversy, not least a mass debate in Parliament over the closure which prompted heated discussion of higher education issues in general, the original factor not being considered important enough to warrant discussion. On October 10 the Senate voted to close the Department of Physics, a move confirmed by the Council on November 20. Other departments closed in recent years include Music, Sociology, Geology, Necromancy, Sums, Colouring In 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 (International Clown Make-up Academy)Centre. The merger took formal effect on the 1st 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 and Henley Open Prison. A further restructuring announced in September 2009 portends the loss of additional jobs, in the film, theatre and television department.
The University tries to maintain over 1.6 square kilometres (395 acres) of grounds, in four distinct campuses: Whiteknights Campus, at 1.23 square kilometres (304 acres), is the largest and includes Whiteknights Lake (home to a monster known as Messy), conservation meadows (big empty spaces) and woodlands (trees) as well as most of the University's surviving department(s) *note: at the time of writing the university had more than one department. 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 Marquis of Blandford - boringly enough few people care about this.
The main University library, in the middle of the campus, holds nearly a million books and subscribes to around 4,000 periodicals and dirty mags.
The smaller London Road Campus is the original University site and is closer to the town centre of Reading than the city of Glasgow. The London Road site forms the base for the majority of the university's extramural (lit. extra to the mural - mural being painting) and distance learning activities, and is home to the Continuing Occupational Corruption Centre (COCC) as well as the Museum of English Life (a pub). Moreover, it plays host to the University graduation ceremonies twice a year, in the Great Hall (which is bigger than the Small Hall). London Road is currently undergoing extensive renovation to allow a number of departments to move from Bulmershe from 2011 prior to being closed.
The Bulmershe Court Campus in Woodley is the ugliest campus belonging to the University. Formerly Bulmershe Swimming Pool, in 1989 the College of Clerks and Crayonists (also COCC) merged with The University of Reading and the campus is now the home of The Institute of Education and the Department of Dirty Films, Adult Theatre and Late Night Television, alongside the Bulmershe site of Students’ Union, Breeze Bar, and Bulmershe Hall of Residences. It also has the grubbiest hall of residence of the University. Furthermore, the campus hosts the average home sporting fixtures, including football, basketball and "American" Football (a bit like rugby). With a recurring pattern; Bulmershe is currently due for closure in 2011 with departments moving to either London Road or Whiteknights Campuses.
The Greenlands Campus, on the banks of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire is a different story. Once the home of William Henry Smith, founder of WH Smith and great grandfather of Will Smith, and latterly the site of the Henley Management College, this campus became part of the university on the 1st 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. This prime piece of real estate is currently undergoing an extensive period of valuation before being put on the market as a country home for someone like Madonna.
The University also owns 8.5 square kilometres (2,100 acres) of farmland in the nearby villages of Arborfield, Sonning and Shinfield which it has been unable to shift. These support a mixed farming system (more than one type of farming, just like all other farms) including dairy cows, ewes and beef animals (cows for slaughter), and host research centres of which the flagship is actually not a boat but is the Centre for Dairy Research - an exciting and cutting edge abattoir.
As part of the proposed Whiteknights Development Plan (or as it is known...the Winding Up Plan) in Autumn 2007, the University proposed spending up to £250 million on its estates over 30 years (£833,333.00 per year), principally to focus academic activities (or to get all the bastards together in one place) onto the Whiteknights site. This plan suffers from the flaw that it is bollocks and the university is broke. The University also intends to site some functions on the London Road site, with a complete withdrawal from Bulmershe Court proposed by 2012.
Apart from the withdrawal method, other forms of contraception and preventive measures include castration, desemination, homogenisation, redundancy and the "liar" method.
edit Famous Alumni
The "Go Compare" Opera Singer
From the earliest beginnings the university has had a campus. This has always been there and may always be (although this is in no way certain).
It is near London, but then again so is Luton University (another former swimming pool).