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Developing a ‘Durham for All’
(1 November 2018)
Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge explores how the University is sharing its facilities and expertise for the benefit of both the University and local communities.
November is upon us and the first month of teaching here at Durham University has flown by.
Supporting community cohesion
We have worked hard this year, along with the police and community groups, to ensure a smooth arrivals weekend and friendly relations between students and their neighbours.
Readers may have seen the resident-led ‘Shhh’ campaign, which we are keenly supporting. The campaign urges greater quiet across the City, particularly between 11pm and 7am, so that we can all enjoy living here together. Students, staff and residents have all helped to deliver this message over the last few weeks.
We were also pleased to support members of St Nicholas’ Community Forum, a residents’ group in the City, in holding a stall at the annual Freshers’ Fair, where they met many of our new students and discussed their expectations of reasonable behaviour and a pleasant living environment.
Task Force update
Our Community Engagement Task Force is also making progress. In response to community suggestions, it now has a much broader based membership. Much work has gone into developing workable and widely supported terms of reference; and the five sub-groups are gathering momentum.
Reflecting the priorities of discussions we have had with community representatives to date, these are focused around the economy, culture, citizenship, the lived environment and Durham for All – on which more below. We acknowledge that there remains much work to do: we will have more to report soon.
'Durham for All'
The Task Force theme ‘Durham for All’ reflects our commitment to making the University – its knowledge-base and facilities - open for the benefit of our local communities.
A good example of this was last week’s Celebrate Science festival on Palace Green, when thousands of families enjoyed hands-on science activities and experiments. Who knows whether one of the young people who made a model volcano or space telescope will be our next world-class earth scientist or cosmologist.
We are working hard to ensure we attract the brightest students regardless of their background, and I am very pleased that this year we welcomed our highest ever proportion of students joining us from state schools.
We are increasingly taking educational and social disadvantage into account in our admissions process. We are expanding our Supported Progression programme to support talented local young people, enhancing the financial support we have available for students from less wealthy backgrounds, and working more closely than ever before with schools and colleges to smooth the transition to University life and study.
It was a pleasure for me to discuss some of our outreach and access work with the Education Secretary Damian Hinds when he visited Durham recently, and we are excited to be talking with the Department for Education about developing the North East’s first specialist Maths School. We expect to be able to say more about this in the New Year.
Comments and suggestions
If you have comments or suggestions about how best we can support our city and region, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article first appeared in the Durham Advertiser.