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Durham University

Durham University News


Durham launches the UK’s first collegiate universities conference

(13 November 2014)

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University College

Durham alumnus and BBC presenter Jeremy Vine will join representatives of collegiate universities from around the world in Durham this week for the first Collegiate Way international conference.

Jeremy Vine will chair a panel discussion considering some of the key questions about running universities in a collegiate way.

Delegates from five continents will be attending and there will be keynote speakers from Yale and Rice universities in the USA, the National University of Singapore, and Cambridge and Durham universities in the UK. There will also be representatives from the universities of Macau, Virginia USA, Otago New Zealand and Stellenbosch South Africa.

Collegiate universities are few in number; there are just a handful in the UK and around 80 globally. Although they may differ in style and character, university colleges are bound by a common purpose; they are scholarly communities which enrich the student experience, provide pastoral support and underpin the development of the whole person.

Durham University has 16 colleges; the oldest is University College - housed in Durham Castle - established in 1837, and the newest is Josephine Butler established in 2006. Colleges are places where students live, eat, study, play sport, socialise, get involved in a range of activities and have access to a strong support network.

This conference which launches in Durham is set to become a regular global event thereafter and aims to explore the rich variety of collegiate experience worldwide, and to share best practice.

Among the topics being discussed at the event are the benefits and shortcomings of collegiate support, the culture of care in residential colleges, the changing collegiate university and whether living together in a residential community is necessary for all college members.

Jeremy Vine said: “My years at Hatfield College, Durham were some of the happiest of my whole life, not just because I discovered The Smiths when I was there, but also because of the quality of friends and the confidence to be who I wanted to be. How lucky was I to be in a place of such beauty and intelligence.

"Without the confidence the college environment gave me I wouldn't have been able to use a telephone, let alone have a radio show.”

Professor Graham Towl, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden of the Colleges at Durham University said: “The student experience here at Durham is built on the colleges and we are proud of our history and heritage, but we also recognise that there is a lot to be learnt from other collegiate universities in terms of exchanging ideas and best practice.

“We look forward to contributing to interesting debates, forging links with colleagues from around the globe and learning about ways to enhance the collegiate experience moving forward.”

Conference organisers, Professors Tim Burt and Martyn Evans, heads of two of the Durham University colleges said: “We hope one conversation will become many and that this conference will bring together representatives from the widest possible range of colleges worldwide.”

The conference runs from 18-22 November.