SEPnet Awayday

Here I am in Easthampstead Park Conference Centre after a hard day being away at an awayday. In fact we’ve been so busy that I’ve only just checked into my room (actually it’s a suite) and shall very soon be attempting to find the bar so I can have a drink. I’m parched.

The place is very nice. Here’s a picture from outside:


I’m told it is very close to Broadmoor, the famous high-security psychiatric hospital, although I’m sure that wasn’t one of the reasons for choice of venue.

I have to attend quite a few of these things for one reason or another. This one is on the Future and Sustainability of the South East Physics Network, known as SEPnet for short, which is a consortium of physics departments across the South East of England working together to deliver excellence in both teaching and research. I am here deputising for a Pro Vice Chancellor who can’t be here. I’ve enjoyed pretending to be important, but I’m sure nobody has been taken in.

Although it’s been quite tiring, it has been an interesting day. Lots of ideas and discussion, but we do have to distil all  that down into some more specific detail over dinner tonight and during the course of tomorrow morning.  Anyway, better begin the search for the bar so I can refresh the old brain cells.


One Response to “SEPnet Awayday”

  1. Chris Chaloner Says:

    I find it interesting that in the 60s and 70s there was the big expansion in the number of universities. The increase in diversity of teaching styles became an important factor in student selection of places to study. More recently we have seen networks (sometimes called “distributed centres” or equivalent) such as SEPnet and SUPA develop with the aim of reducing teaching costs (by sharing resources) and optimising research programmes by reducing diversity. Are universities just following the industrial example of periodically centralising and decentralising (with efficiency savings used as the reason in both cases), so that in a decade or so we can expect a re-fragmentation of these networks? Or will the network administrations become stronger and broader, so that we end up with about the same number of separate entities as there were in 1960?

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