Archive for University of Essex

Cardiff News

Posted in Education, Politics with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2011 by telescoper

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about local affairs, but the emergence of three items of news in the past few days has given me an opportunity to remedy that.

First, and hot off the press this morning, is the news that Cardiff University has at last decided who its next Vice-Chancellor will be after the incumbent,  David Grant, retires next year. The lucky winner is Professor Colin Riordan, who is currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex (which apparently exists). His background is in the humanities, and his speciality post-war German literature. Since his previous institution doesn’t have a Physics Department, we’re probably  safe for a few years until he finds out Cardiff has one and decides to close it.

Anyway, Professor Riordan became a Vice Chancellor for the first time at the age of 48, which is the same age I am now. Maybe I should be climbing aboard the gravy train? I hear there’s a vacancy as Vice Chancellor at the University of Essex. I would apply, but I fear I have all the wrong vices…

That brings me to yesterday’s news that Cardiff University, along with all the proper most other universities in Wales, is to charge annual tuition fees of, you guessed it, £9K. This is despite recent reports that the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) was set to refuse permission to set such high fees. I always thought it was inevitable that Welsh universities would want to charge as much as possible to bring funding levels closer to those in England, but it remains to be seen what effect the new regime will have on student recruitment.  The £9K level is substantially higher than the Welsh Assembly Government’s initial estimate of £7K so it also remains to be seen what the implications are for the WAG budget. We live in interesting times…

However, not wishing to end on a down note, I’ll finish by passing on a bit of up-beat news. Apparently – according to the esteemed National Geographic Magazine – Cardiff is one of the top ten places in the world to visit in 2011, coming in at Number 6 in  this rigorously compiled and totally objective league table. I’m usually a bit skeptical about such things, but who could possibly disagree with the ranking?

1. Muskoka Orange County, Ontario, Canada
2. Patagonia, Argentina
3. San Juan Islands, Washington
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
5. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
6. Cardiff, Wales
7. Stockholm Archipelago Sweden
8. Azores, Portugal
9. Roatan, Honduras
10. Istria, Croatia

Hang on a minute. Minneapolis? At Number 4?