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University College, Nottingham
ADAM WILLIS KIRKALDY, M. A., B. LITT., OXON., PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND COMMERCE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, NOTTINGHAM. 20÷NIVERSITY College, Nottingham, is unique
among institutions of university rank in the United Kingdom, for it was in answer to the demand of the citizens that the city itself founded and developed a centre for higher education which in thirty years developed into the present University College. The Reform Act of 1867 and the Education. Act of 1870 not only compelled the educated classes in England to realize the necessity for educating those who would have to exercise the franchise, but in many industrial centres the masses themselves called out for higher education, nor in any place was this cry more insistent than in Nottingham. As a result of this the Town Council at Nottingham, when planning the erection of a Public Library and Museum, decided to erect on the same site, to cooperate with these two institutions, a College wherein the Arts and Sciences might be studied. Here again Nottingham moved on a higher plane than was usual. Many of the cities in the United Kingdom added technical schools to their educational equipment. These schools were definitely utilitarian, their primary object being to enable students to improve their wage earning capacity. Such schools were indeed useful, but they exemplified the worst side of the teachings of nineteenth century political economy.
The new institution at Nottingham was definitely organized to develop the higher interests-literary, artistic and scientificof its students. Thus the College stands as an example of municipal statesmanship of a very high order. At this time of national reconstruction when the logical outcome of gross materialist teaching has been made patent to all the world, it is remarkable that forty years ago one of the great industrial centres of Eng
land definitely mapped out a system of education, the core of which reflects the high ideals of the great educationists of the Renaissance.
The buildings erected in 1881 still remain among the finest architectural features of the city. The foundation stone was laid by the then Mayor, Mr. Gladstone and many notable personages being present; and the College was opened on June 30th the same year by the Duke of Albany.
The College was established with the object of bringing higher education within the reach of all, and right down to the present it has maintained this tradition. In 1903, it was incorporated by Royal Charter as a University College, and at the present time it appears to be on the eve of a still further development, and of becoming a full degree-granting University serving the six counties which make up the important area known as the East Midlands.
As originally created the College consisted of a Department of Arts and a Department of Science. The first included Classics, Philosophy, English Language and Literature, Modern Foreign Languages, Economics, History and Education. The Department of Science included Physics, (with which was connected Mathematics), Chemistry, the Natural Sciences, including Botany, Physiology, Zoology and Geology. Later on, considerable developments took place; thus from the year 1011 there were the following Departments, each under the administration of its own responsible professor: Arts, including Classics and Philosophy, English Language and Literature, Modern Languages, Education, Music; Pure Science, including Chemistry, Physics, Mathemat ics, Biology, Physiology, Zoology, Botany and Geology, to which was connected Geography; Applied Science, including Engineering (Mechanical, Civil and Electrical), and Mining; whilst important schools had been added, having as their function the training of students for important local industries, such as the chemical trades and pharmacy, the textile trades, especially hosiery, the building trades and printing, whilst Economics was sep
arated from the Department of Arts and a new Department of Economics and Commerce was established.
The war had a very considerable effect upon the College as on all institutions connected with higher education, but a considerable amount of teaching continued throughout the war and the Officers Training Corps connected with the College was remarkably successful under its very able O. C. Major Trotman, who trained no less than 1600 officers for War Service. With a diminished number of students, the Staff of the Science Department was to a certain extent at liberty to undertake research work and to assist Government Departments by suggesting new methods both for fighting and equipment purposes. In its record of war work the College holds a high place. With the end of hostilities a new chapter opened, students flocked back and numbers were augmented by an influx of demobilized men who, owing to their war service, had suffered a break in their careers. The Government rightly recognized its obligation to these men, and suitable cases were granted substantial allowances to enable them to follow University Courses in order to make up for what had been lost through patriotism during the period of the war. Thousands of these men entered British Universities, and large numbers came to Nottingham. During the present session 1920-21, the College, which was originally constructed for about 300 students, has a roll of 960 day and about 1450 evening students.
There have also been some notable developments in the organization and work of the College. Departments have been coordinated into faculties, of which there are now four-Arts, Pure Science, Applied Science and Economics. The work of these faculties suffers under a handicap, owing to the lack of full university status. There are the diploma courses of the College, but as there is no degree conferring authority, the College is compelled to frame most of its courses to suit the external de grees of the University of London. Over the curricula prescribed for these degrees, the College has no jurisdiction. They are laid down by a distant outside authority which cannot fully understand the needs and aspirations of the students of the East
Midlands, and naturally a college diploma has not the same standing or value as a University degree. This will be rectified when Nottingham achieves what has been granted to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Bristol-a full University status. The movement towards this was on foot in Nottingham when the War broke out, and now that peace has returned, active steps are being taken to carry the movement to a successful issue.
A University Charter is granted by the Privy Council and it is usually stipulated that there shall be an endowment fund sufficient to maintain the dignity of a University. Other towns have benefited by the generosity of wealthy citizens, indeed several modern universities owe their foundation to this munificence, but for Nottingham, where the citizens have given a signal example of self help, there is a strong case that this unique action should gain official recognition. The City Council of Nottingham has supported the College with no niggardly hand; not only the extensive site in the centre of the city and the fine buildings have been provided mainly by the Corporation, but during the past few months the Council has raised its annual grant to no less than £15,000 a year. Although the City Council has undertaken the main responsibility for financing the College, individual citizens have, from time to time, shown their interest. An anonymous donor of £10,000 did a great deal in the first instance towards getting the original scheme into concrete shape. The local mine owners and hosiery firms have subscribed handsomely to special departments. During the present year Sir Jesse Boot has given the handsome sum of £50,000 to the extension fund, and this example will be widely followed when normal times return.
It is perhaps unnecessary to refer in any great detail to the ordinary Arts and Science subjects taught in the College. The number of the students reading for the London degrees in Arts is considerably augmented by the students of the Day Training Department, under Professor Henderson. Here a very important department has been built up, and an immense amount of work carried on to the benefit of the education of the area. In the
Modern Language Department under Professor Weekley, seven modern languages are taught-French, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian and German. On the Staff of Lecturers is Professor Janko Lavrin, probably the most distinguished of the younger school of Slavonic literary critics. A recent addition to the work of the Language Department which should be noted, is the offering of facilities to French students, most of whom are graduates of French Universities, both men and women, to spend a session at the College. This is working admirably under the direction of Miss Hutchinson.
Classics and Philosophy under the Vice Principal, Dr. Granger, cover a wide range of subjects and attract students from the neighboring theological colleges.
The Department of History has recently been reorganized under Professor Owen and a considerable amount of research work is being carried out under his direction.
The English School has been under Professor Warwick Bond since 1911. He and his staff not only prepare students and lecture in all the subjects required for the London Degrees from the B. A. to the Ph. D., but they are active in giving Courses of Lectures to students of other departments with the object of giving them a real love for their own literature. They thus continue the early tradition of the College in educating the highest and best side of the intellectual life of the community.
Adult Education. Connected with the Arts Department is a new and most interesting development. The problem connected with the education of adult people has for many years been engaging the attention of educated Englishmen. Many theories have been advanced and many suggestions made, but University College Nottingham has been the first educational institution to adopt the proposal of a committee appointed by the Ministry of Reconstruction to consider the question. This was done last session by the foundation of a Department for Adult Education under Mr. Robert Peers, M. A., who was appointed an organizer. It is too early yet to estimate as to what this department may attain, but among its aims are the co-ordination of efforts made