All entries for August 2017

August 16, 2017

Beyond A levels

My thoughts over the next few days are with our prospective students who are – nervously - waiting for the A level results they hope for to be able to join the University community. It is very hard to be able to see beyond academic results at this point in time!

One of the many (many) things I hope you’ll learn when you do join us at Warwick, is that it isn’t all about your academic activities. Naturally, there are a host of excellent education opportunities, with close academic and personal support. Beyond that though, there are some fantastic opportunities for you to look beyond your studies and to really make the most of your time once you are here.

I’m fortunate in my role to see so many examples of what our students achieve outside their studies.

Just this year, we celebrated two students who founded an enterprise to trade agricultural commodities between developing regions across the world – making almost $2m in revenue, and helping ensure fair pricing. They created internship opportunities with Unicef in Morocco, as well as organising volunteering opportunities in Madagascar and in the local Coventry community.

Another group of students had a dream of starting up a youth football team for local children. They raised the money the team needed through charitable donations, and the club went on to become a Charter Standard FA Youth Development team. They were was promoted through two divisions, reached the cup final, and invited to an awards ceremony to celebrate the best teams around.

And another student dedicated over 300 hours of her time to volunteering, including for a club which be-friends residents in a local care home, and another where able and disabled children are encouraged to take part in activities which develop their confidence. She led our volunteering society to create a guide on using extra-curricular experience for your employability, collecting stories from alumni about how volunteering made a difference to their career development.

What binds these diverse activities is that the students did all of this outside their studies. So, if you’re waiting for your A level results, you’ll be nervous – of course. Remember that these are just a step into the next stage of your life. When you join us at Warwick, we will be there to do all we can to help you make the most of it.

Good luck!

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August 14, 2017

Did our undergraduate numbers change overnight?

Last Saturday I went to bed as Vice-Chancellor of one of the world’s top 100 universities, with UK full-time undergraduate numbers up 11% (to 9,720) and international undergraduates up 41% (to 2,570) since 2008. Our achievements in research and teaching attracted the very best students from the UK and beyond, but that appeared to change overnight. The Sunday Times now claimed “at Warwick the number of undergraduates doing a first degree fell by 28% while non-EU undergraduates rose by 15%” and “British A-level students” were being discriminated against as universities took “more lucrative overseas students instead often with poorer qualifications”.

Had the world changed radically while I slept? No, there was still no cap on undergraduate numbers therefore no need to choose between countries’ students, rather undermining the story’s whole premise. We still insist on the same high academic standards from every part of the globe. Had our UK full-time undergraduate numbers tumbled overnight from being up 11% to down 28%? No, they are still up 11%. The journalist had used the wrong statistics and had not checked with us.

Warwick continues to offer great degrees to the very best students, from wherever they hail. Our data science BSc might be of particular interest to that journalist.

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