University of Beestonia

September. Blimy it’s come round quick again.

The new academic year will just about be on us by the time we go to print and as I write there’s a clear shift in gear around the university as staff begin to fill their diaries with teaching commitments for the coming year. The summer as ever has flown by and as we look towards the new term we can also reflect on goals for the summer fulfilled, or not. It’s a cliché in academia for a reason, back in June the summer vacation always seems like a wonderful clear sunny space for pushing back global research agendas, only for September to arrive and well… it was sunny for at least one or two days…

All our time is becoming more squeezed and in our industry this is no different, there’s been some interesting media talk over the summer about 2 year degrees, and market forces not working, or at least not how government envisaged they would work, which maybe isn’t exactly the same thing. Maybe, or hopefully, just silly season talk.

Either way new students will roll into our universities, and into Beeston, over the next few weeks. University is a great opportunity for them and I encourage all students reading this to embrace the opportunities the experience will give you, in terms of training both formal and informal. Enjoy and respect our wonderful town of Beeston and please make the most of our fantastic places to eat, drink and shop.

New academic years also see changes in personnel in many universities, and east of Broadgate the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham Professor Sir David Greenaway will retire at the end of September after serving the University for 30 years, with 20 of those as a member of its Executive Board. That’s quite a stint and we at the Beestonian wish Sir David all the best for his retirement. We also welcome Professor Shearer West who will be the University’s new Vice-Chancellor.

A new year, old and new challenges, the odd glimpse of sunshine… bring it on!

Prof J

The Friends of University Park

Since 2004 the Friends have been encouraging the local community to visit University Park to enjoy the attractive well laid out gardens and grounds.

Each year we organise a series of events which are open for anyone to take part in.

This year we have already had a Wildlife Walk in conjunction with Notts Wildlife Trust in April and took part in the University’s Wonder event in June. In July we welcomed over 300 people to our annual Picnic in the Park, which was held in the Millennium Garden with live music from the Newstead Brass Band and activities for all the family.

Coming up is our Summer Spectacular on Sunday the 20th August 1.30pm to 5pm. This is part of the National Garden Scheme. A free of charge bus will link various gardens including the Walled Garden which is not normally open at weekends. Mini walking tours and refreshments will be available. There will be free parking available at the Millennium Garden.

On Friday 1st September, we have a Bat Walk from 8pm and in October we have 2 events. On Saturday 7th we will be Foraging for Wild Food looking at different edible species to eat from berries, nuts and fungi, herbs and spices, roots and flowers. On Saturday 28th we have a demonstration of Propagation Techniques, showing us how to increase our stock of favourite plants.

In addition to these public events we can also offer guided tours of the gardens and a Heritage Walk to look at historic buildings in the Park and the people who lived in them. These are suitable for horticultural societies, social clubs and other interested organisations. To find out more please email:

Heritage Walk: BW-FOUP-ArchTours@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk
Garden Tour:  BW-FOUP-GardenTours@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk

University Park, which has been awarded a Green Flag every year since 2003, is open to the public at any time although there is a charge for parking on weekdays. At evenings and weekends parking is free.

For information on any of our events please email BW-FOUP-Events@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk

Our website is www.nottingham.ac.uk/go/friends where you can find further information and also download 4 free booklets:

University Park garden guide and tree walk
Historic Houses walk
Winter Tree walk
Geology walk “Rock around the Campus”

We look forward to seeing you at any of our Events.

David Henson

University of Beestonia

Wonder superbike

Curious minds will be amazed and inspired by Wonder 2017 

Have you ever wondered what Mars looks like, what your skin’s made of, how planes can fly, why T-rex had tiny arms or how Vikings fought?

It’s now less than a month to go until you can find out at Wonder 2017. On Saturday 17 June 2017 between 11am and 5pm, the University of Nottingham will be throwing open its doors to the local community to uncover and answer the questions you’ve always wondered about. The free event, formerly known as May Fest, held at University Park, gives curious minds the chance to try a huge variety of fun and hands-on activities.

Visitors are invited to explore the University’s ground-breaking research and world-class teaching first-hand by taking part in a vast array of exciting family-friendly activities, split into zones and by age range to ensure they get the most out of their day.

We’d encourage anyone interested to come and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled day

Debbie Henthorn, Deputy Director of Campaign and Alumni Relations, and a team from across the University are organising Wonder.

She said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the community back into the University of Nottingham this June, for our incredible brand new event.

“We care deeply about the University’s connection to the community and appreciate how many local people, businesses and partners in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire are involved in making what we do at the University possible. What better way to showcase the contributions that the University makes to education, research and business than opening up the campus to our community who are such an important part of our success.

“We will bring children and grown-ups from all backgrounds together at University Park, for a fantastic free day out with some very exciting activities, experiments and demonstrations. We’d encourage anyone interested to come and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled day.”

What makes you wide-eyed with wonder? 

Events and activities throughout the day will include:

  • See Vikings battle Anglo-Saxons in fearsome re-enactments.
  • Solve clues on the Raiders of the Lost Park treasure hunt around Highfields.
  • Watch extreme experiments, which burn, cut, smash and crush materials.
  • Discover how your body works with hands-on activities.
  • Learn new skills with the University’s futsal team.
  • Get crafty and help create our mini sculpture park.
  • Wow at our race-winning electronic motorbike.

A full list of all the Wonder activities is now available to explore on the website, along with a new app which will go live in early June, to guide visitors around University Park Campus to the many exciting activities on offer throughout the day. Users of the app can collect points on their journey and pick up rewards along the way.

http://nottingham.ac.uk/wonder/

 

University Of Beestonia

The spires at the University of Beestonia are dreaming; and the dreams are nightmares…

OK, so that’s over-egging it a little bit, but it’s probably fair to say no one’s sleeping particularly soundly, there’s something out there causing a fair degree* of restlessness.

Our brightest and best minds are searching for the cause of this unease, but if you read around there’s much being written about the battle for the soul of our universities at the moment.

T’internet (2017) defines the prefixes super- and para- as something beyond, or apart from, amongst other possible meanings, so when we add these to words like natural or normal what are we discussing?

During my time working in universities I’m not sure that a natural or normal state of things has actually ever existed, so defining what is beyond those is also a little tricky. Time does not stand still, things do change, some we can influence and some we can not, but, and before I turn completely into Baz Luhrmann talking about sunscreen, recently those changes are pushing – probably wrong tense – have pushed universities into a place where logic does appear, at least at times, otherworldly.

When is the tipping point between para- and new-, is it definable?

In our new normal, and that’s a strange term too, given this issue’s focus on the para-normal, and I’ll come back to my point, but if para-normal is some kind of inexplicable parallel type of universe, how long do conditions have to change for before they become the new normal? When is the tipping point between para- and new-, is it definable? I’d be interested to know if anyone’s worked on this…

Back to a point, in our new normal we are too often torn between which policy we are meant to drive for, student fees have been increased again recently in our current, to me at least bizarre, political reality, our democratic system means we will leave the group of nations which provide a substantial amount of our research funding… the list goes on.

Whether these things are normal, or beyond it, I’m not sure but in the mean time mind the seagulls and sleep well my friends…

Prof J

*oh look, unintentional HE pun (Lord B would be proud, or horrified…)

University Of Beestonia

Although we’ve had little chance to share it with you over the last 18 months (our consultants suggested an Overstreet and Schlitz approach to communications recently) it’s been a busy time at the University of Beestonia. 

It’s a challenging time for the industry and it’s important we are correctly positioned to make the most of the opportunities on the horizon as we move forward. We’ve therefore been working hard to ensure The University of Beestonia can continue to lead both nationally and internationally in the coming decade.

Re-imagining and re-imaging not only what our University is but what it should be in the 21st century is a real challenge. We are now constrained by REF, TEF, increasing internationalisation, BREXIT, white papers asking for more with less… to name but a few. This means there is no one clear path and our institutional and individual ability to understand wtf is going on has been stretched to and beyond breaking point.

We are not the only institution harmed by the post-truth (i.e. bullshit) narrative and the 2016 fad for demonising the expert. However, what this trend has highlighted is that saying nothing at all does not say it best (we sacked those consultants, despite any evidence to the contrary in these short paragraphs). We need to say it more, say it better, say it louder and say it backed up with facts (pre-post-truth) and years of experience in what we are talking about. Once we’ve worked out what it is we’ll let you know, but fear not, we have lots of experts working on it.

Here at the University of Beestonia we aim to spend 2017 looking for the solutions and not pointing out more of the problems (it might be another quiet year from us!). We’d love to hear from you about what you want from your university so please do get in touch (thebeestonian@gmail.com) and we’ll read your ideas before ignoring them :p

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