Keele University

Keele University

Infobox University
name = Keele University

caption = The Keele University shield
motto = Thanke God for All
established = 1949 (as University College of North Staffordshire); university status granted in 1962
type = Public
chancellor = Prof Sir David Weatherall
vice_chancellor = Prof Dame Janet Finch
head_label = Visitor
head = The Lord President of the Council "ex officio"
faculty = 403
students = 12,345cite web|url=|title= Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07|accessdate= 2008-04-10|format= Microsoft Excel spreadsheet|publisher= Higher Education Statistics Agency]
undergrad = 8,950
postgrad = 3,400
city = Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme
state = Staffordshire
country = United Kingdom
coor = coord|53.003|N|2.273|W|region:GB_type:edu|display=inline,title
campus = Rural
website = []

Keele University is a research-intensive campus university located near Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. Founded in 1949 as an experimental college dedicated to a broad curriculum and interdisciplinary study, [Kolbert (2000), p.1] Keele is most notable for pioneering the dual honours degree in Britain.cite web| url =| title = Keele University| accessdate = 2007-03-07| last = Tarleton| first = Alice| date = 2006-08-01| work = A-Z Unis & Colleges| publisher = The Independent] The University occupies a 617 acre (2.5 km²) rural campus close to the village of Keele and houses a Science Park [ [ Keele University Science & Business Park] ] and a conference centre. [ [] ] The University's School of Medicine and School of Nursing and Midwifery operate clinical courses from a separate campus at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent.


Keele University was established in 1949 as the University College of North Staffordshire, at the initiative of A. D. Lindsay, then Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Lindsay was a strong advocate of working-class adult education, [cite web| url =| title = Balliol College History| accessdate = 2007-03-08] who had first suggested a "people's university" in an address to the North Staffordshire Workers' Educational Association in 1925. [Kolbert (2000), p.8]

On 13 March 1946, Lindsay wrote to Sir Walter Moberly, chair of the University Grants Committee (UGC), suggesting the establishment of a college “on new lines”.Kolbert (2000), p.19] Established practice was for new colleges to be launched without degree-awarding powers, instead taking external degrees of the University of London. Crucially, Lindsay wanted to “get rid of the London external degree”, instead forming a college with the authority from the start to set its own syllabus, perhaps acting under the sponsorship of an established university. Lindsay wrote also to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, tentatively requesting just such sponsorship.

An exploratory committee was established by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, chaired by Lindsay and supported by Alderman Thomas Horwood, Vicar of Etruria and leader of the Labour group on the City Council. [Kolbert (2000), p.22] Having secured public funding from the UGC in January 1948, [Kolbert (2000), p.30] the Committee acquired Keele Hall, a stately home on the outskirts of Newcastle-under-Lyme, from its owner, Ralph Sneyd.Kolbert (2000), p.37] The Hall, ancestral residence of the Sneyd family, had previously been requisitioned by the War Office for military use during World War II, and was supplied with the bulk of the Sneyd estate and a number of prefabricated structures erected by the Army, for the sum of £31,000.

Growing steadily, the University College was promoted to university status in 1962, [cite web| url =| title = Keele University Alumni: History of Keele| accessdate = 2007-03-08] receiving a new Royal Charter in January of that year, [Kolbert (2000), p.108] and adopting the name The University of Keele. This remains the official name, although Keele University is now the name used by the University itself. In achieving University status, Keele became the second of the New Universities (after Sussex, Royal Charter 1961).

Since then, student numbers have swelled considerably. The University estimates that there are now upwards of 5,600 full-time students at Keele; 1,300 part-time students; and around 4,000 participants on professional and short courses.cite web| url =| title = About Keele University| accessdate = 2007-03-08| date = 2006-08-09] The University is committed to further growth, [cite web| url =| title = Keele University Strategic Plan 2005-2010| accessdate = 2007-03-08| format = PDF] with the stated objective of increasing its numbers to 10,000 full-time students.


The university is located on a 617 acre (2.5 km²) estate. The campus is home to an increasing number of academic and residential buildings.

Campus facilities include an astronomical observatory, an art gallery, an arboretum, a chapel, an Islamic centre, and shops, cafes and places to eat and drink. Just outside the entrance to the University is Keele Golf Course and practice range.

The university has also built award-winning science and business parks and conference centres on the campus.

Recently, the university received planning permission to begin a building programme on a 70 acre portion of the campus. This will include a mixture of academic and residential buildings to accommodate the planned increase in student numbers.

Halls of residence

There are four halls of residence. Barnes, Lindsay (including The Oaks and Holly Cross) and Horwood are located on the main campus, while The Hawthorns is just outside the university gates in Keele village itself. [ [ Living in Halls] ] Together, these halls provide accommodation for approximately 70% of the full-time students.

Barnes Hall has no M block (it has A-L and N-X), this coupled with the large clear area adjacent to L block helped an urban legend about Barnes Hall to develop. The myth is that M block sank into the ground due to an abandoned mine tunnel, this is only partially true - the block became unsafe due to subsidence and was demolished.

tudents' Union

Keele University Students' Union is active in organising social activities throughout the year. The Student Union holds student social nights most nights, with the busiest being "Rewind" on a Wednesday (with a monthly "Flirt!" night) and "Reloaded" on a Friday. The Union has several bars - The Lounge, Sam's Bar, Barista and K2. Restaurants are Harveys Coffee Shop and The Kiln. The union formerly owned the Golfer's Arms, adjacent to the campus but this was finally sold to the local council at the end of 2005.

"Concourse" is the name of the student newspaper. It is issued twice a month.

In the early 1990s the Keele Students Union RAG committee was instrumental in the formation of the "National Association of RAGs". This wider scope of activity lead to good natured rivalry with other RAG committees, especially Warwick and Cardiff.

tudent Activity

The Keele University team won the 1968 series of University Challenge. [ [ University Challenge Series Champions] ] The same team also made runner up to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (1979) in the 2002 special; "University Challenge: Reunited".

In the early 1980s Keele attracted the attention of the national press and television news when some students founded a 'cuddling society' and a 'mass cuddle' was filmed in the car park outside the students union.

The postmodern sculpture situated outside Keele's Library was stolen by a visiting sports team only to be later retrieved and securely fitted. In 2005 the same statue was damaged in protest of the University's policy of fining regulations against its undergraduate students.

In 2007, Keele University students were responsible for getting Keele featured as a location on the UK 'Here and Now' version of the traditional board game Monopoly. People in the UK had an opportunity to vote for which places should make the board, and Keele was the highest "wild-card" location which made it on. It even finished higher on the board than London, and takes the place of "Fleet Street" in the game. [ [ BBC News] "Monopoly launches UK-wide edition" 24 September 2007]

In 2007, Keele students won a competition hosted by O2 via facebook called "The battle for the UK's favourite university", scoring over 172,000 points by uploading photos, videos and making wall posts on the group. The prize for winning the competition was a party at their students union, hosted by O2.

Kube Radio

There is also a very popular student radio station called Kube Radio, broadcast over the Internet. This station is currently the most internationally acclaimed student radio station with awards from both the New York Festivals and the European Radio Awards both for Best Online Only Radio Station.

Reputation and academic organisation

The University's distinctive profile [cite web| url =| title = Keele University Strategic Plan 2005-2010| accessdate = 2007-03-08| format = PDF| pages= [ p.4] ] reflects the aims of its founders: breadth of study and community atmosphere."Aims of the College", from the Programme for the official opening of UCNS, 17 April 1951. Reproduced in Kolbert (2000), pp.70-72]

Breadth of study was guaranteed by the "pioneering" [cite web| url =| title = Uni. finder > West Midlands > Keele University| accessdate = 2007-03-08| publisher = HERO] four-year dual-honours degree programmes initially offered by Keele. The University's curriculum required every student to study two "principal" subjects to honours level, as well as further "subsidiary" subjects, with an additional requirement that students should study at least one subject from each of the subject groupings of "Arts", "Sciences" and "Social Sciences". [Kolbert (2000), p.48] The cross-disciplinary requirement was reinforced by the Foundation Year, an innovation which meant that for the first year of the four-year programmes, all students would study a common course of interdisciplinary "foundation studies". In the words of the first UCNS Prospectus, the programme offered:

"...a broad education based upon an understanding of the heritage of civilisation, movements and conditions, and of the nature, methods and influence of the experimental sciences" [UCNS Prospectus, for Session 1950-51. Quoted in Kolbert (2000), p.39]

Standard three-year degrees were introduced in 1973 [Kolbert (2000), p.141] and the number of students following the Foundation Year course have steadily dwindled since. The Foundation Year has never quite been formally discontinued, however, and remains an option for prospective students who qualify for entry into Higher Education, but lack subject-specific qualifications for specific degree programmes. [cite web| url =| title = Foundation Years| accessdate = 2007-03-08| work = Undergraduate Prospectus 2006] By contrast, the Dual Honours system at Keele remains distinctive and popular, with almost 90 per cent of current undergraduates reading dual honours. [cite web| url =| title = Keele University Alumni: Keele’s Heritage| accessdate = 2007-03-08]

As an experimental community, Keele was initially founded as a "wholly residential" institution. Of the initial intake of 159 students in October 1950, 149 were resident on campus, [Kolbert (2000), p.64] and it was required of the first professors appointed that they should also be in residence. [Kolbert (2000), p.41] With the expansion of the University, total residency has long since been abandoned, but the proportion of students and staff resident on campus remains above average: 70 per cent of full-time students and "a significant proportion of staff" [cite web| url =| title = Keele University Strategic Plan 2005-2010| accessdate = 2007-03-08| format = PDF| pages= [ p.5] ] currently live in campus residences.

The University also has a reputation for political activism, especially left-wing radicalism, [Kolbert (2000), pp.142-151] having been dubbed, in its early years, a "School for Socialists" ["The Sentinel", November 1946. Quoted in Kolbert (2000), p.23] and "The Kremlin on the Hill". [Kolbert (2000), p.67]


The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) last conducted an institution-wide audit of Keele's teaching between 10 and 14 May 2004. The Agency reported "broad confidence" in the management of the University's teaching quality. [cite web| url =| title = University of Keele Institutional Audit, May 2004: Summary| accessdate = 2007-03-08| publisher = Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education]

The QAA discontinued the "graded profile" method of individual subject review in 2001, [cite web| url =| title = Quality assessment and subject review: England and Northern Ireland | accessdate = 2007-03-08| publisher = Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education] At that time, the highest-graded areas of teaching at Keele were: American studies, education, philosophy, politics and international relations (scoring 24 out of a possible 24); economics and psychology (scoring 23); maths and statistics, physics and astrophysics, organismal biosciences, sociology (scoring 22); and management, nursing and midwifery, biochemistry and biomedical sciences (scoring 21).

Departments at Keele are organised into three faculties:

* The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences contains the Schools of
** Criminology, Education, and Sociology & Social Work (Criminology, Education, Social Relations)
** Economic & Management Studies (Economics, Health Planning and Management, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Management)
** Humanities (American studies, English, History, Languages, Culture and Creative Arts)
** Law (Professional Ethics, Law)
** Politics, International Relations & Philosophy.

* The Faculty of Natural Sciences contains the Schools of
** Computing & Mathematics
** Life Sciences
** Physical & Geographical Sciences
** Psychology

* The Faculty of Health contains the Schools of
** Health & Rehabilitation (Physiotherapy)
** Medicine
** Pharmacy
** Nursing & Midwifery


In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, the research of one department (Law) was rated "5*" and that of a further six departments (English, Mathematics (Applied), History, American Studies, the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment ("SPIRE") and the Centre for Science and Technology in Medicine ("CSTM")) was rated "5". An interdepartmental submission to the Social Policy and Administration panel was also rated "5".

Research in psychology, biology, Russian, music, business and management studies and community-based clinical subjects was also highly rated in the RAE 2001. [ [ Keele University ratings in RAE2001] - from Keele website]

Research activities are co-ordinated by a Graduate School [] and organised within seven Research Institutes:

* Research Institute for the Humanities
* Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice
* Research Institute for Life Course Studies
* Research Institute for Public Policy and Management
* Research Institute for the Environment, Physical Sciences and Applied Mathematics (EPSAM)
* Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine
* Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences

Since 2005, an Office of Research and Enterprise has managed Keele's "enterprise activities".

The cochlear implant was developed in the Department of Communication and Neuroscience at Keele.


Turner Collection controversy

In 1998 and 1999 there was some controversy over the decision by University authorities to sell the Turner Collection, a valuable collection of mathematical printed books including some which had belonged to Isaac Newton, in order to fund major improvements to the University Library. The collection also included first printed editions of Euclid in most of the major European languages. Senior University officials authorised the sale of the collection to a private buyer, with no guarantee that it would remain intact or within the UK. Although legally permissible, the sale was unpopular among the academic community and the controversy was fuelled by prolonged negative press coverage suggesting that the £1m sale price was too low and that the collection was certain to be broken up. [ [ a study in university management of historical textbook resources] ]

Janet Finch pay rise controversy

Early in 2007 it was announced that the Keele University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Finch, had received a pay rise of 31.7 per cent in the previous year. This took her annual salary to £212,000 which is greater than the salaries paid to the Vice-Chancellors of universities such as Cambridge and Warwick. [cite news |last=McInnes |first=Kathie |title=UNIVERSITY CHIEF'S PAY RISE TOPS 30% |url= |publisher=The Sentinel |date=25 February accessdate=2007-03-29]

In her nearly 13 years as Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, Professor Dame Janet Finch has seen the University expand substantially, masterminded the introduction of a new Medical School and overseen the development of a Science and Business Park, which is widely recognised as making a major contribution to the regeneration of North Staffordshire. [ [ Just what they did to merit a pay rise? Times Higher Education Supplement, 23rd February 2007] ]

However, critics point out that despite the success of recent expansions, Keele University has suffered the fourth biggest drop in student applications of all UK universities. Students at the university have also claimed that Finch's 'success' is down to ruthless cutbacks rather than careful investment. [cite news |last=Brough |first=Matthew |title=the VC's Pay Rise! |url= |publisher=Concourse - Keele University Student Union |date=9 March accessdate=2007-03-29|format=PDF] The cutbacks have been met with strike action. [ [ Keele academics set to strike] ]

Finch's pay will remain frozen until 2009 and following the pay rise controversy Finch was made a Dame in the 2008 Honours List.


Keele has a tradition of participation in many different sports, ranging from rugby to lacrosse, to dodgeball. Sports teams and issues raised are managed by the Athletic Union. The Leisure Centre is one of the largest dry leisure complexes in Staffordshire. [cite web|url=|title=Environment and Facilities|accessdate=2007-06-14] The Centre boasts two national standard sports halls, a single court gymnasium, a fitness centre, dance studio and climbing wall. Outside there is an all weather floodlit Astroturf pitch, tennis courts and extensive playing fields. It is also the first University Centre in the UK to offer a full "Kinesis" gym facility. [cite web|url=|title=Keele University Annual Review 2005|accessdate=2007-06-14|year=2006|format=PDF|pages=p.16]


List of University officers

Principals and Vice-Chancellors

* Lord Lindsay of Birker (1949-52)
* Sir John Lennard-Jones (1953-54)
* Sir George Barnes (1956-60)
* Dr Harold McCarter Taylor (1961-67)
* Professor W. A. Campbell Stewart (1967-79)
* Dr D. Harrison (1979-84)
* Professor Sir Brian Fender (1985-95)
* Professor Dame Janet Finch (since 1995)

Presidents and Chancellors

* The Earl of Harrowby (1949-55)
* HRH Princess Margaret (1956-86)
* Claus Moser ("Lord Moser" from 2001) (1986-2002)
* Professor Sir David Weatherall (since 2002)

Notable academics

* Joe Andrew - Russian Literature
* Dr. Anthony Grant Barrand - Anthropologist and musician
* Margaret Canovan - Political theorist
* Samuel Edward Finer - Political scientist
* Roy Fisher - British poet and jazz pianist
* Antony Flew - British philosopher
* Ronald Frankenberg - Anthropologist
* Peter Jackson - Medieval historian
* Roy McWeeny - Physicist
* Donald Nicholl - Historian and theologian
* Nicholas O'Shaughnessy - Political commentator and author
* John Sloboda - Psychologist
* David Southall - Paediatrician
* Richard Swinburne - Philosopher
* Charles Townshend - Historian
* Paul Willis - Cultural theorist
* Kwasi Wiredu - African philosopher

Notable alumni

* Stan Beckensall - Prehistoric rock art expert
* Sandra Dawson - Organizational theorist
* Richard English - Political historian
* Sam Nolutshungu - Political scientist

Arts, Media, Entertainment, Sports
* Yvette Baker - Champion orienteer
* Jo Beverley - Romantic novelist
* Carol Birch - Author
* Wayne Clarke - Radio presenter
* Bob Dickinson - Composer
* Tony Elliott - Founder and owner of "Time Out"
* Jack Emery - Television and radio producer
* Jem Finer - Member and songwriter of The Pogues
* Zulfikar Ghose - Novelist
* Robert Henderson - Writer
* Steve Jackson - Co-founder of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy
* Marina Lewycka - Author
* Andy McDermott - Author
* Keith Ovenden - Writer
* Adrian Pang - Singapore sit-com star
* David Pownall - Writer
* Sue Robbie - Television presenter
* Peter Whelan - Playwright

* Phillida Bunkle - New Zealand politician
* Paul Clark - Labour MP
* Don Foster - Liberal Democrat MP
* John Golding - Labour MP and trade union leader
* Eric Joyce - Labour MP
* Alun Michael - Labour MP
* Clare Short - Labour MP
* Adelaide Tambo - South African politician
* Ian Taylor- Conservative Party MP and Minister
* John Taylor, Baron Taylor of Warwick - British politician, first black Conservative member of the House of Lords
* Lynda Waltho - Labour MP

Public service
* Kojo Annan - Son of Kofi Annan, Former General Secretary of the UN
* David J. Cooney - Irish Ambassador to the UK
* Jonathan Dollimore - Cultural and literary theorist
* John Duncan - Ambassador
* Tarique Ghaffur - Senior police officer
* The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill - Bishop of Lichfield
* Michael Mansfield - Barrister
* Lord Melchett - Former Executive Director of Greenpeace
* Richard Mottram - UK government Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, and chair of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee
* Nick Partridge - AIDS awareness campaigner
* Brian Stewart - Ambassador
* John Vereker - Governor of Bermdua, International Development
* Dame Jo Williams - Chief Executive MENCAP
* Chris Woodhead - Chief Inspector of Schools



*cite web
url =
title = love:keele – undergraduate 2007
accessdate = 2007-03-07
author = Harrison, Jane
coauthors = Thorley, Helena
date = 2006-03-14
work = Undergraduate Prospectus 2007
publisher = Keele University

*cite book
last = Kolbert
first = John Murray
title = Keele: the first fifty years – a Portrait of the University 1950-2000
date = 2000-11-19
publisher = Melandrium Books
location = Keele, Staffordshire
isbn = 1-85856-238-4

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