University of Stirling

University of Stirling

Infobox University
name = University of Stirling
native_name = Oilthigh Sruighlea (Gaelic)

motto = "Innovation and Excellence"
established = 1967
type = Public
endowment_label=Revenue £83,360,000 (2006) [ [ 2006 Stirling University Financial Statements] ]
staff = 1,872cite web| url=| title=Scottish Funding Council - Description of Human Resources Management Modernisation in the University Sector|month=September | year=2004| author=Scottish funding council| work=Stirling University| accessdate=2007-12-04]
faculty =
head_label=Chairman of the Court
head=Alan Simpson
principal = Professor Christine Hallett
chancellor = James Naughtie
students = 8,940cite web |url= |title=Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2005/06 |work=Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics |accessdate=2007-04-05]
undergrad = 6,905
postgrad = 2,030
other = 10 FE
doctoral =
city = Stirling
state =
country = Scotland, UK
campus =
free_label =
free =
affiliations = Association of Commonwealth Universities
website =

The University of Stirling founded in 1967, in Stirling, Scotland. "The Times" 2008 University Ranking tables placed the university fifth in Scotland and thirty-seventh in a list of 113 UK universities.cite web
last = O'Leary
first = John
authorlink = John O'Leary (journalist)
coauthors =
title = Good University Guide 2007
work = Times Online
publisher = The Times
date =
url =
format = HTML
doi =
accessdaymonth = 6 September
accessyear = 2006
] The original vision for the university at its inception, reflecting the national zeitgeist of expanding the University sector, was to provide higher education for people from all walks of life, encouraging them to fulfil their academic potential. The legacy of this egalitarian approach to education continues to permeate the University today, with some 92.2% of undergraduates entering from state schools or further educationcite web| url=| title=Stirling|month=September | year=2004| author=The good university guide| work=Stirling University| accessdate=2007-12-04] . The University of Stirling has also established itself as one of the UK's leading research-intensive universities in the fields of health and well-being, the environment, culture and society, enterprise, economics, and sport. cite web| url=| title=About Us / Our Profile|month=September | year=2004| author=University of Stirling| work=Stirling University| accessdate=2007-12-04]

History & Campus Development

The main campus is situated around 2 miles (3km) from the centre of Stirling, but is much closer to the town of Bridge of Allan. It was formerly the estate of the Robert Adam-designed Airthrey Castle, which the University has retained and incorporated into the campus as teaching facilities and offices. It is regularly described as one of the most beautiful campuses in the worldcite web |url=,,491265,00.html |title=Stirling University |work=The Guardian |accessdate=2007-04-05] , and nestles at the foot of Abbey Craig and the Ochil Hills in 300 acres (1.2 km²) of grounds centred around the 18th century man-made Airthrey Lochcite web |url= |title=InStirling |work=Airthrey Estate Overview |accessdate=2007-04-05] . In 2002, the University of Stirling and the landscape of the Airthrey Estate was designated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites as one of the top 20 heritage sites of the 20th century within the UK.

Stirling University is a "Plate Glass University", established as a result of the Robbins Report on Higher education, along with Heriot-Watt University, the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde. This increased the number of universities in Scotland from four to eight. Stirling was however the only completely new institution of its kind established in Scotland since the University of Edinburgh was founded in 1582. The campus was selected from a shortlist of competing sites that also included Dumfries, Inverness, Ayr, Falkirk, Perth and Cumbernauld. The report's author, Lord Robbins, was later appointed the University's first Chancellor in 1968. The campus was originally designed by the Scottish architectural practice, Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall, in a low-rise, highly functional, modern style, envisaged in order to integrate with the contours of the surrounding landscapecite web|url= |title=Stirling University |work=Library and Campus History and Redevelopment|accessdate=2007-04-05|format=PDF] . When the University first received its Royal Charter on 13 November 1967, there were 164 undergraduate and 31 postgraduate students. Around 45,000 students have graduated since. [cite web|url =|title = Life Begins at 40|accessdate = 2007-09-02|year = 2007|month = July|publisher =] The University of Stirling however has a relatively small student population, ranking 87th in the UK.

The principal administrative and teaching facilities were originally housed in the Pathfoot Building, which was completed in 1968 and subsequently saw several extensions over the years, including a Tropical Aquarium in 1979 and a Virology unit in 1987. In 1993 the Pathfoot Building was selected by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of sixty key Scottish monuments of the post-war era. It was also voted as one of Prospect's 100 best modern Scottish buildings. Pathfoot was later complemented by the Cottrell Building, which began development in 1970 and houses numerous lecture theatres, departmental offices, classrooms and computer labs. The Cottrell Building was further enhanced with the completion of the Courtroom extension in 1998 and is currently undergoing a façade recladding project. The University Library and Andrew Miller Building were completed in 1971cite web|url=|title=History of the Estate - Cottrell and Pathfoot Development|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] . The Library holds over 500,000 volumes, over 9,000 journals and is about to undergo a major refurbishment programmecite web|url= |title=Stirling University |work=Library Refurbishment Project|accessdate=2007-04-05|format=PDF] . The Andrew Miller Building incorporates an Atrium, which has several retail and food outlets, including a bookstore, bank and general store. The Atruim also acts as the principal hub for most day-to-day campus activities, due to its central location, linking together the Library and Robbins' Centre Students Union, as well as connecting bridges to both the Cottrell Building and on-campus student residences. The University's first Principal, Professor Tom Cottrell, believed that art should be part of the everyday cultural experience at the University, and his inspiration led to the establishment of the MacRobert Arts Centre, which is a small theatre and cinema complex, located adjacent to the Andrew Miller Building. The Centre is open both to members of the University community and to the general public. Stirling has also developed a considerable Fine art collection since 1967, comprising over 300 works including; paintings, tapestries and sculpturecite web|url=|title=Art at Stirling|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] .

A Royal visit to the site in the early seventies caused considerable controversy; student protests against the Queen's visit were vociferous and, in some cases, fuelled by alcohol, and the disturbances were widely condemned in the press and the local community, where students were refused access to buses and other facilities for a time.

As the University has continued to expand since its inception, further development has taken place including; the R.G. Bomont Building, which was completed in 1998, and houses the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, the Iris Murdoch building, opened in 2002 for The Dementia Services Development Centre, and the Colin Bell Building, completed in 2003 for the Department of Applied Social Science.

In 2006, the University catered for nearly 9,000 students, around a third of whom live on-campus. There are several student Halls of Residence located on-campus, which include; Andrew Stewart Hall, A.K. Davidson Hall, Murray Hall, Geddes Court, Alexander Court and Muirhead House. There are also other halls of residence located off-campus, within Stirling city centre, including; Union Street and John Forty's Court. Students of over 80 nationalities are represented at the university, with 14 per cent of students coming from overseascite web|url= |title=Visitor Information|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] .

The University has developed major industrial research links, with a large science park - Innovation Park, located immediately adjacent to the main university campus. Innovation Park has grown since its initiation in 1993, and is now home to 40 companies engaging in various forms of research and developmentcite web|url=|title=About Us|work=Stirling University Innovation Park|accessdate=2007-04-05] . The university also owns a highly successful International Conference Centre, Stirling Management Centre, which is located on campus, and is a purpose built conference and management training centre and the first Conference Centre of Excellence in Scotland. cite web|url= |title=About Us|work=Stirling Management Centre|accessdate=2007-04-05] .

port facilities

As Scotland’s leading university for sportcite web|url= |title=Stirling Overview|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] , the University has a comprehensive range of sports facilities and is one of only sixteen universities in the UK with 5-star sports facilities cite web|url= |title=External Visitor Information|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] . The University has its own 9-hole Golf course and driving range, and a host of other sporting facilities are located in and around the campus. The Gannochy National Tennis Centre on the University campus is recognised as a national centre of excellencecite web|url= |title=University background|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] , and also has an indoor swimming pool, badminton and squash courts, gymnasium, sports halls and all-weather playing fields available for student, staff and public use. The campus has been selected as the headquarters for the Scottish Institute of Sport, the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland and Scottish Swimming. A new 50-metre swimming pool was completed in 2002 as part of the Scottish National Swimming Academy. Further development is planned, with the creation of a football academy on campus by March 2008 and the proposed development of a Centre for Sporting Excellence. Scholarships are available in six core sports: canoeing, golf, squash, swimming, tennis and triathlon, which allows student athletes to prepare for international competitioncite web|url= |title=Strategic Plan|work=Stirling University Strategic Plan Overview for 2007 to 2011|accessdate=2007-04-05|format=PDF] .

The Highland and Western Isles campuses

As well as the main campus in Stirling, the University also has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway which specialise in Nursing and Midwifery. The Highland site is on the outskirts of Inverness and within the grounds of Raigmore Hospital. The site has purpose-built teaching facilities and student accommodation, recently benefiting from its relocation to the new Centre for Health Science, officially opened in January 2007cite web|url= |title=2006 Annual Review|work=Stirling University 2006 Annual Review|accessdate=2007-04-05|format=PDF] . The Highland Health Sciences Library is also on this campus, and caters for both the students and staff of the University as well as the employees of NHS Highland and its associated Trusts.

The Western Isles campus is located in Stornoway and the teaching accommodation is an integral part of the recently built Western Isles Hospital. This is a small campus site which also has student accommodation within the environs of the Lewis Hospital.

Academic Departments

The University is organised academically into 19 departments:

*Department of Accounting and Finance
*Department of Applied Social Science
*Institute of Aquaculture
*School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
*Department of Computing Science and Mathematics
*Department of Economics
*The Stirling Institute of Education
*Department of English Studies
*Department of Film and Media Studies
*Department of History
*School of Languages, Culture and Religion
*School of Law
*Department of Management
*Department of Marketing
*Department of Nursing and Midwifery
*Department of Philosophy
*Department of Politics
*Department of Psychology
*Department of Sports Studies


Since its inception, Stirling has offered modular degree programmes allowing greater flexibility and choice. Stirling was the first United Kingdom university to introduce the system of two semesters rather than having three terms. The first semester lasts from mid-September to Christmas and the second from mid-February to the end of May. Programmes are also offered in the evening and during the summer through the "Summer Academic Programme".

There are now over 256 courses (including combination courses) at the undergraduate degree level. A wide variety of courses are also available at the postgraduate level.

The University has always been highly rated for teaching. Excellent teaching ratings for politics, accounting, finance, economics, sociology, religious studies, business studies, psychology and English language demonstrate Stirling's expertise in the arts and social sciences. Among the natural sciences, environmental science also achieved high ratings, its success reflected in the recently completed School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, with substantially refurbished facilities for both teaching and research. All but one of the subjects assessed for teaching quality were rated at least "highly satisfactory" and was ranked in the top ten in the UK for Teaching Assessment by "The Times Higher Education Supplement". The Philosophical Gourmet report ranks Stirlings' joint graduate philosophy programme with the University of St Andrews as second in the UK and joint 13th in the English-Speaking worldcite web|url=|title=Overall Rankings
work=Ranking Of Top 50 Faculties In The English-Speaking World
] .

Despite a fall in graduate recruitment in recent years, the percentage of Stirling graduates in employment six months after graduation continues to rise. Stirling is ranked third in the UK for graduate employability, according to the 2006 Sunday Times Good University Guide.


Stirling University's range of specialist research centres include; the Scottish Network for Economic Methodology, the Institute of Aquaculture, the Centre for European Neighbourhood Studies, the Centre for Environmental History and Policy, Stirling Media Research Institute, Social Work Research Centre, Centre for Social Research on Dementia, Scottish Addiction Studies, Scottish Network for Chronic Pain Research Centre, Scottish Centre for Information on Language, Teaching and Research, the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Institute for Retail Studies.

In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Stirling witnessed a dramatic upturn in its research performance, with more than half of the University’s research-active academics now working in subjects in the top rated category of "5" (which indicates that the majority of the research in these areas is deemed to attain levels of at least national excellence, with a high proportion meeting international standards of excellence). Half the academic departments are ranked top in Scotland for research. The "5"-rated subjects include: accounting, finance and law; aquaculture; film and media studies; English studies; French; history; psychology; philosophy; social work; religious studies. Other subject areas were also highly rated: biological sciences; business and management; economics; education; German; sports studies.

The University's funding for research following the 2001 RAE increased more than any other pre-1992 university in Scotland, and was amongst the largest increases in the UK. The University has a developing track record in externally funded research, attracting grants and awards from bodies such as the Research Councils, central and local government, the European Union, and charitable sources. It conducts high quality research ranging from basic through strategic to applied, making a vital contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of Scotland and beyond.

Governance and administration

Unlike the Ancient universities of Scotland, Stirling University's constitution is laid out in its Royal Charter, rather than the Universities (Scotland) Acts. The administrative structure is however broadly similar, with the University Court (governing and financial body) and the Academic Council (academic affairs) based upon the ancient modelcite web|url= |title=Court and Committees|accessdate=2007-04-05] . The University's constitution, academic regulations, and appointments are comprehensively outlined in the University calendarcite web|url=|title=University Calendar|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] .

University Court

The governing body of the University is the University Court. It has overall responsibility for the management of the University’s resources, the ongoing strategic direction of the University and the approval of major developments. It also receives regular reports from Executive Officers on the day to day operation of the University's business. The Court meets four times over the course of the academic year.

Academic Council

Academic Council is the body which is responsible for the management of academic affairs, awarding of all degrees, and for the regulation and superintendence of the education, discipline and welfare of the students of the University. While the Court has the final responsibility for governing the University, on academic matters it will normally only act on the recommendation of Academic Council. The Council consists of various academics and is chaired by the Principal of the university.

Committees and Executive Officers

There are also a number of committees supporting both the Court and Academic Council, that make important decisions and investigate matters referred to them. Day to day management of the University is undertaken by the University Principal (who is also Vice-Chancellor) and the Chairman of Court. The role of Chancellor itself is largely honorific, the current Chancellor is Dame Diana Rigg. The current principal is Professor Christine Hallett and the current chairman of court is Alan Simpsoncite web|url=|title=Senior Officers of the University|work=Stirling University|accessdate=2007-04-05] .

There are also several Deputy Principals, each with a specific remit. They, along with the University Secretary, play a major role in the day to day management of the university.

tudent representation

The students of the University are represented by Stirling University Students' Association (S.U.S.A.) which was named "Best Students' Union in Scotland" by the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association in 2003cite web|url=|title='Best Students Union in Scotland 2003' |work=SUSA|accessdate=2007-04-05] . The Association is based on-campus in the Robbins Centre Students' Union. It is primarily responsible for providing entertainment, welfare and information services to students and also, through the SUSA Council and Executive, representing students interests to organisations including the University itself, which includes senior members being entitled to seats on the University Courtcite web|url= |title=About SUSA |work=SUSA|accessdate=2007-04-05] . On its premises in the Robbins Centre it runs two bars: "Studio" and "Long-Bar". SUSA is also affiliated to an eclectic body of clubs and societies, ranging from the Philhellenic Society to the Labour Students Society. The Sports Union branch of SUSA also supports some 40 sports clubs ranging from Athletics to Waterpolo via Octopush and Fencingcite web|url= |title=Sports Union |work=SUSA|accessdate=2007-04-05] . There are also a number of clubs within the University that are not affiliated to SUSA, such as the Debating Union and Tayforth Officers Training Corps.

Stirling University also has student-run media services. "Brig" has been the campus newspaper since 1969. "Air3 1350", was the first campus radio station in Scotland and "AirTV" (formerly Videoworks) is a television station for students.


*Ranked 1st in UK for widening access to Higher Education, teaching and research standards, and low non-completion rates ("Times Higher Education Supplement", 2002)
*The University was ranked among the Top 10 Universities in the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for the UK's Best Student Experience 2006
*In 2006, The Times University Ranking tables placed the university thirty-seventh in a list of 109 UK universitiescite web
last = O'Leary
first = John
authorlink = John O'Leary (journalist)
coauthors =
title = Good University Guide 2007
work = Times Online
publisher = The Times
date =
url =,,716,00.html
format = HTML
doi =
accessdaymonth = 6 September
accessyear = 2006

*Ranked in Top 20 in UK for the following subjects: "Education" (#6), "Philosophy" (#14), "Communications and Media Studies" (#14), and "Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation, Sport and Tourism" (#15)
*One of only 16 universities in the UK with 5 star sports facilities ("Sunday Times", 2003)
*Ranked 1st in Scotland for the Best Students' Union in Scotland award (Bar Entertainment and Dance Association, 2003)
*Ranked 23rd in the UK for awarding firsts and upper seconds ("Times Higher Education Supplement", 2003)
*In The Times Good University Guide (June 2006), Accounting and Finance was listed as one of the Top 20 university departments in the UK for Accounting and Finance - one of only four Scottish departments to make the Top 20
*Ranked 20th in the UK for Politics and 28th in the UK for Economics by The Guardiancite web|url=|title=Subject Rankings - Economics |work=The uardian|accessdate=2007-04-05] cite web|url= |title=Subject Rankings - Politics |work=The uardian|accessdate=2007-04-05]

=Notable academics and alumni=


* Norman Longworth, honorary Professor of Lifelong Learning
* Duncan Pritchard, Professor of Philosophy and founding member of the Knowledge, Mind and Value project.
* Douglas Brownlie, Professor of Marketing
* Ray Kent, Professor of Marketing
* Jimmy Young, Professor of Marketing
* Jean Redpath, (honorary staff) folk singer
* Norman MacCaig, reader in poetry
* Herbert Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Physics
* Steward Sutherland, former lecturer, later Baron Sutherland of Houndwood
* David Bebbington, honorary Professor of History
* David Blanchflower, Professor of Economics, Monetary Policy Committee Member.


* Iain Banks, author
* Alan Bissett, writer
* Jonathan Clements, author
* Jackie Kay, poet and writer
* Davy King, writer
* Fiona Ritchie, radio presenter
* Mark Hughes, editor of "attitude" magazine, leading gay publication
* Mark Cousins, film critic
* Grace Dent, reporter, author and television criticPolitics
* Jack McConnell, Former First Minister of Scotland
* Michael Connarty, MP for Falkirk East
* John Reid, MP, former Home Secretary
* Tommy Sheridan, Leader of Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement, former MSP
* Gordon Banks, Labour MP
* Bill Butler, Labour MSP
* Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP
* Scott Barrie, Labour MSP
* Richard Lochhead, SNP MSP
* Kenneth Gibson, SNP MSP
* Shirley-Anne Somerville, SNP MSP
* John Kelly, Ruler of all Man

* Gordon Sherry, professional golfer
* Richie Ramsay, winner of the 2006 United States Men's Amateur Golf Championship
* Sir Bill Gammell, rugby international and businessman
* Angela Mudge, former world champion hill runner

* Chris Lilley, W3C internet architect
* Neil Brailsford QC, Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates
* Michael Kassotakis, Business Consultant and Services Provider,
* Derek Lambie, Journalist, Editor Scottish Sunday Express
* Jayne Secker, Journalist, Sky News
* Paul Lewis, Presenter, BBC Radio 4 Money Box
* Neil Davidson, QC, Solicitor General for Scotland 2000-01, Advocate General for Scotland 2006- . Created a Life Peer, March 2006: Baron Davidson of Glen Clova
* Susan Morrison, Presenter, Talk 107


External links

* [ University of Stirling official website]
* [ Stirling University Students' Association Website]
* [ Unofficial forum]
* [ Stirling Management Centre - Conference Centre]
* [ Conference Centres of Excellence: Stirling Management Centre]

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