Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
University of York
- This article is about the British university. For the Canadian university, see York University.
The University of York (also referred to as York University) is a campus university in York, England. It is ranked by most studies amongst the top 5 universities in the UK - coming 2nd in the 2001 Daily Telegraph university league table for instance, and regularly comes first for the quality of its teaching in official assessments. Its 30 academic departments teach around 9,000 students. The main campus occupies an area on the outskirts of the city, next to the village of Heslington; the University also inhabits a number of historic buildings in the city centre.
One of a series of new British universities, the University of York was opened in 1963 when it admitted 200 students. At the time the university consisted of three buildings; principally: King's Manor (former residence of Thomas Wentworth, and one-time headquarters of the Council of the North), and Heslington Hall (former residence of Thomas Eynns , Secretary and Keeper of the Seal to the Council of the North). A year later, work began on the Heslington Campus (see below), which today forms the main part of the University.
The university is nominally structured around its eight colleges, which provide accommodation for students and for some of the academic departments. In practice, however, college loyalties are not especially strong, and the colleges function more like halls of residence than the traditional Oxbridge colleges. The colleges are, in order of construction:
- Derwent, after the River Derwent
- Langwith, after Langwith Common and the abandoned village of Langwith
- Alcuin, after Alcuin of York, scholar and member of the court of Charlemagne
- Vanbrugh, after John Vanbrugh
- Goodricke, after John Goodricke
- Wentworth, a post-graduate only college, after Thomas Wentworth
- James , after Lord James of Rusholme (the University's first Vice Chancellor)
- Halifax , made a college in the academic year 2001/02, after Lord Halifax
All but one of the colleges are situated on the main campus, Halifax College being a short walk away on the edge of Heslington village. Eden's Court, a residential area, is part of Derwent College but residents use Halifax's facilities. There are in addition several off-campus residences: Holgate's Hall , Fairfax House , Catherine House and The Stables being the most well-known.
More generally, the campus is organised into Zones. The 8 colleges above form 8 of these zones. The remainder are:
- Central Hall, the hall where examinations and various productions are held.
- Computer Science.
- Enviromental Studies.
- Fairfax House, extra student accommodation.
- Heslington Hall.
- King's Manor, a separate University building in York city centre that houses Archaeology and parts of History.
- Library, which consists of the J.B. Morrell, Raymond Burton and Borthwick libraries.
- Physics and Electronics.
- Sports Centre.
Departments of the University are generally based in one of these zones. For example, the Mathematics department is housed in Goodricke College, the Politics department in Derwent College and the Economics department in Alcuin College. However, departments which have their own zones, such as Biology and Physics, are not attached to a particular college. These departments will usually lend their lecture theatres to other, smaller departments.
The university's music department is home to one of the earliest electronic music studios to have been built in the United Kingdom. It was also one of the first departments to include the teaching of ethnomusicology in its undergraduate courses, and has its own gamelan orchestra.
The sociology department has an active community of staff working on various topics including an influential conversation analysis group and lecturers of Sociological Theory. One of the most significant additions came with the relocation to York of the Science and Technology Studies Unit, based in the department at Wentworth College.
The Centre for Medieval Studies  is a graduate institution that supports interdisciplinary scholarship across the entire medieval era. Established in 1968, alumni of the Centre can now be found as faculty in a large number of universities around the world.
The Heslington campus
In 1964, work began on the campus facilities in the grounds of Heslington Hall. The marshy land was drained, forming the narrow, winding lake which dominates the campus, and extensively landscaped. The original buildings were designed by architect Andrew Derbyshire , and assembled using the CLASP system of prefabricated construction. Scattered around the lake, the buildings are connected by numerous covered walkways and bridges. Most of the university's arts departments inhabit the colleges, while many of the science departments have their own buildings.
A major landmark building is Central Hall, a daringly-designed half-octagonal concert hall whose appearance is frequently likened to that of a spaceship. As well as University convocations and examinations, it is used as a venue for theatrical and musical performances, and has played host to Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, and Paul McCartney. Performances by big-name acts have been rarer at the university following a 1985 Boomtown Rats concert, during which the cover of the Central Hall orchestra pit was damaged. A ban on pop performances in Central Hall was imposed by the University, although it has occasionally been waived, and Central Hall is still sometimes used for classical concerts. Concerts are also held in the music department's Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and in some of the colleges.
At the time of its construction, the campus lake is rumoured to have been the largest plastic-lined lake in Europe. It has attracted a large population of wild and feral waterfowl, including greylag, Canada, barnacle and snow geese, along with large numbers of ducks and a growing population of black swans.
The university has an unusually high number of active student societies. University Radio York, the student radio station, is the oldest independent radio station in the United Kingdom. There is also student television station YSTV, which is also an 'oldest', being England's first student TV station. YSTV's many achievements include being the one-time holder of the world record for longest continuous television broadcast under a single director.
Every summer term the students take part in the Roses Tournament, a sports competition against Lancaster University. The venue of the event alternates each year between York and Lancaster. In spring 2005, a similar tournament; the White Rose Varsity Tournament between University of York and York St John College took place.
Later in the summer, Woodstock takes place. This is a free event where a stand is set up in Vanbrugh Bowl for live bands to play. It starts early in the day and finishes long after sunset.
The student government organisation on campus is called YUSU, the membership of which currently corresponds to the entire student population. The common room committees and societies are considered integral parts of YUSU and draw the larger part of their funds from it. As well as URY and YSTV, other media organisations include newspapers Vision and nouse and the Cinematography Society.
For a number of years, the University's expansion plans have been limited by planning restrictions on the Heslington campus. Since the campus lies within the York green belt, planning conditions stipulate that only 20% of the land may be built upon. In the academic year 2003/04, plans were finalised for a second campus, on the other side of Heslington village. Called the Heslington East campus, it will be connected to the existing campus by a network of pathways and light transport links. Construction is expected to begin in the 2006/07 academic year, with the first buildings coming into use the following year.
- Haleh Afshar, professor
- Tony Banks, MP
- Hugh Bayley, MP
- Steve Beresford, musician
- Alex Callinicos, Marxist intellectual
- James Callis, actor
- AnÝbal Cavaco Silva, 11th Prime Minister of Portugal and possible Presidential candidate in 2006
- Jung Chang, writer
- Denise O'Donohue, TV producer
- Helen Dunmore, writer
- Greg Dyke, former Director General of the BBC and now Chancellor of the University (a largely ceremonial post)
- Harry Enfield, comedian
- Ambrose Field , composer
- Adam Hart-Davis, television producer / presenter
- Christine Hamilton, television personality
- Harriet Harman, MP
- Peter Hitchens, newspaper journalist
- Oona King, MP
- Mark Laity , BBC news reporter and NATO spokesman
- Peter Lord , Oscar nominated director of Aardman Animations
- Genista McIntosh , theatre director
- Dominic Muldowney , composer
- Albert Owen, MP
- Mark Russell, radio presenter
- Verity Sharp , radio presenter
- Victor Lewis-Smith, comedian
- Michael Swann, writer, film-maker
- Graham Swift, author
- Vincenzo Visco , former Italian finance minister
- Trevor Wishart , composer
- John Witherow , newspaper editor (Sunday Times)
- Tony Worthington, MP
- Sir Colville Norbert Young, Governor-General of Belize
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