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Today (Tuesday 24 July 2018) marks an important milestone in the development of Scotland’s performing arts infrastructure.
The official ground-breaking ceremony for the University of St Andrews’ new Laidlaw Music Centre heralds a state-of-the-art facility that will be at once an intimate performance venue, a flexible rehearsal space, and a high-tech recording facility.
The new music building will allow the University to provide first class facilities for talented students, many of whom engage in music at the highest level in parallel with their main academic studies. It will create new opportunities for young people to connect with performing arts, allow the University to host national and international level recitalists, and provide access to the latest recording technology. The building will include three rehearsal rooms, ten practice rooms, a recording suite, a library and one of the finest chamber recital halls in Scotland.
The University has funded the project with philanthropic support from donors including the McPherson Trust, Sir Ewan and Lady Brown, and Lord Laidlaw. At the ground-breaking ceremony it was announced that the new building will be named the Laidlaw Music Centre in recognition of the £4 million donation which turned vision into development.
Master of the United College, Professor Garry Taylor, said: “The Laidlaw Music Centre, together with the Byre Theatre, is positioned to transform the east end of St Andrews into an exciting and vibrant cultural quarter. Many of our students are attracted to St Andrews because of the quality of our provision in the performing arts, and these talented musicians will benefit enormously from the new music centre, helping to strengthen the town’s musical life, both within the University and within the community, and connect St Andrews with national and international cultural life in new ways.”
The development forms part of the legacy of the University’s 600th anniversary fundraising campaign, one of the most ambitious fundraising efforts ever undertaken by a Scottish university
The University’s Director of Music, Michael Downes, said: “The Younger hall, where our current facilities are located, was never intended to house a busy music centre which in a typical week hosts around 40 ensemble rehearsals and almost 300 individual lessons, in addition to hundreds of hours of private practice. The new building will provide facilities to match the talent and ambition we see shining bright in the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Byre Opera, the University Chamber Orchestra, and St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra. I am excited by the potential not only to transform the musical life of the University, but to contribute to Scotland’s cultural and social value.”
The Centre, designed by architects Flanagan Lawrence, is being built in central St Andrews on a site on Queens Terrace; contributing to the features of St Mary’s Quadrangle, while complementing the neighbouring St Regulus Hall student residence and the Bute Building.
Completion is expected in late 2019.
A major fundraising campaign launched by Scotland’s oldest university to mark its 600th anniversary has reached its £100 million total.
Scholarships, support for disadvantaged students and new student facilities have been big beneficiaries of the campaign run by the University of St Andrews and launched by former student and campaign patron, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, in February 2011.
Over 14,000 St Andrews graduates, current students, staff and supporters dug deep to help the University reach its target, one of the most ambitious fundraising efforts ever undertaken by a Scottish university.
A substantial focus of the campaign was to raise funds for new scholarships and bursaries, to ensure that a St Andrews education is accessible to all bright students, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Over £27 million was raised for scholarships and student support alone, while new student facilities including a redeveloped Sports Centre, refurbished Students’ Union, a new Music Centre and a Postgraduate Research Library have all been made possible by campaign funds.
The University has set up over 500 new scholarships for disadvantaged students as a result of the campaign.
St Andrews’ world-leading portfolio of research has also helped attract support from donors.
Campaign supporters have ensured that a new £14 million Scottish Oceans Institute in St Andrews will place Scotland at the forefront of international marine research, while projects in Medicine, English, Philosophy, History, Physics and Computer Science have all drawn support from donors in gifts and pledges.
Donations ranged from pocket money pledges from kids to individual gifts of over £5 million.
Student Geordie Stewart famously took a St Andrews University banner to the top of Everest to help publicise the international fundraising effort, while in 2014 the university literally stopped the traffic in New York with a gala dinner attended by TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both of whom are St Andrews alumni.
Honorary Graduate Sir Sean Connery chipped in by narrating and backing a major documentary film about the university, Ever to Excel, directed by graduate Murray Grigor and broadcast by the BBC.
The R&A contributed a new endowed travel scholarship, and both the R&A and the St Andrews Links Trust gave generous support to the university to allow a 600th Anniversary Golf Tournament in St Andrews which attracted players from across the globe, while US President Bill Clinton, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and actress Joanna Lumley were among those to send special birthday wishes.
St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “The 600th Anniversary Campaign has been a remarkable team effort on the part of our staff and so many of our alumni and friends.
“It not only helped us realise a highly ambitious total, it has brought the St Andrews family across the world closer together than ever before, at a time when universities like St Andrews need the support and energy of their former students more than ever.
“It is particularly fitting that we are reaching the finishing line in the same week that we send another 2000 graduates out in the world, many of whom will have benefitted from 600th Campaign initiatives.
“In a time of tightly squeezed public funding, universities must increasingly rely on their imagination and drive to secure the resources needed for world-class teaching and research, and to support students who would otherwise miss the chance to fulfil their potential.
“We are hugely grateful to our patron The Duke of Cambridge for his unwavering support of this critically important initiative.”
The public launch by campaign patron HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in February 2011 marked the anniversary of the formal charter granted to the University by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in February 1411.
At the time, the Duke described his university as “far and away the best university in the world”.
The Campaign was devised and planned by Professor Louise Richardson, then the principal of St Andrews and now Vice-Chancellor at Oxford University.
Robert Fleming, St Andrews Director of Development, said: “The enduring appeal of St Andrews continues, and we owe a huge thanks to our 14,000 donors who have not only made a difference for today’s students and academics, but for those who will choose to study and work at this university for many years to come.”
Issued by the University of St Andrews
A University of St Andrews professor is the first Brit to win a prestigious international prize for his contribution to psychology.
Stephen Reicher, Wardlaw Professor in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University, has been awarded the 2018 Harold Lasswell Award by the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP).
The award, which is the most prestigious award the ISPP present, has been made in recognition of Professor Reicher’s “distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology”.
Professor Reicher said: “I am surprised and delighted in equal measure by the award. I have always felt that there is little point in doing research if it doesn’t make a difference – and it is self-evident in today’s world that there is much room for improvement in the quality of our political processes and political leadership.”
Professor Reicher, who is the first British academic to receive the honour, was last year presented with the ISPP Nevitt Sanford award which recognises work in the field of psychology which is both accessible and has the potential to make a positive difference to the workings of politics.
A social psychologist, Professor Reicher specialises in how people behave in groups. His influential work on crowd behaviour, political rhetoric and mass social influence, solidarity and social cohesion, intergroup hatred, conformity and obedience, and the psychology of tyranny is widely regarded as ground-breaking.
His recent work has involved the study of authoritarian leadership and resulted in him successfully predicting the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
A Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Professor Reicher is committed to applying his research to practical use in society.
He has served as consultant to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, as well as the Police and the Emergency services in the UK, has advised the Scottish and UK governments and, through his research, has influenced policy both in the UK and globally.
The ISPP is a US non-profit organisation founded in 1978 which represents all fields of inquiry concerned with exploring the relationships between political and psychological processes and includes members from various fields, from psychology to political scientist, and historians among others.
The University is proud to confirm that our Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award has been renewed for a further three years, and that the Schools of Biology and Psychology and Neuroscience have achieved Athena SWAN Silver Awards.
The Athena SWAN Charter awards, announced today (Monday 7 May), recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.
In a message to staff, St Andrews Principal Professor Sally Mapstone said:
“My warmest thanks and congratulations go to all of you who continue to work so hard with us to develop an inclusive culture that values all staff and eliminates gender bias.
“In addition to the institutional Bronze Award, St Andrews now has four Schools with individual Silver Awards.
“St Andrews has made important progress in equality in the last few years, for example through: sponsoring 25 future female leaders on the Aurora programme; gaining Carer Positive Employer status; and achieving and renewing LGBT charter recognition (the only Scottish HEI to have that recognition).
“Our progress is now becoming more rapid, and in the last 18 months we have taken some important steps. Importantly, core meeting hours have been implemented, a university nursery has been established and we have piloted on-site crèche facilities for training events – all of which help those with caring responsibilities to be fully included. In addition, mandatory workload model principles have been implemented to ensure fairness in service commitments, including commitments to Athena SWAN – enabling all Schools to be engaged.
“We have revised our promotion process to provide better recognition of teaching, impact and service, to the advantage of women leading in these areas, including our first professor (a woman) promoted on the basis of teaching.
“We are also determined to see more women coming forward for promotion, more rapidly. A new in-house mentoring programme for academic senior women, the Elizabeth Garrett programme, has been launched as a pilot, and we will look to learn from this and broaden it out as best makes sense institutionally.
“However, there is much more we can, and ought, to do to help all of our staff – regardless of gender, orientation, race or personal circumstance – both to contribute to, and benefit from, our pursuit of excellence. To that end, we have established a Gender Diversity and Inclusion research fund which has so far stimulated 14 projects across the sciences, social sciences and humanities. I write to you on the day on which we are also holding our first conference associated with the fund’s research.
“You will be aware that the issue of gender pay inequality has been receiving a great deal of attention in public of late, as a consequence of the UK Government’s decision to require all employers with a workforce greater than 250 to publish this spring their gender pay gap data.
“In Scotland, our universities are exempt from this requirement until 2019. For St Andrews, I don’t believe that is good enough.
“That is why we are preparing a comprehensive pack of data and information on our gender pay gap, building on the information we have already published, to allow meaningful comparison with other institutions, companies and organisations.
“We will publish this information as soon as possible so that as a whole our community can see where challenge and unfairness may persist, and as a community we can debate how we think it can be effectively addressed.
“We require continued culture change, and that can only happen with debate about the factors that have led us to where we are. That may be uncomfortable for some, but I am determined that this issue should be in the open in St Andrews, and that we develop a sense of common purpose and hope about the future.
“Promoting inclusivity and fairness is my highest priority and I am confident that across our community academics, professional services staff and students working together are equally committed.
“I believe that the green shoots of culture change are now visible throughout our institution and that it is the better for it. Please help us do still more.”
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office
The University of St Andrews has once again been ranked the best university in Scotland and third in the UK behind Oxbridge, according to a new higher education league table published today (29 May 2018).
The Guardian Universtiy Guide 2019 places St Andrews as the Scottish university in the top 20 of the 121 universities ranks
The results show St Andrews has consolidated its third-placed UK ranking behind Cambridge in first place and is now 0.2% points behind second-placed Oxford.
This is the fifth time Scotland’s oldest university has been ranked among the UK’s top three universities in the Guardian league tables.
St Andrews was ranked first in the UK for student satisfaction with their courses and with teaching.
The Guardian’s league table ranks universities according to: spending per student; the student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; the grades applicants require to be offered a place; a value-added score that compares students’ entry qualifications with their final degree results; and how satisfied final year students are with their courses, based on results from the annual National Student Survey (NSS).
This year a new continuation measurement has been introduced for the rankings based on whether students continue beyond their first year, and this has seen a shift in the rankings.
St Andrews academic schools again performed strongly with 18 of the University’s 20 subjects in the UK top 10:
The National Student Survey (NSS) named St Andrews the UK’s top mainstream university, the tenth time in the past 12 years that the Scottish university has been at the very top of the comprehensive analysis of the views of the United Kingdom’s student community.
A high-profile census of nearly half a million students, the NSS is undertaken independently by Ipsos MORI and evaluates how satisfied students are with the quality of their higher education experience.
94% of St Andrews final year students surveyed gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience. The survey reflects student responses to core questions relating to academic support, learning resources, teaching, management, assessment, personal development and satisfaction.
St Andrews Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “This is a terrific result and a tribute to the commitment of academic and professional staff across the University of St Andrews who provide an outstanding environment and experience for our students. St Andrews students recognise the exceptional quality of learning and teaching, facilities, and support at our University. We work in partnership with our students to ensure we continue to excel in this regard, and we take nothing for granted. These results demonstrate that those students joining our academic family in 2018 have made the right choice in calling St Andrews home.
“Scottish universities are setting excellent standards in UK education, and we are proud to lead in the NSS, and to demonstrate our deep-rooted commitment to academic excellence and the student experience.”
Paloma Paige, President of the St Andrews Students’ Association, added: “It is gratifying to see that these results reflect the unique student experience that we offer here at St Andrews. The Students’ Association, the University, and individual students work throughout the year to contribute to that overall experience, contributions which make a positive and lasting impact. The high level of student engagement at St Andrews demonstrates that our students not only care about actively contributing, but also that they truly value the experience they receive during their time here.
“The results of the NSS Survey provide a snapshot to anyone curious about what we offer here at St Andrews, and hopefully will encourage students around the world to contribute to the St Andrews experience themselves.”
The NSS results follow a strong performance by the University in the Guardian University Guide 2019 where it was the only Scottish university in the top 20 of the 121 universities ranked.
Issued by the University of St Andrews