Foreword: Professor Rama Thirunamachandran
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran
We are now well into 2017 and, as an institution, we have much to celebrate. We were delighted to receive news in January that our bid for £6.12 million in Government funding for a new engineering and technology centre at Christ Church had been successful.
As a University strongly committed to teaching excellence and the provision of an outstanding student experience, this funding is a significant step forward in realising our exciting plans to transform our campus in Canterbury. This includes the creation of a new Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub, which will support high-value employment, growth and investment in engineering and technology businesses in the area.
This followed news in December that we had also received planning permission from Canterbury City Council to develop the former Canterbury Prison site, a £150 million campus development over the next 10 to 15 years, which includes the new engineering hub.
We are also pleased to report that Christ Church has achieved a top-20 ranking in the country for academic staff with teaching qualifications: 68% of our academic staff hold a teaching qualification in addition to their specific academic and professional qualifications, confirming that we have one of the highest percentages of qualified teaching staff in the sector. Our excellence and innovation in teaching was further recognised recently when historian Dr Sara Wolfson was named Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) awards.
Looking to the wider world, last year was one in which we witnessed several seismic political events, including the Referendum vote for Britain to leave the European Union and the successful presidential campaign of Donald Trump. In this issue of Inspire, we shine a light on these developments with coverage of a recent report produced by colleagues in the Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) on what Brexit may mean for Kent and the region, and an expert analysis of Barack Obama’s presidential legacy by specialist Dr Mark Ledwidge.
Demonstrating the importance of connecting our academic research with the local community, we also feature the pioneering work of the University’s COaST research group, focusing on the regenerative effect of the Turner Contemporary art gallery on the seaside town of Margate.
Religious education is the primary focus of our interview with Professor Trevor Cooling, who has recently stepped down as Director of the National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER). Trevor provides fascinating insight into the acclaimed research that the Institute has undertaken to reconcile religious beliefs and educational excellence in schools, and its impact nationally.
The University’s Public Lecture Series continues in 2017 with fascinating talks by leading British political historian Lord Peter Hennessy and Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies. In our Q&A, Dame Sally discusses the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, its implications and the global response to resolve the problem.I very much hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Inspire.
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran
Vice-Chancellor and Principal