A major international conference being held at The University of Nottingham will recognise the life and legacy of a man who left an indelible mark on UK higher education "“ Lord Ron Dearing.
The Lord Dearing Memorial Conference will feature a series of high-profile speakers including the Rt Hon Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, and Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The conference, entitled "The Future of Higher Education", will be an opportunity for key figures to shape the debate on issues such as funding for long-term sustainability, internationalisation, the evaluation of performance in the sector and the global economic crisis. It takes place on February 11, 2010, and is co-sponsored by Times Higher Education .
Lord Dearing died in February 2009, at the age of 78. He played a transformational role in the world of education over many decades and chaired the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, which produced the landmark report Higher Education in the Learning Society in 1997, universally known as the Dearing Report. He was made a life peer in 1998 in recognition of his work.
Educated at Doncaster Grammar School, the University of Hull and the London Business School, he rose through the Civil Service grades to eventually become Deputy Secretary on nationalised industry matters in the Department of Industry. He became prominent nationally as chairman of The Post Office from 1981-1987. Major appointments in higher education followed, as chairman of the Universities Funding Council and its successor body the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Lord Dearing became the fifth Chancellor of The University of Nottingham when he was elected to office in May 1993.
During his term of office he saw a major expansion of the University's student numbers, the opening of the Jubilee Campus and establishment of The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC). Lord Dearing also presided over events to mark the University's Golden Jubilee year.
Since 1999 the University has run the Lord Dearing Awards for Teaching and Learning, which celebrate the achievements of staff in enhancing the student learning experience. The scheme, supported personally by Lord Dearing each year, has seen more than 100 members of staff receive an award for high quality teaching and the support of learning. The Dearing Building, which is home to the School of Education on the Jubilee Campus, was named in his honour in 2001.
Lord Dearing was succeeded as Chancellor in 2000 by distinguished Chinese physicist and academician Professor Yang Fujia. But he retained close links with the University, and spoke on campus at the Festschrift event for former Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Campbell, in September 2008.
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: "This is a fitting tribute to Ron Dearing, who had a profound influence on UK universities and served as a wonderful Chancellor of our University for seven years.
"We are very much looking forward to celebrating his life, and his legacy, when we gather with colleagues from around the world to debate the issues that will shape the future of higher education."
Professor Greenaway will be speaking at the conference on "The globalisation of higher education and the rise of Asia".
Other speakers at the event include:
- Bahram Bekhradnia, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute â”â“ "The market for international students"
- Professor Nicholas Barr, Dept of Economics, London School of Economics â”â“ "Fees and Loans"
- Dr Alice P Gast, President, Lehigh University â”â“ "The global economic crisis and higher education"
- Professor Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent â”â“ "Financing science and technology"
- Professor MC van der Wende, Dean, Amsterdam University College â”â“ "League tables"
- Professor Jo Ritzen, President, Maastrict University â”â“ "Changing Patterns of Competition"
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as "world-leading" or "internationally excellent". Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation â”â“ School of Pharmacy), and was named "Entrepreneurial University of the Year" at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.