From its beginnings,
the University has sought to be excellent in both teaching and
research. It has now secured its place as one of the UK's leading
research universities, confirmed by the results of the government's
Research Assessment Exercises of 1986, 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2001.
In all of these, Warwick has been placed in the top half dozen
or so of universities for the quality of its research. Most recently,
in the results of the 2001 exercise announced in December 2001,
Warwick was placed fifth with over 90% of its staff working in
departments rated 5 or 5*, the top two grades.
always taken the view that good research informs and strengthens
the quality of education that it is able to offer its students.
The original conception for the academic structure of the University
was not to impose overall academic prescription but to make early
appointments to the first professorships, selecting candidates
with fresh and constructive ideas on how studies in their areas
should be organised and developed. The planning of courses developed
organically with a marked emphasis on inter-disciplinary cooperation.
Business Studies and Engineering - both looking firmly towards
the manufacturing heartlands of the West Midlands - were early
developments. Warwick was a pioneer in seeking industrial-academic
links, a key component of its strategy today just as it was in
the original vision of the first Vice-Chancellor, Mr J B Butterworth
(Lord Butterworth) and the Chairman of the Promotion Committee
for the University, Lord Rootes. Since the early 1990s, when there
has been external assessment of the quality of individual subjects
in higher education in the UK, Warwick has done consistently well.
The first subject was assessed in 1993 and the last, in the current
round, in December 2001. The results show that the University
has scored a rating of >21 points out of the maximum 24 (or
the earlier equivalent of an "excellent" grade) on 22
occasions out of the 24 subjects assessed. These include 7 maximum
scores of 24 and 5 "excellents".
University has become increasingly popular with students (there
are now 9 applications for every available place) and the average
A level score on entry is AAB, it has been a mark of Warwick's
strategy to encourage and facilitate admission from those less
well-advantaged and from poorer backgrounds. From its beginnings,
it has welcomed applications from mature students (who often have
no formal qualifications but can show the potential necessary
for higher education). Warwick offered extra-mural courses from
its inception but in 1985, was given responsible body status in
the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire sub-region which had previously
been held by Birmingham University. Today, there are over 8000
registrations on the extra-mural Open Studies programme each year.
In 1986, Warwick launched what has been a highly successful part-time
degrees programme. In 1991 the University initiated an innovative
shared 2+2 degree programme with a group of local FE Colleges
which was specifically aimed at individuals with few if any formal
qualifications and who were often in situations of considerable
social and economic disadvantage. Warwick is also the only research-intensive
university that has involved itself in the new Foundation Degrees
that were piloted by the government from 2001.
its strategy with a wish to be enterprising and outward-looking
from its foundation. It sought to match academic excellence with
relevance, a policy which was not always popular in the late 1960s
and early 1970s but which has become one of its hallmarks and
recently led Prime Minister Blair to say that "Warwick is
a beacon among British Universities for its dynamism, quality
and entrepreneurial zeal" and President Clinton to give his
last major policy address on the campus in December 2000. When
government decided to fund universities on a more differential
basis in the 1980s which led to sharp downward changes in centrally-provided
grants, the University seized the opportunity to look at ways
in which it could augment public monies with income generated
through its own activities. Many of these ventures are located
in departments - thus exemplifying the point about combining academic
excellence with enterprise - but they also include three thriving
post-experience residential training centres (Arden House [founded
in1982], Radcliffe House  and Scarman House ), retail
outlets and an award-winning vacation conference business. The
money generated in these ways has been a significant factor in
the development of the University both academically and physically.
In 1984, the
University of Warwick Science Park was opened on a site adjacent
to the University, a joint venture between the University and
the local authorities of Coventry City, Warwickshire and West
Midlands Enterprise. This has developed to become one of the UK's
most successful Science Parks with satellites in Coventry and
Warwick and managed space in Solihull. The Park is now home to
85 high technology companies and manages 424,000 square feet of
space with a turnover of £4.4m. More recently the University
has invested in and successfully won government support for a
series of initiatives to develop a culture in which academic inventions
can be exploited either through licensing or in spin-off companies.
Warwick Ventures was founded in 1999 jointly with the University
of Warwick Science Park. This was followed by a joint venture
principally with the University of Birmingham to establish a seed
fund for new ideas and the location of the Mercia Institute of
Enterprise on the campus, again jointly with Birmingham but with
a role for all West Midlands universities.
has sought through its activities to play a significant role in
the economic and social life of its region. It has considerable
linkages with local business and enterprise through the Warwick
Manufacturing Group and Business School, works closely with local
schools and FE Colleges and has attracted significant new investment
to the Coventry area. In 2004 the University opened new offices
in the heart of Birmingham and London, strengthening its regional
and national profile. Its Arts Centre, the first phase of which
was built in 1974 and was further extended twice in the 1980s,
is home to a concert hall, two theatres, a film theatre, a music
centre, the Mead Art Gallery, conference facilities, restaurants
and a bookshop. It attracts 280,000 visitors every year to over
2000 events and has a significant national and international reputation.
It was originally built from the considerable generosity of The
Martin Trust (Helen Martin was a local woman who became the University's
first significant benefactor). The Trust which continued after
her death continues to support the Arts Centre, the resident string
quartet (the Coull Quartet) and has contributed significantly
to other capital and educational projects over the years at Warwick
to a value of £19m at today's prices.
first Chancellor was Lord Radcliffe, who continued in office until
his death in April 1977. He was succeeded by Lord Scarman, who
retired from office in 1989. Warwick's third Chancellor was Sir
Shridath Ramphal, who presided over the University from 1989 -
2002. The University's present Chancellor, Sir Nicholas Scheele,
was appointed in March 2002.
founding Vice-Chancellor was Mr J.B. Butterworth (Lord Butterworth),
who guided the University through its formative years and provided
much of the vision for the University's future growth and success.
His achievement was to establish Warwick firmly on the national
stage, to set a basic strategy and culture for the University
which still obtains today and to oversee the building of a university
on what was a greenfield site. He was succeeded in September 1985
by Dr C.L. Brundin. As Vice-Chancellor from 1985 until 1992, Dr.
Brundin presided over a period of expansion and success: student
numbers doubled, postgraduates increased by >250% and Warwick
established itself firmly in the top tier of UK research universities.
Dr Brundin was succeeded in 1993 by Professor Sir Brian Follett,
formerly Biological Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal
Society, and Agricultural and Food Research Council Research Professor
in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol.
In 1994, Sir Brian launched the Warwick Research Fellowships,
a £10m scheme, entirely financed by the University, which
brought to Warwick a cohort of some of the brightest young researchers
in the UK and abroad. His successful academic leadership resulted
in the excellent results for the University in the Research Assessment
Exercises of 1996 and 2001, the successes in external teaching
assessments referred to above and the considerable popularity
of the University as a place to work and study. Sir Brian also
presided over an ambitious building programme that resulted in
>£100m of new capital projects during his leadership.
Sir Brian retired in 2001 and has been succeeded by Professor
David VandeLinde, formerly Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering
at Johns Hopkins University and latterly Vice-Chancellor at the
University of Bath. His period as Vice-Chancellor has already
been marked by an emphasis on building links and partnerships
with the local community, an enhanced international strategy and
welcoming of HRI Wellesbourne and Kirton to the University as
Warwick HRI. The Vice-Chancellor has played a key role in assisting
Government to reduce the amount of bureaucracy faced by British
is situated on land granted by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire
County Council in the early 1960s as noted before. The first buildings
were completed in 1965 (and now house Mathematics, Statistics
and Biological Sciences); by 1970 the Library, Science and Arts
Buildings and Rootes Residences had been built on central campus.
During the 1970s, further academic and residential accommodation
was built on campus, including the Social Studies building in
1977, the Senate House and the Arts Centre (1974) and the Students'
Union Building (1975). In 1979, the former Coventry College of
Education merged with the University to form what is now the Institute
of Education on the Westwood site. The 1980s saw the further expansion
of the Arts Centre, the construction of the Jack Martin Halls
of Residence and of the purpose built post experience training
centre, Radcliffe House (1986) referred to above. In 1989, in
partnership with Rover and Rolls Royce plc, the University extended
the new Advanced Technology Centre to provide extensive new research
facilities. During the 1990s, and particularly under the Vice-Chancellorship
of Sir Brian Follett, the built campus continued to develop. Between
1993 and 2000 over £100m of new buildings were erected notably
the construction of the Arthur Vick, Claycroft and Lakeside Residences,
the International Manufacturing Centre (1994 and recently extended),
the Ramphal Building (1996), and the new Medical School Building
and associated Biomedical Research facilities generously funded
by the Wolfson Trust and through a successful appeal (2001). Other
notable developments have been a joint Students Union and Retail
building (1998), Sports Pavilion (1998), the first two phases
of a new building for the Warwick Business School (1999 and 2001)
and a new building for Computer Science (2000). Since 2000 plans
for further building have amounted to a programme of c.£50m.
A new Mathematics and Statistics building on the main site was
opened in 2004 and a major investment in developing the Sports
centre has provided high-class sports facilities, amongst the
best of any British university.