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New Atheists Launch Private University


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#1 Evangelion

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 08:53 PM

A new British college aiming to rival Oxford and Cambridge has been launched by leading academics.

New College of the Humanities will give a high-quality education to "gifted" undergraduates and a degree from the University of London, creators say.

The privately-owned London-based college will open in September 2012 and is planning to charge fees of £18,000.

The 14 professors involved include biologist Richard Dawkins and historian Sir David Cannadine.

...

Based in Bloomsbury, central London, the new college will offer eight undergraduate humanities degrees taught by some of the world's most prominent intellectuals, officials said.

Degrees cover five subject areas - law, economics, history, English literature and philosophy.

Students will also take three "intellectual skills" modules in science literacy, logic and critical thinking and applied ethics - which will result in them being awarded a Diploma of New College in addition to a University of London degree, making a combined award of BA Hons (London) DNC.

Professor AC Grayling, the philosopher who will be the college's first Master, secured millions of pounds of funding from investors to set up the institution.

...

The college said its selection process will not be computerised, with each application considered "individually, personally and on its merits".

It also has scholarships and "exhibition schemes" to "ensure that finance should not be a barrier to any talented UK student".

But the University and College Union (UCU) said the launch of the new college - and state funding cuts for arts, humanities and social sciences - would result in the subjects becoming the preserve of a "select few".

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "While many would love the opportunity to be taught by the likes of AC Grayling and Richard Dawkins, at £18,000 a go it seems it won't be the very brightest but those with the deepest pockets who are afforded the chance.

"The launch of this college highlights the government's failure to protect art and humanities and is further proof that its university funding plans will entrench inequality within higher education," she said.


(Source).

Atheist responses have been mixed, to say the least.

Great idea and subject content, except for English Literature. Sorry but this seems to be totally misplaced in what seems to be a forward thinking and highly worthwhile program. In my opinion a course in International relations- how to deal with people from other cultures would be more useful and appropriate in today's world. jcw


This will be amazing and certainly is something worthy to commit yourself to. Congratulations.


Congratulations Professor Dawkins and others for this excellent idea. I hope you're able to set up some kind of foundation or trust where profits and donations can go into the pot to invest in creating more humanities colleges and build a kind of momentum. Hopefully, if enough people are able to donate, the charges will come down. Also, I hope that such colleges retain a high reputation which will attract more high quality academics and thus more students and funds in future.


I've been a "fan" of Richard's work since the Growing Up In The Universe lectures. I've read all his books, attended many lectures.

How dare he - how dare he - bemoan the role of religion as a force for keeping down the poor and segregating society and then get involved in such a tacky, ill-conceived and downright disgraceful venture as this? Dawkins doesn't need the money. He could be, and should be, involved in attracting the brightest students into education regardless of cost.

Dawkins on evolution - Survival of the Richest.


It sends out the message that Dawkins is plutocratic

Which is priceless ammo for the religious when they set up schools to give the best education they possibly can to the poorest in society.


:newspaper:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#2 Evangelion

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:18 PM

Oh. Oh dear.

Professor AC Grayling has spoken of how he has become a figure of vitriol among students and the academic establishment after announcing plans to establish a for-profit private university.

The philosophy professor, who resigned from Birkbeck College to set up the New College of the Humanities, which plans to charge fees of £18,000 a year, said his institution had become a lightning conductor for anger against education cuts and that he had become a target for "heckling, abuse and criticism".

This week, students at a talk at a central London bookshop jeered and shouted down Grayling as he attempted to explain why he was setting up his university college, which plans to award external degrees from the University of London.

The meeting ended prematurely when a smoke bomb was lit and the room had to be evacuated.

...

Grayling said the high-profile lecturers would share in the profits of the company but not make up the college's core staff.

"All these people are partners in the enterprise. They are not the full-time academic staff who are delivering the curriculum," he said. "All of them have agreed to come and give lectures in the college ... but they are not the full-time academic staff. They are people whose advice and expertise and experience will be provided to us because they are actual shareholders in the institution."


(Source).

:book:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#3 Evangelion

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:20 PM

Even the Torygraph is skeptical:

Buyer beware. Despite the celebrity founding fathers – AC Grayling, Richard Dawkins and Niall Ferguson, among others – there are three serious problems with the New College of the Humanities.

First, although the new university may “rival Oxbridge” in the style of its teaching and the fame of its professors, it will certainly not in the calibre of its students.

...

The second problem is what will befall the students who do end up at the New College of the Humanities. We have all seen what a burden an Eton education can be on someone trying to make a career for themselves, and the problem isn’t limited to politicians. A degree which has been so evidently bought and paid for will be virtually valueless on the jobs market, whether its holder is intelligent or not.

...

Finally, with all the respect due to the professors who are founding the university, it should be noted that none of them is especially well-known for his impartiality on the subject he will be teaching.


(Source).

:popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#4 Hudders

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:38 PM

The second problem is what will befall the students who do end up at the New College of the Humanities. We have all seen what a burden an Eton education can be on someone trying to make a career for themselves, and the problem isn’t limited to politicians. A degree which has been so evidently bought and paid for will be virtually valueless on the jobs market, whether its holder is intelligent or not.


I'm not sure why it would be valueless or considered to be 'bought'. Surely the students will still have to study hard and get graded at the end of it all?

Finally, with all the respect due to the professors who are founding the university, it should be noted that none of them is especially well-known for his impartiality on the subject he will be teaching.


This, however, seems like a valid point.




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