How was '05 for...

December 23, 2005

... Sally Feldman , dean of the School of Media, Arts and Design, University of Westminster

What did you think of government policy? It created an obstacle course for international students trying to obtain visas. Instead of the happy chaos of freshers' week, the new academic year was marked by the miserable chaos of endless delays, forms, nasty officialdom and despair.

Personal highlight: The launch of our China Media Centre, set up to further our teaching and research, to strengthen our links with Chinese scholars and universities, and to offer training to those wishing to learn more about the culture of the world's fastest growing economy.

Lowlight: July 7 and the alarming experience of being so very close to real terror. I felt for all the students who had come to London for stimulation, culture and fun - only to be faced with fear and blood. I hope the careless joy is slowly returning so that they can be proper students again.

Biggest impact on working life: Foreign travel. For the first time in my academic life, I've been to visit universities and media employers overseas. The enormous value placed on education in the Middle East, the massive strides being made by China to educate the population, the sheer hard work and dedication of students and their staff was humbling.

Biggest challenge for 2006: Jacuzzis in the sports centre, champagne at the freshers' ball, limitless studio access, same-day return of essays, luxury lecture theatres and first-class degrees at the end of it all - that's what the 2006 intake of students is going to expect since they will be paying Pounds 3,000 a year for the privilege. So the big challenge for 2006 will be to make sure they get value for money, and to avoid confrontations.

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