Kiwi centre had a 'valuable' role, review finds

May 20, 2010

There is demand and need for the Centre for New Zealand Studies in London, according to a review instigated after the decision to close it.

The centre at Birkbeck, University of London was set up in 2007, with the backing of the University of London's vice-chancellor, Sir Graeme Davies.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the New Zealand government and Birkbeck, and the government donated £100,000 to the centre in April 2008.

In a letter to Sir Graeme in April 2009, Karen Sewell, New Zealand's education secretary, praised its work and said the country's interests were being "well met".

But last autumn, less than three years after it opened, Birkbeck said it intended to wind down the centre.

The college faced criticism for the move from prominent New Zealanders, and more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for the centre to be saved.

In response, Birkbeck said it wanted its work to continue and commissioned a review. The report says the centre was seen as a "valuable social and intellectual hub".

But it says ongoing financial support had not been secured, adding that there was concern about the centre's future direction "due to its current academic standing". Although it ran a reading group, evening classes, seminars, annual conferences and attracted PhD students, the centre made little attempt to develop collaborative research between UK and New Zealand scholars, the report says. The review panel recommends reorganising the centre to "embed" its work within Birkbeck's academic framework.

An annual report on the centre submitted to the New Zealand Ministry of Education in March 2009 says the centre had funding to take it through to April 2011.

However, in October, Sir Graeme and David Latchman, master of Birkbeck, told the university's collegiate council that the MoU included an agreement to raise an endowment to support the centre long term and this had not been achieved.

Paul Burns, a friend of the centre, said the review left "a lot of questions unanswered".

rebecca.attwood@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Forrest Post Doctoral Research Fellow

University Of Western Australia

Research Fellow in Statistical Epidemiology

London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (lshtm)

Phone Advisor

Gsm London
See all jobs

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'