'Ustinov offers a fantastic opportunity to develop a real community'

August 26, 2005

Penelope Wilson is the new principal of Durham's Ustinov College, one of the UK's largest graduate schools

Supporting postgraduate education will be central to the agenda of Penelope Wilson, who is leaving Cambridge after nearly 30 years to join Durham University.

As principal of Ustinov College, Durham University's graduate college, Dr Wilson aims to help postgraduate study withstand current pressures.

Dr Wilson is an English scholar and fellow of New Hall College, Cambridge.

She cites finance and training as two issues central to postgraduate education and believes that a welcoming environment is crucial.

She said: "In many cases, the intellectual incentive is enough, despite what is inevitably a financial sacrifice. But students need to know that universities will provide excellent facilities, committed and responsible supervision, and a range of opportunities for social and personal development."

Dr Wilson is aware of the challenges faced by Ustinov - one of Britain's largest graduate centres with more than 1,200 postgraduates, of whom 60 per cent are from overseas - and said she was committed to developing a strong sense of community.

"It offers a fantastic challenge and opportunity to develop a real collegiate community. I aim to establish Ustinov as a centre for students of all nationalities."

Dr Wilson, who specialises in 18th-century English readings of the classical tradition, will seek to combine her college role with her work as reader in Durham's English department. Additionally, she wants to combine her interest in education on a larger scale with her research. "It seems exactly the right job for me," she said.

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