Film ID: YFA 1954 Video of YFA 1954 The potential graduate 1968 THE POTENTIAL GRADUATE 1968 Visitor TabsDescription Made by the University of Bradford, this promotional film highlights the benefits of being a student studying at their university. The film features the University’s facilities and various academic programmes as well as provides a good example of 1970s student life in Britain. Title: ‘University of Bradford’ ‘audio visual unit’ ‘Potential Graduate’ The film opens with a statue of W. E. Foster. The commentary stresses that the University is designed to meet the technological needs of the age. New students are met at the train station and taken to halls of residence. A female student is escorted to her room and unpacks. They attend the Fresher’s Conference where they are addressed by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Edwards, the Physical Recreation Officer, and other staff. The film then highlights the sporting facilities, including live action of rugby, hockey and football. The Medical Officer is introduced and speaks with a patient in the medical centre where a nurse bandages a leg. Back at the Conference, the President of the Student’s Union gives an address. Then various clubs and societies at the Fresher’s Week are shown, including orienteering, potholing, ballroom dancing, the Scout and Guide Club, the Methodist Club, a left-wing political club, the Jewish Club, Ski Club, Sailing Club and the Riding Club, who are out riding at their base in Willesden. Then members of the Rock Climbing Club are shown climbing at Ilkley Moor. Then there is action from the Fencing Club and the Folk Club, before showing the work of the Immigrant Teaching Association which is responsible for teaching conversational English to immigrants. The majority of these immigrants are from Pakistan. Then a female student calls on the Women’s Welfare Officer. The commentary goes on to explain the role of the student’s Personal Tutor. There are examples of modern learning techniques, programmed learning, the videotronic machine and close circuit television. Students work in various laboratories. Then students on sandwich courses are shown on work placements in industry. A board shows the examinations for the final year, on 8th June 1970. The film closes with the students at their graduation ceremony. Here, they shake hands with the Chancellor, Harold Wilson, and examine their degrees. Context This film was made by the Audio Visual Unit of the University of Bradford over one or more years from 1968 to 1970. It is one of 15 films donated to the YFA by the University, dating from 1961 until 1975. As one of the new breed of universities that were created in the 1960s, Bradford would have been keen to prove its worth, especially against the seven brand new purpose built universities – dubbed by Michael Beloff as ‘Plateglass Universities’ – of which York was one. Bradford was among several Technical Colleges to be given a Royal Charter needed to be a university during the 1960s. It began life originally as the Mechanics Institute, founded in 1832, before becoming Bradford Technical College in 1882 and Bradford Institute of Technology in 1957. Although university status wasn’t granted until 1966, the first three graduate awards were in fact given in 1962. That is because Institutes of Technology started offering Honours degrees in the 1950s in order to deal with the shortage of technicians, as revealed during the Second World War when the college helped to train RAF radio and radar technicians. However, the first proper graduation ceremony wasn’t until 1967. Harold Wilson, seen in the film at an award ceremony, became the first Chancellor; a position he held until 1985 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. The YFA also has film from the University of Bradford showing Harold Wilson opening the University buildings and the Priestley Library – with J. B. Priestley – in 1965, and being installed as Chancellor in 1966. It was fitting that Harold Wilson should be the first Chancellor, not only because he was born just down the road in Huddersfield, or that his father was an industrial chemist with ICI; but also because when he was elected Prime Minister in 1964, and again in 1966, Wilson saw himself as modernising British life. This was especially so in relation to science and technology: in 1963 Wilson made a famous speech at the Labour Party Conference in Scarborough stating that Britain was, "burning with the white heat of technology". Culturally also the 1960s were exciting times, and Wilson showed he wasn’t entirely out of touch with this either when he nominated the Beatles the MBE in 1965 (Lennon famously returning his in 1969). It was a time when many more children from working class backgrounds were able to get university places, and Wilson helped this trend by appointing Jenny Lee to oversee the establishment of the Open University in the late 1960s. Yet in 1967 still only one in twenty young people went to university, which, according to The Dearing Report of 1997, had risen to one in three thirty years later – and the proportion is still growing. The reason for this rise is the much greater emphasis on the economic role of higher education: the need for a population better educated for the modern economy. In part this was the idea behind the kind of vocational courses that Bradford offered. For a long time universities were institutions providing a ‘liberal arts’ education for an elite. The first universities in Britain, Oxford and then Cambridge, date back to the medieval period. The liberal arts education that was taught in the old universities was gradually superseded with the growth of the scientific revolution, especially with the establishment of newer universities in the nineteenth century, to which were added by the five redbrick universities formed during the first decade of the twentieth century – including two from Yorkshire, Leeds and Sheffield – along with Manchester. These were followed by more built between the wars, such as Hull. Later on many former polytechnics were granted university status after 1992. This led to a great expansion in the proportion of the population attending universities. At the time of writing, July 2009, there are 109 universities in the UK and 169 other HE institutions, catering for over 2 million students. Bradford University has itself grown from a student population of 2,000 in 1966 to over 10,000 today, including over 2,000 postgraduates. One reason for this growth is the benefits that university education brings: a recent Report carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers concluded that obtaining a degree, on average, could amount to an additional £160,000 over a working lifetime compared with having two or more A-levels. Recently Bradford University was found to be runners up in the UK for graduate employability (Times Good University Guide 2006). This growth in student numbers has meant that being a student has changed significantly for many over the years. With the need now to pay for fees, and greater difficulties with accommodation, a much higher number of students now study in their home town. It is difficult to gauge how much this has affected the experience of being a student: certainly Freshers’ Conferences are probably a thing of the distant past. However the Fresher Week remains an essential part of student life, along with all the student societies – although they may be a bit more boisterous today. This film was made during a period of great student unrest, in the U.S. and Britain over the Vietnam War, and especially in France with the events in May 1968. One wouldn’t expect a film made by the University authorities to highlight political societies, but even here there is evidence of the impact of these events on student radicalism, something that was to survive for the following decade. It is interesting in this context that Bradford was the first University to offer a Peace Studies degree, with one notable product being the prominent negotiator for a Palestinian state, Saeb Erekat. Among other famous alumni is the award winning Indian British filmmaker, Pratibha Parmar. Yet there are those who are critical of this trend towards vocational education as obliterating the distinction between training and education, a difference that was decisive for Cardinal Newman in his The idea of a University. Originally the curriculum of a university consisted of the trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and the quadrivium of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. The ideal of a rounded ‘liberal arts’ education remains for many: especially for those who have been critical of the 1997 Dearing ‘Report of The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education’. In the late 1960s the University of Bradford was sure of itself, presenting itself as being in line with the technology of the age. Yet today, in the rapidly changing world of globalisation and the internet, for many educationalists the nature and purpose of the university has become increasingly uncertain. References Ron Barnett, A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead, 2007. Duke Maskell and Ian Robinson, The New Idea of a University, Haven Books, London, 2001. Maggi Savin-Baden, Learning Spaces, Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead, 2008. Mary Evans, Killing Thinking: The Death of the Universities, Continuum International Publishing Group, Academi, 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, The Economic Benefits of a Degree, Universities UK, 2007 University of Bradford Personal recollections of the early days of the University by Roger Pollard: Further Information Ron Barnett, Realizing the University in an age of supercomplexity, Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead, 2000. Roger King, The University in the Global Age, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2004.