The University of Reading has been at the forefront of UK higher education for nearly a century. Over the decades we have become innovators and pioneers, pushing academic boundaries and leading social change. In 2016, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the grant of our Royal Charter by King George V. Find out more about the history of the University and our journey to where we are now.The University of Reading is a public university in Reading, Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1892 as University College, Reading, a University of Oxford extension college. The institution received the power to grant its own degrees in 1926 by royal charter from King George V and was the only university to receive such a charter between the two world wars. The university is usually categorised as a red brick university, reflecting its original foundation in the 19th century. Reading has four major campuses. In the United Kingdom, the campuses on London Road and Whiteknights are based in the town of Reading itself, and Greenlands is based on the banks of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire. It also has a campus in Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia. The university has been arranged into 16 academic schools since 2016. The annual income of the institution for 2016–17 was £275.3 million of which £35.4 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £297.5 million.The university owes its first origins to the Schools of Art and Science established in Reading in 1860 and 1870. In 1892, the College at Reading was founded as an extension college by Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford. The first President was the geographer Sir Halford John Mackinder, and the college's first home was the old hospitium building behind Reading Town Hall. The Schools of Art and Science were transferred to the new college by Reading Town Council in the same year. The new college received its first treasury grant in 1901. Three years later it was given a site, now the university's London Road Campus, by the Palmer family (connected with the firm of Huntley & Palmers). The same family supported the opening of Wantage Hall in 1908 and of the Research Institute in Dairying in 1912. The college first applied for a Royal Charter in 1920 but was unsuccessful at that time. However a second petition, in 1925, was successful, and the charter was officially granted on 17 March 1926. With the charter, the college became the University of Reading, the only new university to be created in the United Kingdom between the two world wars. It was added to the Combined English Universities constituency in 1928 in time for the 1929 general election. In 1947, the university purchased Whiteknights Park, which was to become its principal campus. In 1984, the University started a merger with Bulmershe College of Higher Education, which was completed in 1989.In October 2006, the Senior Management Board proposed the closure of its Physics Department to future undergraduate application. This was ascribed to financial reasons and lack of alternative ideas and caused considerable controversy, not least a debate in Parliament over the closure which prompted heated discussion of higher education issues in general. On 10 October, the Senate voted to close the Department of Physics, a move confirmed by the council on 20 November. Other departments closed in recent years include Music, Sociology, Geology, and Mechanical Engineering. The university council decided in March 2009 to close the School of Health and Social Care, a school whose courses have consistently been oversubscribed.In January 2008, the university announced its merger with the Henley Management College to create the university's new Henley Business School, bringing together Henley College's expertise in MBAs with the University's existing Business School and ICMA Centre. The merger took formal effect on 1 August 2008, with the new business school split across the university's existing Whiteknights Campus and its new Greenlands Campus that formerly housed Henley Management College. A restructuring of the university was announced in September 2009, which would bring together all the academic schools into three faculties, these being the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social sciences, and Henley Business School. The move was predicted to result in the loss of some jobs, especially in the film, theatre and television department, which has since moved into a brand new £11.5 million building on Whiteknights Campus. In late 2009 it was announced that the London Road Campus was to undergo a £30 million renovation, preparatory to becoming the new home of the university's Institute of Education. The Institute moved to its new home in January 2012. The refurbishment was partially funded by the sale of the adjoining site of Mansfield Hall, a former hall of residence, for demolition and replacement by private sector student accommodation.The university is a lead sponsor of UTC Reading, a new university technical college which opened in September 2013. In 2016, a move to reorganise the structure of Reading University provoked student protests. On 21 March 2016, staff announced a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor Sir David Bell. 88% of those who voted backed the no confidence motion. In 2019, The Guardian reported the university was in "a financial and governance crisis" after recently reporting itself to regulators over a £121 million loan. The university is sole trustee of the charitable National Institute for Research in Dairying trust, and after selling trust land had then borrowed the £121 million proceeds from the trust, despite the potential conflict of interest in the decision making. Including this loan, the university has debts of £300 million, as well as having an operating deficit of over £40 million for the past two years. In 2021, the university declared, in a statement reply to the student's union, that it would not refund tuition fees for its students.Departments in the University have been awarded the biannual Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education four times: in 1998, in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Law category, for work on Shakespeare; in 2005, in the Environment category; in 2008, again in Humanities, Social Sciences and Law; and in 2011, for "teaching and design applications in typography, through print and new technologies" in Typography & Graphic Communication. Reading was ranked 35th in the UK amongst multi-faculty institutions for the quality (GPA) of its research and 28th for its Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In total, 98% of the University's research is labelled as 'internationally recognised', 78% as 'internationally excellent and 27% as 'world leading'. Its School of Agriculture Policy and Development was ranked top in the UK and 11th in the world, according to the QS classification of universities by subject.Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) is the affiliated student organisation which represents the students' interests. The university also has a number of Junior Common Rooms that are linked to the Students' Union. The Students' Union has been the launchpad for many successful careers including Penny Mordaunt (MP for Portsmouth North), who was the 1994–5 President of the Students' Union. The Students' Union runs the student radio station Junction11 Radio. It broadcasts locally from the Whiteknights campus in university retail outlets and over an internet live stream on a full-time basis. The station was formed in 1997 and started broadcasting in 2001 on 1287AM and transferred to solely online in 2007.
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