On Monday 23 April, staff and students celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Part-time Degrees at the University of Warwick.
Part-time Degree graduates joined current students and University staff to reflect on their experiences of the part-time degree programme and celebrate their successes.
The University was one of the first to start a Part-time Degree route and since its inception in 1987 hundreds of local people have completed their degree and had their lives enhanced both personally and professionally.
Dr Peter Byrd, the first Director of the Part-time Degree Programme said "When we launched the Part-time Degree I do not think that we had any real doubts about whether there was a pool of talented potential students who wished to study part-time. Nevertheless, we were slightly apprehensive - a lot of planning and effort had gone into launching our new degrees - about the number of applications we would receive and about their quality. We need not have worried. From day one we were bowled over by the enthusiasm and the quality of the applicants - and by their numbers. This was one of the best things the University ever did."
Several of the first students came along to the celebration and shared how their lives had changed as a result of embarking on the programme, and Peter Byrd and Mike Shattock (registrar when the programme was introduced) spoke about the impact the programme had had on both the students and the University. Julia Greensall and Geraldine Kilkelly (pictured left with Dr Peter Byrd) were the first students to graduate from the Part-time Degree Programme which began in 1987, Julia now works for the health service and Geraldine is a secondary school teacher
The event was held in the chaplaincy; a pianist from Warwick’s piano society provided the perfect background music, hospitality provided the drinks and canapés and guests spent a very enjoyable evening catching up with fellow graduates and staff they hadn’t seen for many years.
A family affair
“Taking a part-time degree at Warwick realised an ambition as I had left school at sixteen when many of my friends went on to university. Apart from the enjoyment of learning, the degree enabled me to demonstrate professionally that I had the commitment and mental capacity necessary for complex jobs. The degree was an important factor in achieving higher rank in the police service.”
“I enjoyed being part of campus life at Warwick and meeting people away from the usual home and work environment, so I had an incentive to study, even though it was not always easy to fit in around my job.”
From factory worker to history teacher
“I came home from school one day last term (David is now a History teacher) and opened my mail. One letter was an invitation to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Warwick University Part-time Degree Programme. Of course I said yes, I would love to be a part of the celebration. After all it was this particular programme which, without question, changed my life for the better.”
A true lifelong learner
“Having left school at fourteen, my education really began in my forties when my children had achieved their degrees. I did my ‘O’ levels in my forties, ‘A’ levels in my fifties, an Honours degree in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick in my sixties, a Masters Degree at seventy in Photography at De Montfort and have since had 25 exhibitions. I am at present crawling towards my PhD in War Photography at Coventry University; on completion I will be nearly eighty.”