Lord Asa Briggs
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Lord Asa Briggs

Lord Asa Briggs was one of the founding 'fathers' of Sussex and Vice-Chancellor from 1967-1976.


I think the greatest innovation was producing a curriculum of studies for undergraduates which broke very sharply with the departmental pattern of the curriculum in most existing universities. I was determined in the light of my experience, not only in Oxford, but in Leeds where I was head of a large department when I decided to come to Sussex, I was determined that in Sussex we would have linked studies which would be genuinely linked. We would not accept the conventional distinction between general and specialised education. We would try to ensure that you combined knowledge of a particular discipline within a context of general studies, and you would do that not through departments but through schools, which were not just super departments, but generally did bring people into communications contact with each other. That was a totally different way of looking at a university. Those of us that were involved in working out the first curriculum in 1961 were very privileged people, and we knew that we were privileged people. The idea of creating a new university from scratch was something that was quite unfamiliar in this country. Keele was the nearest place that got to it, but Keele was a university where they had very special kind of attributes associated with their founder who was the master of Balliol College, Oxford. And Keele did not have the kind of school pattern that we had.

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