50 years

August 1970 - July 1971

  • Seven new universities were established in the early 1960s following the Robbins Report – Sussex is the first and the largest and fastest developer
  • There are 8,000 applications for 450 places in the arts and social sciences; science applications are also above national average. Popular with faculty too; very few people leave and it is also attractive to new recruits
  • The orthodoxy of specialised single-subject honours degrees is challenged. Nine schools all with their own intellectual sphere but linked with other schools gives rise to a unique collection of study paths. Schools are continually changing in shape and size
  • Tutorials, small-group teaching and close contact between tutor and student are the main teaching methods, with less reliance on large-scale lectures. A review of teaching methods is completed. Recommendations under consideration include the uses of technology in teaching and changes in assessment
  • Funding to undertake new initiatives and continue to innovate is a constant challenge
  • Plans to expand student numbers are at the mercy of government policy
  • The public image of students is not good and might influence government funding policy. There are also concerns about graduate employment opportunities
  • Funding issues for capital investment in science buildings might prove a challenge and other funding streams are needed
  • The University benefactor Reginald Phillips underwrites the long-term future of SPRU
  • The Education Development Building is opened and houses a teaching programme, CCE, the Phillips Deaf Unit and a television studio
  • In the first 10 years £4.5million was spent on buildings
  • There are worries that the given 'these anxious times' it might not be possible to maintain high aesthetic standards when developing the site, especially in science where the University Grants Committee UGC has put a stop to new building
  • Lack of funding could also endanger the distinctiveness of Sussex and its innovations eg IDS, the Arts Centre, the Multi-racial Centre in Barbados and CCE
  • An issue is the balance between allowing the Students' Union a degree of autonomy and ensuring that academic life isn't disrupted or the reputation of the University damaged by 'the few'. Students have changed over the 10 years and are now they are considered adults in law
  • Social Administration and Linguistics are added to the Arts and Social Studies offering, and Computer Programming is offered as a contextual
  • It is a difficult time for science. The Government puts a stop on new buildings for science and restricts the growth of student numbers. However, Sussex plans to introduce a new degree in Computer Science and is broadening the range in maths and physics. Applications have fallen but not as badly as other universities and targets are met
  • An innovative 'degree by thesis' is introduced in MOLS
  • The Computing Centre is housed in MAPs but serves the whole University. Computing support becomes increasingly important to the University as a whole
  • The Education Area is developed in 1970 separating education from Art/Science and the Science Area. It focuses on teacher education and education research and includes a range of professional development programmes in primary and secondary education, initial teacher training, and educational research. An education library is opened and the new BEd degree commences
  • A major reorganization of the Library is completed with a new extension added. The Society of Friends donates a selection of material on the Quaker Movement
  • Attempts to change the Students' Union constitution fail. Arguments about the Union being undemocratic result in a legal action being taken against the Union and its officers because of allegedly ultra vires payments to 'its own victimized members'. A shop and macrobiotic restaurant are set up in the premises previously occupied by the Crypt. Teach-ins are organised on academic freedom and the Greek political situation
  • There are ongoing problems with finding enough affordable housing for students, with very few now living in guesthouses. More campus accommodation is being built and Holland House a 90-roomed hotel is bought to ease the problem. Students move in October 1971. There is discussion around setting up a joint housing association with Brighton Polytechnic with student participation in administering the scheme
  • Material is brought to Sussex by Tom Harrisson for a Mass Observation Archive in 1971; it is lodged in the Library
  • Between 1971 -74 a small grant from the Leverhulme Trust allows Tom Harrisson and assistants to undergo a preliminary organisation of the material
  • Sussex University Press is established in 1971 in partnership with Chatto & Windus


'There are now a far wider variety of views than in the early years of the university ... far more opportunities for misunderstanding as well as mutual understanding, than there were in the kibbutz-like days of Preston Road where we started or Falmer in its first hectic year of occupation in 1962.' Author of Sussex Annual Report

Student numbers

3,624 students: 2,735 undergraduates, 414 postgraduates, 450 research students, 25 visiting students

3,800 students are enrolled for 1971-72

Gender ratio

Two-thirds of the overall student population is male

Four-fifths of the postgraduate population is male


721 men: 637 women


1088 men: 289 women