50 years

August 1977 - July 1978

  • There are concerns about the decline of University autonomy as legislative pressure is shaping the way universities operate, including employment, pay and conditions
  • February 1978 the Government publishes Higher Education into the 1990s. The report focuses on demographic issues and forecasts that the number of 18-year-olds will peak in 1982 (up 10 per cent) then decline by 10 per cent until 1989 and decline by a further 20 per cent to 1994. The VC says that to tackle this issue Sussex will target non-traditional learners such as women returners and other mature students
  • There are fears that the new Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) structure will remove teaching validation from the University and impact adversely on the Education Area
  • Sussex is second only to Oxford in obtaining research grants and income (out of 49 universities)
  • The university sector has generally stopped expanding and in some cases is shrinking, making it difficult to recruit junior lecturers. In addition the UGC puts a cap on Sussex student numbers
  • The students maintenance grant increases from £1,010 pa to £1,100 for students living away from home, which covers the 10 per cent inflation rise
  • The Sussex University Press established in 1971 in partnership with Chatto & Windus has published 47 books. This partnership ends September 1977; the future is under consideration
  • Senate passes a rule that smoking is not allowed in committee meetings – this causes heated debate and Council rules that while it is up to each committee to decide for itself, there will be no smoking in Council meetings
  • Reginald M Phillips, 'the university's most substantial benefactor', dies
  • In CCS new Majors are offered in Social Administration, Urban Studies, and Human Sciences, while contextual courses include: English Rural Communities, Cities and Society, Social Stratification, Perspectives on Feminism, and Popular Culture
  • The University owns 45 per cent of all student accommodation, with priority given to first-year students
  • For the first time since 1972 no new accommodation has been built but further accommodation is planned for 1981
  • Inflation is slowing down which means a slight decrease in student hardship
  • A new Handicapped Persons Committee is formed to deal with facilities for disabled students
  • More women students and more mature students means crèche facilities are increasingly important

Student numbers

Arts and Social Studies

2,620 students: 2,250 undergraduates (an increase of 115), 370 postgraduates (a decrease of 35)


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