History of the University of Dundee
The University of Dundee has its roots in the earlier University college based in Dundee and the University of St Andrews. During the 19th century, the growing population of Dundee significantly increased demand for the establishment of an institution of higher education in the city and several organisations were established to promote this end, including a University Club in the city. At the same time, the University of St Andrews was, as were the other universities in Scotland at the time, suffering from significant financial problems. Moreover, St Andrews' position, isolation and small size (160 students as opposed to the University of Aberdeen, with a roll of around 700) contributed to a significant decline. In a submission to a Royal Commission established to investigate the problems at St Andrews, Heddle, a lecturer in chemistry, observed that
||If we could be transferred to Dundee, I believe we could live and perhaps flourish; but if not, I think we will gradually cease to live.
There was a significant movement with the intention of moving the entire university to Dundee (which the Royal Commission observed was now a "large and increasing town") or the establishment of a college along very similar lines to the present United College. Finally, agreement was reached that what was needed was expansion of the sciences and professions, rather than the arts at St Andrews.
In the early 1870s, construction began on the North British Railway's Tay Bridge which cut journey times between Dundee and St Andrews enormously and allowed for a third option between the status quo and complete movement: the creation of what was foreseen as a "University of Dundee and St Andrews", situated between two campuses, each with their own particular specialities.
A donation of £120,000 for the creation of an institution of higher education in Dundee was made by Miss Mary Ann Baxter of Balgavies, a notable lady of the city and heir to the fortune of William Baxter of Balgavies. In this endeavour, she was assisted by her relative, Dr John Boyd Baxter, an alumnus of St Andrews and Procurator Fiscal of Forfarshirewho also contributed nearly £20,000. In order to craft the institution and its principles, it was to be established first as an independent university college, with a view from its very inception towards incorporation into the University of St Andrews.
In 1881 the ideals of the proposed new college were laid down, suggesting the establishment of an institute for "promoting the education of persons of both sexes and the study of Science, Literature and the Fine Arts". No religious oaths were to be required of members. Later that year, "University College, Dundee" was established as an academic institution and the first principal, William Peterson, was elected in late 1882. When opened in 1883, it comprised five faculties: Maths and Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Engineering and Drawing, English Language and Literature and Modern History, and Philosophy. The University College had no power to award degrees and for some years students were prepared for external examinations of the University of London.
The policy of no discrimination between the sexes, which was insisted upon by Mary Ann Baxter, meant that the new college recruited several able female students. Their number included the social reformer Mary Lily Walker and, later, Margaret Fairlie who in 1940 became Scotland's first female professor.
Incorporation into the University of St Andrews
Following several aborted attempts at various forms of incorporation and association, in 1890 the college began to establish closer links with the University of St Andrews, a process which was completed in 1897 when University College became part of the University of St Andrews. This move was of notable benefit to both, enabling the University of St Andrews (which was in a very small burgh (roughly equivalent to a conurbation), and remains so) to support a medical school. Medical students could choose to undertake preclinical studies either in Dundee or St Andrews (at the Bute Medical School) after which all students would undertake their clinical studies at Dundee. Eventually, law, dentistry and other professional subjects were taught at University College. By 1904 University College had a roll of 208, making up 40 per cent of the roll of the University generally. By session 1909-10 234 students were studying at University College, 101 of whom were female. Among the notable students at this time were Robert Watson-Watt, the radar pioneer; William Alexander Young the epidemiologist who later died in Accra while studying yellow fever; and David Rutherford Dow who would go on to be a senior member of staff at the college.
University College's development in the early twentieth century has been described as "slow and fitful" and the interwar period saw virtually no new building projects, leaving large parts of the college housed in buildings which were not fit for purpose. Attempts were made to raise income. In 1923 Rudyard Kipling, then the Rector of the University of St Andrews, visited University College and asked the merchant princes and leading citizens of Dundee to give the College their money and support. Kipling implored those who had lost their sons in the Great War to consider giving a donation so that their names would live on. Staff of a high calibre continued to be employed by the University including Alexander Peacock and Margaret Fairlie, who in 1940 was appointed as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and thus became the first woman to hold a professorial chair at a university in Scotland.
In 1947, the Principal of University College, Douglas Wimberley released the "Wimberley Memo" (resulting in the Cooper and Tedder reports of 1952), advocating independence for the College. In 1954, after a Royal Commission, University College was renamed "Queen's College" and the Dundee-based elements of the University gained a greater degree of independence and flexibility. It was also at this time that Queen's College absorbed the former Dundee School of Economics.
Creation of the University of Dundee
The publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education in 1963, which considered the question of university education expansion throughout the country, provided impetus to the movement to attain independent university status for Dundee. At this time, a number of new institutions were being elevated to this status, such as the University of Stirling, and second universities were created in Edinburgh and Glasgow (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Strathclyde) despite their having fewer than 2,000 students. Queen's College's size and location, alongside a willingness to expand, led to an eventual decision to separate from the wider University of which it remained an integral part. In 1966, St Andrews University Court and the Council of Queen's College submitted a joint petition to the Privy Councilseeking the grant of a Royal Charter to establish the University of Dundee. This petition was approved and the Charter was granted which saw Queen's College become the University of Dundee, on 1 August 1967. The university continued a number of the traditions of its originator college and university and continues to be organised under the ancient university governance structure.
The University of Dundee has grown considerably since securing independent university status. The teaching of medicine, dentistry, law, engineering, nursing, social work and accountancy flourished, and a new Faculty of Letters (later renamed the Faculty of Arts) was developed. Dundee is the only university in the UK to offer an LLB in both English law and Scottish Law and to allow law students to dual qualify.
In 1974 the University began to validate some degrees from Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, and by 1988 all degrees from that institution were being validated in this fashion. In 1994 the two institutions merged, with the college becoming a constituent faculty of the university. In 1996, the Tayside College of Nursing and the Fife College of Health studies became part of the university, as a school of Nursing and Midwifery. For several years, Dundee College of Education prepared students for degree examinations at the University of Dundee, and in December 2001 the university merged with the Dundee campus of Northern College to create a Faculty of Education and Social Work.
In October 2005, the university became home to the first UNESCO centre in the United Kingdom. The IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science is involved in research regarding the management of the world's water resources on behalf of the United Nations.
The 2000s brought extensive renovation to the university's central campus, culminating in a number of new and upgraded buildings being introduced around 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the university's independence. Large extensions have been placed on the Main Library and sports centre, and a number of new halls of residence (Heathfield, Belmont, West Park and Seabraes) have been gradually phased into operation. The Dalhousie building was erected during this period as dedicated teaching accommodation for the University, in part replacing space previously at the Gardyne Road campus of Northern College, which has now been taken up by Dundee College. Significant improvement works have taken place in old buildings such as the Old Technical Institute, Medical Sciences Institute and Old Medical School buildings.