9 Things You Need To Know About Kent’s College System
Think you know everything about the University of Kent? Think again. After reading this though you’ll be definitely more clued up on your uni and college. We’ve done some digging and found out everything you need to know about Kent’s unique college system.
1. There were only 4 colleges until 2008.
Back in 1965 the university opened (hooray!) and the only college that initially existed was Eliot. A year later Rutherford College was built in a building almost identical to Eliot. Said to be designed by an ex-prison architect, these labyrinths remain mostly unchanged and escape from them is about as difficult as trying to leave a real prison. By 1970 Kent had two new colleges as the student population of the uni began to balloon. Keynes and then Darwin joined the party and that’s how the uni remained until 2008.
2. Then Woolf and Turing joined the party.
In 2008 Woolf College was built for post-grad students and then Turing College was born in 2014 and placed behind Keynes College. Due to the intense walk from campus to Turing College though you’ll probably never bother to go over there unless you’re actually a member and because post-grads actually work super hard (strange creatures) you’ll probably never meet a member of Woolf. Nevertheless, Woolf and Turing make up the final pieces of the super six.
3. Park Wood isn’t a college but it is semi-autonomous.
Built in the early nineties Park Wood is famous for its awesome house parties and the sacred sports bar Woodys. What you may not know though is that it is actually a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the UKC college system. Although not officially a college, the student housing estate has the same number of students affiliated to it, as the colleges do, and it has its own student committee. Every college has its own student committee which works to represent and aid the lives of their students and so does Park Wood, despite it not actually being an official college. Put simply, Park Wood is semi-autonomous with control over its own affairs but without the college title. Park Wood is the Scotland of Campus, it has political freedom and it’s bloody miles away.
4. Certain accommodation ‘belongs’ to colleges.
Without wishing to sound like an angry local here, there are too many damn students! Because of this, over the years the uni has had to build student accommodation blocks separate from the original college buildings. For example, Tyler Court A, B and C are all Rutherford College accommodation blocks and Beckett Court is accommodation for Eliot Students. In effect certain accommodation on campus that you may have thought of as just independent housing, actually has strong links to one of the Colleges. There are even Tyler Court and Beckett Court reps on the Rutherford and Eliot Student Committees!
5. Each college has a master.
As mentioned above, each college has a student committee, every college has its own supremo with a big office and a responsibility to help, and discipline, its students. Much like Snape and McGonnagall your college master is your number one port of call if you’re in serious trouble. Cause serious trouble though and you’ll probably earn yourself a nice little chat in their office about behaving yourself in Venue… Eliot has Mr Burke as master, Rutherford have got Dr Klappa, Darwin and Woolf have Dr Friday, Keynes has Mrs Stevenson and finally Turing has Mr O’Brien.
6. The colleges are named after influential people with links to Kent.
On the one hand, it’s fair to say some of the college’s namesakes have fantastic links to Kent and Canterbury. On the other hand though, there are very loose connections between the influential persons and their college, but hey-ho! Darwin College is obviously named after Charles Darwin, the great scientist wrote his most famous works in Kent and it is the county which he called home. Virginia Woolf, the famous novelist who Woolf College is named after, was a regular visitor to Kent and is quoted as saying, ‘that even compared with Florence and Venice there is no lovelier place in the world than Canterbury‘ and Eliot is named after the famous author T.S. Eliot who wrote the play ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ which narrates the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett in Canterbury.
Here’s where the connections get weaker though, Alan Turing famous for cracking the enigma code during World War Two has very little affiliation to Kent. However, his colleague throughout the war, George Mcvitte, was an honorary professor at the University of Kent from 1972 and it is possibly this is which drove the decision to name the new college after the brilliant computer scientist. Rutherford College is named after the scientist Ernest Rutherford who pioneered the Rutherford model of the atom (which is actually the Rutherford College logo). The only link here though is that Rutherford studied at Canterbury University in New Zealand.
7. Except for Keynes.
John Maynard Keynes is the namesake of Keynes College and, a bit like Rutherford, there is no link between the person and Kent. Whatever the connection though, all our colleges are named after great people.
8. We don’t take it too seriously (as you can probably tell from the photo below).
Let’s make no illusions about this, we aren’t Oxbridge or Hogwarts and our colleges don’t really mean that much to us at all. No one is rushing to get ‘Rutherford Forever’ tattooed on their chest and each college doesn’t have its own gym and list of prestigious alumni. Although we are a collegiate uni, thanks to the details of the Royal Charter granted to the uni in 1965, all of us students are basically one big group who have a greater allegiance to the uni rather than our individual colleges.
9. But it’s still pretty important.
The college system at our uni does have an important role though. With every student being in a college there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to have someone to turn to for help. Student Committee members and your master and their team are employed specifically to represent you and help you out, so make the most of them! With almost all colleges having their own sports teams and big annual events such as Keynestock, the music festival in the summer hosted by Keynes College Student Committee, or the annual Darwin Ball hosted in the spring, the college system at UKC also helps build a great sense of community and adds a bit of fun to everyone’s calendars.