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Missenden Centre seminar experiences

The content of your courses promotes critical thinking on the future of higher education in a global context. Participation offers space to share ideas, reflect on problems, and consider solutions whilst in peaceful and comfortable surroundings. I come back from Missenden Centre with renewed enthusiasm.

Professor Linda McKie, Professor in Sociology, University of Durham

Hello John, I hope you remember but I attended a last minute rae submission session at missenden a few years back run by yourself and john rogers. We got the result of our submission to UOA 66 today and while I cannot tell you the scores because they are embargoed till midnight and information services are probably scanning my email as I write, and in any case you will get them on Thursday I expect, I wanted to let you know that it is much much better than I reasonably expected and a quantum improvement on our 2001 submission. I think that is in no small part a consequence of my attendance at Missenden which was a very modest outlay and an absolute bargain with the hindsight of today’s news. I hope other attendees were at least as successful. Anyway I wanted to thank you personally for the help and support and the practical demonstration that critical thinking is an encouragement, which of course I know intellectually but like most people struggle to do in practice. Please also convey my thanks to John Rogers. I will certainly be recommending the Centre's work to others and intend to attend the next relevant session if circumstances permit. So once again thanks very much.

Jeremy Valentine, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

A lot of conventional conference activity involves being “talked at” by a series of speakers, sometimes for an entire day. In many cases, the same amount of learning can be achieved in a fraction of the time through reading a summary paper.

But the Missenden seminar on widening access, facilitated by Prof John Wakeford, used a much more interactive format within which participants offer their own experiences as case study material which is then critically explored by the rest of the seminar group. This allows for a pooling of expertise, an in-depth analysis of issues, and maximum relevance. So I was immediately able to put into effect the advice I received at the seminar.

Furthermore, it is an enjoyable and stimulating process because everyone contributes in a constructive way.

Danny Saunders, Head of Centre of Lifelong Learning, University of Glamorgan

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