A-Z of Universities: Middlesex

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The Independent Online
Age: five as a university.

Incarnations: Started out as the teaching college of St Katherine's Tottenham in 1878, morphed into Trent Park College of Education, which joined with Hornsey College of Arts, the New College of Speech and Drama (based in Anna Pavlova's former home in Golder's Green) and Enfield and Hendon colleges of technology to become Middlesex Poly.

Address: All over the place, specifically in 14 buildings over a wide area of north London. Six major campuses including Tottenham, which handles admissions, Trent Park (a country park and former stately home of Sir Philip Sassoon), Bounds Green (Sixties whimsy, featured in the movie "Wilt"), Hendon which houses the business school, Enfield, and Cat Hill. Seventh "campus" is health studies located in four hospitals across the capital.

Vital statistics: Has 21,500 students, many mature and 3,000 from abroad. Students come from across the globe - Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv. Takes more than 600 students who are work-based, ie employed in companies in the UK and overseas. Has just opened first work-based learning overseas office in Athens.

Added value: Teaches alternative medicine, eg acupuncture and Chinese therapeutic massage. Offers the first traditional Chinese medicine degree outside China approved by Beijing University. Runs five semi-commercial centres in the Lee Valley regeneration area of north-east London, giving advice to local business on anything from environmental management to telematics. Good for hockey (home to the new pitches of Southgate Hockey Club) and men's table tennis.

Easy to get into? Yes. As a former poly, it has been keen to open up higher education to students without A levels. Has pioneered new ways to recognise and accredit learning.

Glittering alumni: MPs Kim Howells (Labour education minister) and Nick Harvey (Lib Dem); journalists Suzanne Moore (of The Independent) and John Diamond; fashion designers Alison Lloyd and Jono Platt (Ally Capellino label); former British number one long-jumper Frederick Salle; actor Ben Onwukwe (London's Burning); TV presenter Janey Lee Grace, singer Adam Ant; artist Anish Kapoor; and Indian musician and composer Kuljit Bhamra.

Transport links: Shuttle buses run between sites. Plus the underground and London buses.

Who's the boss? Whizzkid Professor Michael Driscoll, 47, the first UK vice chancellor to have taken his first degree at a poly, and an expert in economic forecasting.

Teaching rating: Rated 19 in modern languages (French, German and Spanish) out of a maximum possible of 24, and 19 in sociology; rated 22 in dance, drama and cinematics and history of art, architecture and design.

Research: Came 80th out of 101 in the 1996 research assessment exercise based on the average points scored by each researcher entered. Scored a 4 (out of a maximum possible of 5) in social policy and electronic arts.

Financial health: In the black.

Night-life: Big for balls. The summer extravaganza lasts 36 hours and the Freshers' shindig is huge, with big-name gigs. Students' union has one of the largest venues in north London attracting hot performers such as Neneh Cherry, Dannii Minogue, Space and Sister Sledge.

Cheap to live in? Costs pounds 48.93 to pounds 53.27 for self-catered university halls/flats.

Buzz-word: Wicked.

Next week: Napier

Following our recent profile of Manchester Metropolitan University, we have been asked to point out that the University has two schools of education, one at their Crewe campus (as mentioned in our article) and one at the Didsbury campus in Manchester. Further, whilst courses in business studies are available at the Crewe campus, as mentioned, a full and comprehensive range of such courses are also on offer in Manchester at the faculty of management and business.