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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 9. June 25, 1947

Sir Thomas Outlines Probable Development of the University

Sir Thomas Outlines Probable Development of the University

On Sunday evening, June 18, Weir House residents heard Sir Thomas Hunter speak on "The Future of the University in the first of the fortnightly discussions this term.

Sir Thomas began by outlining the history of University Education, in New Zealand. He showed how the present system was largely built upon accident and compromise, and how the lack of any clear purpose had hindered its development. Few of his audience had much idea of the switches in policy, the provincial jealousies and the animated debates which preceded the establishment of the present system.

Future development, said Sir Thomas, would probably be towards the increasing independence of the various Colleges with its possible conclusion in each of the four Colleges becoming a separate University. The future development of Victoria College is, however, far less settled. The development which he himself would like to see would include a much closer connection with Massey College. Victoria was at present overcrowded and inadequate in buildings, equipment and staff. At the same time the need to adapt the lectures, particularly as far as hours were concerned, to the needs of the part-time students deprived the fulltime students of some of the benefits of a full-time University. Further, the site could never be increased sufficiently to provide adequate facilities for the number of students who would probably desire to attend a separate University in the future.

He would like to see these various problems overcome by a long range policy that would include Victoria and Massey as one University. It would then be possible, when the development at Victoria required the duplication of staff, for there to be classes in Wellington still open to part-time students and classes at Massey, where there is ample land, for students able to attend a residential University. This would also benefit Massey, which is at present suffering from the lack of general University education and research. The present site of Victoria would continue to serve as a University for part-timers, for which purpose it is excellently suited in its proximity to the city.

More buildings and better facilities would of course still be essential, but the land available would probably be adequate. The process of duplication would have to be gradual, but the outstanding lesson of the past history of the University should be borne in mind: that it is essential to have an exact idea of what is wanted and work towards it; not to drift into makeshift arrangements.

Answering the question about the possibility of obtaining another large site in Wellington in the same way as Auckland had acquired Tamaki, Sir Thomas said that it was now impossible to obtain land close enough to the city for this to be practicable. The nearest possible sites would be inaccessible to part-timers, but the establishment of a full-time residential University at Massey and the slight extension resulting from the proposed alteration in Salamanca Road would leave the present site adequate in size.

Following Sir Thomas's talk there was a discussion concerning a wide range of subjects, but showing very little dissension from the basic idea he had outlined.