New Centenary Laboratory for Geography Department
12 July 2017
A state-of-the-art scientific laboratory was officially opened at Aberystwyth University today (Wednesday 12 July) by Dr David Blaney, the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).
The refurbishment of the new Centenary Laboratory in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) marks one hundred years of teaching geography and earth sciences at the University.
The former C66 Kidson room in the Llandinam building on Penglais Campus had been used as a teaching laboratory since the 1970s when it was converted from a former library.
Representing an investment of three quarters of a million pounds, the major refurbishment has created a flexible and multi-functional learning environment which will engage students and harness the latest multimedia technology for teaching.
It is part of a wider investment strategy which has seen a total of more than £9m spent on upgrading teaching spaces across the University.
Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, officially opening the laboratory said: “The fact that Geography has been delivered at Aberystwyth for 100 years demonstrates that universities are part of the fabric of society for the long term. However, they will only continue to serve their communities if they continually develop their portfolio and their facilities. The development of this Centenary Laboratory is an excellent example of the type of investment which is essential to position Aberystwyth University to be able to address the challenges of the future with the same distinction that it has demonstrated over the past century.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “Here at Aberystwyth University, our academic endeavours are blessed with an inspiring location. We have on our doorstep a natural laboratory for the study of Geography and Earth Sciences – from the coastline of Cardigan Bay to the ancient Cambrian Mountains. This new Centenary Laboratory further enhances the student experience at Aberystwyth, providing a state-of-the-art space for transformative teaching and learning.”
Professor Neil Glasser, Director of the Institute of Geography, History, Politics and Psychology said: “The 2017-18 academic year marks the 100th year of teaching Geography at Aberystwyth University and the Department is rightly proud of its long tradition of excellent teaching and research in Geography and Earth Sciences. A number of events are planned within the Department to celebrate our 100th year, including a Centenary Lecture Series and an open invitation to all our alumni to join us to celebrate here in Aberystwyth in June 2018.”
Professor Rhys Jones, Head of DGES, said: “I'm extremely pleased with the major investment that the University has made in our largest teaching laboratory, which has helped to future proof our teaching facilities and enable us to provide our students with cutting edge training in different aspects of physical geography and earth and environmental sciences.”
Nia Jeremiah from the Estates Development Department, responsible for delivering the project explains: “This has been a challenging but exciting scheme for the Project Team, who worked closely with DGES colleagues to form an ambitious project brief, and oversaw the onsite works. This fantastic facility supports new teaching styles, allows more modern methods for conducting experiments and recording data, and will greatly enhance the students’ learning experience.”
The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University is one of the oldest departments of its kind in the UK, and was the first in the country to offer students single honours degrees in human geography and physical geography.
The department’s commitment to excellent teaching and outstanding student experience is demonstrated in its 95% overall student satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey 2016.
In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the University was ranked the best in Wales for Geography, with 78% of the department’s research classed as "world leading" or "internationally excellent". Furthermore, 100% of the department’s research was classified as having either outstanding or very considerable impacts in terms of its reach and significance.