Monday, 23 February 2015

High Tech human touch 1961-2011: a concise history of the University of Twente

In a move away from science and religion, Stephen Town's next book donation documents the trials and tribulations of a young university finding its feet in 20th century higher education.

De Boer, J., Drukker, J.W, High tech, human touch 1961-2011: a concise history of the University of Twente, in the University Library at K 8.492 DEB

The University of York celebrated its
50th Anniversary across the 2013-14 academic year, and the
Information Directorate celebrated this with a historic timeline in the Fairhurst Building.

In its final year of being under 50, York was also ranked (in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50) 1st in the UK, and 7th in the World, amongst these relatively young institutions.

The University of Twente is of similar age, welcoming its first students in 1964, and this bilingual book reflects on its history. Compared to the apparently smooth and placid growth of York, Twente’s history is packed with incident, drama and dispute, from the original competition between cities to found the University through to internal debates about the appearance of condom vending machines; all being described in this book in a disarmingly honest and open style (in both Dutch and English).

University of Twente campus by wytze
Reproduced under a Creative commons licence
The book was given to me from a delegation from Twente who visited last week, seeking advice on bringing together their Library and ICT units into a single service. One of the pleasures of academic life is the opportunity to share experience and knowledge with others internationally, and it is also pleasing to be seen by one’s peers as exemplary in some way.

The title of the book ‘high tech human touch’ is very much the motto of this kind of enterprise, so the gift was apposite and there is much of relevance in their story for any University, particularly around research focus and excellence. Through the donation of the book to the Library I hope we can share the valuable insights and knowledge gained from another young and advancing institution.

De Boer, J., Drukker J.W, High tech human touch: A concise history
of the University of Twente, 2011. K 8.492 DEB

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