University of Winchester at Risk?

Below is University of Winchester’s Senior Management’s response to the Universities at Risk Report which was published yesterday.

The report, titled Universities at Risk, published on 8 December by the University and College Union (UCU) is deeply flawed. The report assesses likely financial difficulty or closure by crudely highlighting the level and proportion of public funding and the numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while crucially ignoring fundamental factors such as profitability, liquidity, student demand and the ability to replace the loss of funding with fees.

It is unacceptable and irresponsible of the UCU to publish this ill-informed report. The University of Winchester, like many of the institutions included on the list, is in strong financial health, is able to demonstrate high quality teaching and research and is continuing to attract high numbers of students. The report has the potential to be deeply damaging to the reputations of the universities identified and therefore their ability to recruit students under next year’s new fee regime.

The University shares UCU’s concern about the removal of HEFCE and TDA funding for large numbers of subjects and the disproportionate effect on particular institutions. However, higher education is about to be transformed by the new fee regime and it will be student demand that will determine the financial health of institutions. The University recognises the scale of the challenges ahead and is well-placed with a strong track record, a distinctive ethos and specialist reputation to compete in the market and ensure its future.

The Real Jam & Chutney Co.

“Do you like real food that tastes of what it says on the label? So do we. In fact, that’s why The Real Jam and Chutney Co was formed in 2004.

Hazel Southam, one of the company’s founders, had never tasted Raspberry Jam that lived up to that made by her grandmother, Constance Hall. Realising that if she couldn’t find jam of the quality that she’d known as a child, then probably other people couldn’t either, Hazel helped set up the business.

We wanted to bring Constance Hall’s delicious recipes to a wider public who we knew would love them as much as we did.”

Read more here. I especially love the RASPBERRY JAM!

Winchester: Space for Peace, 27th January

A CHORAL event at Winchester Cathedral to promote peace is being held next Wednesday (January 27). Organised by the city’s university, it aims to bring together several choirs and a host of musical styles from across the globe. Professor June Boyce-Tillman will lead the interfaith event, and it follows on from a similar concert at the cathedral in early 2009. The performers will tackle a range of motets, hymns, religious songs, chants and music from other alternative faiths.

Read full story.

2nd January

It’s been an odd day so far, woken by the postman, read for an hour – then next thing I know it’s 1pm! Not in favour of the gym today, so decided to go out for a walk before it got too late!

Just in time to catch the sun falling at the bottom of St Catherine’s Hill!

Beautiful colours…

Halfway up the hill, the sun is going down quickly over Winchester…

Just in time to catch the last drops of sunlight…

I finally worked out how to use the Macro function on my camera – it had moved from the previous model and I’d given up looking!

New Year’s Day 2010

After a surprisingly delightful New Year’s Eve on my own (I’m an Extrovert, don’t you know, get my energy from being round people!), I chilled out with a DVD, and was still awake when a very luminescent “blue moon” (apparently meaning 2 full moons in a month), made me look outside – this shot doesn’t in any way do it justice (what do you expect), but it was pretty magical!

A Blue Moon

After a morning of cleaning out the fridge, whipping up a smoothie and a doze, decided to hit the outside – and MY was it cold! Walked into town, seeing the old buses trundling past (all full!), before taking some time to locate the 93 out to Twyford Waterworks. Beautiful crisp day, but took about 2 hours to rewarm once I got in!

Beautiful weather as I head into Winchester…

One of many old buses hanging around the bus station

I risked the top deck for a bit of a view on a LOVELY day!

Couple more old buses outside the Guildhall – if you’re into buses you’ll know more – I’ve known this goes on for years, just never witnesses it! Buses were jam-packed… run by the Friends of King Alfred Buses.

Bus took me out to Twyford Waterworks (after a 20 minute delay) – where Matthew Feldwick gave me what was probably the quickest tour of his life, but enough info for me – it was just me so we were able to talk “small amounts of steam, getting bigger”, rather than “tech speak” – hurrah!

Theoretically functional (and beautifully decorated), and will be again, once National Lottery funding has been awarded (bidding in process)… on the boiler room (3/4 remaining boilers in the country in this building)

How beautiful was the light on a crisp, frosty afternoon! This was the view from up by the lime kilns/trains! Check out their open days, and support this historic building (gives me lots to think about for Creating and Consuming History module!)

Bangkok Brasserie, Winchester

bangkok-brasserie-thai-foodNom, nom – go here! Been for the first time tonight (it’s where an Italian restaurant used to be) with a friend. We had a mixed platter for starters (which was all lovely – I’m not usually a fan of spring rolls, but mine was delicious, although we were both saying the Prawn Toasts were the winner!). I had coconut rice and cashew chicken for my main, which was lovely, especially the rice – and was then too full for dessert. Karen had Sticky Rice and sweet and sour white fish. The sticky rice was not good, but they apologised and immediately took it off the bill (can’t ask for more than that!), but the other, and the Jasmine tea afterwards was apparently exquisite!

Capture, Alfred, E-Journals at the University of Winchester

Capture and Alfred journals 2009This summer, I was the co-editor of Capture, and on the Editorial Board of Alfred, E-Journals at the University of Winchester. I undertook a number of interviews, re-edited those interviews into workable pieces for submission, re-edited a number of other pieces (including reducing 10,000 word Final Year Projects, to 3,000 word articles, without losing the essential meaning of those articles), and co-wrote an article on Web Accessibility for those with recorded disabilities. These journals have their official launch at the Learning and Teaching Development morning today.

CAPTURE was launched in 2008. It is an e-journal highlighting L&T at the University of Winchester. Material for the journal is collected and edited by staff at the LTDU, and is an important way of the results of L&T funding being disseminated.

See for a PDF of the journal, available to download.

The success of CAPTURE prompted the development of ALFRED which showcases excellent undergraduate student work at the University of Winchester. The HEA have appealed to universities to provide further opportunities for students to engage with the research process, and generate their own research. ALFRED demonstrates how students are undertaking high quality research and gives them the opportunity to have their work published.

See for a PDF of the journal, available to download.

Brian Draper: Spiritual Intelligence: Book Launch Speech

Feels like a conspiracy here tonight.

“A small crowd gathering in an old bookshop, gathering around an idea, spilling onto the streets, albeit in genteel, Winchester fashion, quietly determined, perhaps, to connect, and to make a difference.

Quietly determined to whisper conspiratorially that there must be more to life than slavishly serving money or massaging ego;

Quietly determined to stop sleep-walking through life, and start waking up to the moments of clarity, to the gifts of epiphany, to the glimpses of magic we are all presented with every day, if we did but realise them.

Quietly resolved, perhaps, to try living as if less really is more.

As if you’ve got to lose yourself to find yourself.

As if you’ve got to die, somehow, in order to truly live.”

Read more

Winchester Festival 2009

Yesterday, I took a little wander into town to check out the Contemporary Art, Craft and Design Fair (finishes today 6pm), which runs as a part of the Winchester Festival. I find it difficult to find belts that I like, that fit, and that I’m not allergic to (and that I can afford), and I was happy to find the one above from Beaubags. Some great stuff on display in the tent, but you know, not much of a budget at the moment for such things!

Winchester Web Scene

Proof positive I was there tonight (and I know, I have a bit of a backlog of other blog material on this blog). My other blog has gone crazy today after that New York Times article yesterday, and yes, I am behind on my tasks for today (and yes it’s nearly tomorrow)! See more about the Winchester Web Scene, formed in November 2008, growing monthly I do believe – not a networking business-card exchange kind of evening, but a chat with people who have shared interests – some coders, some developers, some content writers, some social media types…

Week 10: Live By Priorities

Linvoy Primus and Israel Oyelumade with me in Winchester Cathedral at the end of the series.

The Main Thing
J John started right in with the worm/talking parrot joke, to remind us to “Remember that the main thing is to ensure that the main thing is the main thing!”
9 Weeks Gone
The video spun us through the previous 9 weeks, with Week 1 reminding us not to covet “most people want just a bit
more than they already have”, and questioning, what’s the Number 1 for you now – food, drink, sport… or God?
We saw a brief extract from The Winchester Passion, in which Israel Oyelumade played Jesus, before Claire Carson interviewed him. What did he truly remember from playing Jesus in the Passion?
  • The size of the audience – it was HUGE!
  • How to make the message relevant?
  • How to get under the skin of this man, Jesus? As an actor one tries to understand the heartbeat of the character you’re playing, as a Christian, God had already been working on Israel’s heartbeat!
As an actor, the profession is all about “self”, but when he met David Oyelowo, here he met a man full of self-assurance, and not from the labels he was wearing, but from ensuring that others were OK, which came from somewhere! Israel was asked by 3 people in a week to Holy Trinity Brompton, told “God wants you for himself”, but ignored this invitation until he re-met David at the Royal Shakespeare Company, when he decided “me and God are for keeps”! His priorities shifted, re-centering on God daily. Instead of looking at himself, he started looking at who around could be helped – and is always happiest when talking about eternal priorities!
J John: Is God Your No. 1?
Tonight, we’re looking at Exodus 20:3: have no other God’s before me!
God is God and He’s Not Applying for the Job…
he’s not going to play second fiddle to anyone or anything!

Here comes the analogy….
Your life is like a car…. so is Jesus:
  • Nowhere near your car?
  • In the car, but locked in the boot for Sundays, where you stuff him back in for the rest of the week, in case he upsets your ordinary life?
  • In the car, but a back-seat passenger who you don’t pay much attention to?
  • In the car, but a front-seat passenger, so he’s a bit more in your vision, but still…
  • Or is he the driver in your car….
More importantly, if he is driving your car, are you a backseat driver?
  • As Jesus drives down the “road of forgiveness” are you complaining that you don’t want to go this way?
  • As Jesus points the way at a fork in the road, are you complaining “where are you going?”
Knowing that God is First: What are the indicators?
How do we know that God is first in our lives. Here’s a useful acronym which we’ll expand on…
  • Finances
  • Interests
  • Relationships
  • Schedules
  • Troubles
God is always around, but we’re often so pre-occupied by other things we don’t see him.
Is he first in your FINANCES?
If you have a bag of 10 doughnuts, do you need all 10 doughnuts, or can you give some of it away?! You can’t take it with you when you die, so invest in sending some on ahead – invest in others!!
Is he first in your INTERESTS?
What occupies/pre-occupies you daily? You CAN be interested in other things, as there is sacred-ness in the world (God created it after all!)
  • Why is a football supporter known as a “fan”?
  • Why is a Christian known as a “fanatic”? Take it as a compliment!
Is knowing God the heartbeat of your life?
Is he first in your RELATIONSHIPS?
We need to embrace the qualities of Jesus in each other. J John referred to “My Shack, Your Shed and a Bungalow” (at least I think that’s what he said!) in reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would rather be thrown into a furnace than worship a false god, a real challenge to us when we are called (daily!) to compromise!
The challenge is to obey God, regardless of what other people may think of you, and the consequences. Begins by stepping outside of your comfort zone…
Is God first in your SCHEDULE?
God knows that we have other responsibilities – are you conscious of God in that, rather than praying to Him as a last resort?! We should be constantly aware, tuning in, irrespective of what you are doing and where you are going!
Do you start your day with God. IF he is alive, and if he is the creator of the world – would you not WANT to know him… even athiest professors said yes when asked this question! (“The more intelligent people are, the more stupid they are”!!)
Is God first in your TROUBLES?
There’s 2 kinds of troubles:
  • Minor suffering, that’s what you suffer from!
  • Major suffering, that’s what I suffer from!
When we are troubled, who do we turn to? When it’s dark, that’s when you can see the stars! We all go through seasons of life, when it’s dark, we then see the morning star = Jesus.
How did you answer that, is God FIRST?
The answers to these questions indicate the kind of relationship you have with God – is he in the driving seat, and are you still a backseat driver?
A House Visit?
If Jesus came to spend a day or so at your house, how would you feel?
  • Would your welcome be sincere?
  • Would you hide some of the magazines you’d been reading and put a Bible there?
  • Would you bury some things in the deepest darkest cupboard, or is it all there for Him to see?
These are the things on which you mind and spirit feed. If Jesus is already in there, he already knows [and he already loves you as you are!]
We are called to LOVE God with ALL our heart, soul and mind… we are looking to see EVERYTHING from his viewpoint: thought, word, deed, business, pleasure, friendships, career, home, etc… He should be in all of them, not a compartmentalised “Sunday God”.
In choosing Christ, you are always making a choice whic
h excludes all others. By turning away from other gods [in whatever form they come] you can actually HAVE GOD!
Who is Jesus to You?
  • Nothing
  • Something
  • Everything
William Booth
General William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. Toward the end of his career, he was interviewed by the press. As he looked back over his lifetime, this is what he said: “God had all there was of me. There have been others who had greater plans and greater opportunities than I; but from the day I had a vision of what God could do, I made up my mind that God would have all there was of William Booth.” Thanks
Amazing Grace

Every week we’ve been finishing with my favourite hymn Amazing Grace!
Want to Know More?
All the partner churches would be pleased to hear from you, and J John is back in Winchester for a one-off event on 17th September as part of a national tour.

Week 9: Know God

Do Christians Think?

“I can’t believe in anything I can’t understand” says one student to J John. On discovering that he studied agriculture, J John asked: “So, explain to me, how a black cow eats green grass and produces white milk”…
Many people think that Christians don’t think because we don’t think the way they expect us to think… [but we truly question what we believe, what’s the point in believing in something if it won’t stand up to scrutiny? Not that I have all the answers.. daily questions, and just being open to the possibilities]
Who’s your hero?
Why do we need heroes?
What would God look like to you?
Personal image (heavily marketed) makes or breaks “idols”

Yes, this week is a focus on Exodus 20: 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Interview with Sam Blakey
Sam has been looking after the Press & Publicity for Just10, and often has letters published in The Times and local newspapers.
Sam had an understanding of God as a child, but once she got to university, she created a new life where she actively ignored God. Attending the funeral of a close friend at Christ Church she could feel God’s hope and present, and over the next 24 hours decided to just “trust God and go with it”.
Sam used the word ‘amazing’ quite a lot, which as she said, is what you tend to do when God is in your life. A year after she became a Christian, her husband, having watched The Passion of the Christ attended an Alpha course, and mid-way through, became a Christian.
Earlier this year, Sam’s son was assualted in an unprovoked attack. Sam was so angry about this that she set out on a “journey of vengeance”, and then realised (especially with the example of her son who was demonstrating forgiveness) that this was not how she, with God in her life, wanted to behave, and decided to forgive, at which she felt a burden lift.
The song “The Faltering Child” (re making choices), beautifully sung, written by Chris, head pianist! Brian Draper’s book Spiritual Intelligence was launched, officially released this Friday… J John said the manuscript arrived on a day when he didn’t really have time, started with a quick look, then read the whole thing in one sitting! [There was certainly a long queue for signed copies of the book at the end of the evening, I suspect Brian may have run out of copies!] The idea was created by Danah Zohar in Re-Wiring the Corporate Brain, and Brian wanted to build upon that with ideas from Ecclesiastes.
Back to J John
“If I had a photo of another woman in my wallet, should my wife just say, oh, that’s OK, or should she be angry and demand to know who it is… if I was turning to that woman for advice, would my wife believe me when I said “I love you”. “No, I would expect her to be hurt/angry – she has every right to demand that I keep myself for her. I want to, I love her, I made vows to her.”
How does this relate to “no idols”
Idolatry = adultery to God, it’s unfaithfulness, we have prostituted ourselves by bowing to idols.
We have a jealous God, he doesn’t share his affection!
Capture God?
A child asked whether God was in the house (yes), in the kitchen (yes), in the marmalade jar (yes), and then clapped the lid on and said “Got Him”. If we think we’ve “Got Him” in our hands, then we’ve lost touch with him… God can’t easily be captured.
We can’t chisel, paint or any other sensory form… all will depict Him as less than He truly is.
Some argue that such things are aids to worship, but such aids tend to become the objects of worship themselves.
So what is idolatry?
Any value, activity or idea that you place above God. In the modern world we are focused upon such things as physical beauty, sex, power, etc.
We should be reminded, as the Greeks were “Do not make of yourself an idol”, when it was all about perfection of the human form… we now have Barbie and Ken (and Barbie’s proportions are impossible for a woman to achieve!).
Every morning, some people “bow down” to peer at the weight on their scales… which determines what we will feel like today! (If so, he recommends Deborah Lovell: Lives in the Balance), and quoted a poem she’d written (see something similar).
YES, it is right to care for our God-given bodies through cleanliness, good nutrition and exercise, but don’t idolise one of those (which tends to lead to anorexia or plastic surgery).
Superstitions are a form of idolatry, usually coming from habits (e.g. not walking under a ladder [although I always think that’s more about a paint pot not landing on my head!]) or a belief in protection. Phrases such as “Touch Wood” (and removing 13th floor from hotels and 13th row from airplanes) acknowledge that there are other powers at work.
In the morning, many people check their “Horror-scopes”, explicitly spoken out against by God in Deuteronomy 18:9-12.
J John appears to know a lot about the Freemasons… the Church of England Synod did a study into whether Freemasonry was compatible with Christianity – with an answer of a resounding NO!
  • Freemasonry is characterised by deception, and lower level members don’t really know what is going until they reach at least Level 4.
  • It is often seen as a charitable organisation, good for networking, job opportunities, social status, etc., therefore often seen as harmless.
  • Freemasons meet in Lodges which contain temples, where they kneel at at altar, swear oaths to sacred laws, and at the 4th level, start to worship specific Gods.
  • Curses are prol
    ific, and level 4 and above pledge lifelong silence BEFORE hearing material… and curse themselves to death if they reveal secrets.
  • At the 30th level, Freemasons declare that Lucifer is God (i.e. the Devil, the complete antithesis of God!)
Cultural Climate
Our current culture emphasises “whatever works for you”. However, if you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything!
Best Description of God?
Jesus himself, who came to make God visible, made in God’s image (as are we).
If we’re listening to the radio, there are different frequencies assigned, and we need to tune into God’s frequency. Images of the world are bankrupt, and if you focus on them you’ll end up deceived and disappointed!
God Offers Us Forgiveness
Before Jesus, John the Baptist was a great preacher (and if you think that J John is aggressive, you should have heard him… calling people snakes and vipers!).
J John gave a great illustration of where John the Baptist could have taken a management approach to baptising people…. lining people up, asking them “Name, worst sin”, writing that on a sticker, slapping it on their chest, and then John would know what to free/baptise them from/for! As each person lines up, we got through the ten commandments, and there’s Jesus “none”, but then takes everyone else’s stickers, and then is ready to be baptised in freedom from all those sins [which I assume will wash away in the water, if the stickers I have are anything to go by, and seems to complete the analogy!]. Jesus wants to liberate us from all that weighs us down!
Know me –> Know the Truth –> the Truth shall set you free.
We know Jesus embodies the truth, so we will not be disappointed!
What shape is your God?
The only image on your heart/mind shoudl be Jesus, replacing the focus on all those other things.
All those things that God says have nothing to do with we go and see in museums, or use as art decorations. J John asks that last week if we have statues of Buddhas, ouija boards, etc. that we place them in the Amnesty Bins [I don’t believe that I do!]
Note, whenever you visit a castle and see the throne room, thrones are always for ONE, there’s no throne pews! So, have Jesus on the throne of your life, as, as J John only has space for one woman in his wallet, he only has room for one God in his life.
Just 10
Just 1!! Just one more week of Just10 left, which will be on “Living by Priorities”, and then check partner churches for follow-up courses. All these commandments have serious messages, but these last few are the REALLY SERIOUS ones!