I must have roots in Scotland

by Alexandra den Heijer

Just returned from another visit to Scotland. This time I presented my research + case BK city at the SAUDE conference in Inverness (see DOWNLOADS for PDF). SAUDE is the Scottish Association of University Directors of Estates. With the high concentration of redheads in Inverness I felt quite at home: just one of the many signs for having roots in Scotland.

Leaving from Glasgow with some Scottish colleagues/friends we took the train to Aberdeen, to visit the new University of Aberdeen library. This building by Danish architects “schmidt hammer lassen” will be open for students and staff in two weeks (see photo and http://www.abdn.ac.uk/newlibrary/ for more information). After a one-hour we were on the next train through the Scottish landscape to Inverness.

University of Aberdeen library - almost open for students and staff (photo visit September 1, 2011)

The SAUDE conference (like SCUP last month) confirmed that European (and North American) universities need strategic, financial, functional and physical (campus) management information to support policy makers’ (campus) decisions. I elaborated on this in my presentation, like in my book. This message was also emphasized by the presentation after mine, about Building Information Modelling (BIM). Maggie Barlow (Space Strategies) and Nahim Iqbal (www.bimacademy.ac.uk) illustrated many possibilities. I want to thank Maggie for putting so much effort in linking their presentation to mine.

International references of campus management certainly help and the link to the local, regional and national knowledge economy should certainly be made. This was also illustrated by principal James Fraser in his welcoming speech to the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI). On the website (www.uhi.ac.uk/en/campuses) UHI states: “Our campus is very different from most university campuses; we offer you the choice of studying at one of our 13 colleges and research centres, over 50 local learning centres, or online from wherever you are.” This shows that UHI is a network university and has ambitious plans for a new Inverness campus, which also has a goal to keep talent and economic activity in the region.

The train back from Inverness to Glasgow (through Perth) showed the beauty of the landscape. I look forward to be back in Scotland. It always feels like a home away from home.

P.S. When I came back my mailbox contained messages from Ireland, France and Sweden, all emphasizing the collective task and suggestions to make use of the available knowledge in the European network. I am glad I can contribute and I will definitely prepare a position paper for the annual EUA (European University Association) next spring, to support my lecture there.

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