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Title: Robert Bowden Madgwick (1905-1979): Modest Educationalist, Compassionate Visionary, and Civilising Force for his Region and the Nation, a Man ever concerned 'to know how ordinary people lived and worked'
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: It is a privilege - and challenge for me today - to try to explain to you something of the nature of the man who made both his university and so many of us, 'his' graduates, the sort of persons we are today. It needs to be said, at the outset, of the subject of this commemorative lecture, sixteenth in the series, and one given 25 years after its bearer's death, that he should to be remembered as one of Australia's most courageous and achieving visionaries. For he changed the face of both further and tertiary education in this country, particularly for those who were not recent school-leavers; and he was, personally, the shaper of Australia's unique and amazingly innovative eighth-founded university. This institution, one so completely moulded by him, can be said - in Zambia, New Zealand, and notably in Britain's Open University, and across the world - to have transformed hitherto prevailing orthodoxies as to the provision and delivery of tertiary education. Further, and, more immediately, he altered the hitherto prevailing notion of 'New England's wealth' from one based on primary produce for export to a range of 'products' generated by and for the mind. Thus the population of the cathedral city would treble in his years here, while his university would ultimately deliver throughout the nation and beyond its so marketable educational produce by a range of technologies that are still barely understood by many New Englanders. Indeed, the last ten years have seen almost 25,000 part-time/external tertiary qualifications, from certificates to doctorates, completed from our university, and some 70,000 completed like qualifications since autonomy. In fact, in the most meaningful sense of the often used cliche, he acted locally - and long before the world wide web - to produce the beginnings of what is now accepted global thought as to the revolutionary educational possibilities for distance information/instruction transference. At the same time, if paradoxically, he also succeeded remarkably in giving to his university a strong sense of place and a fierce attachment that has bonded - and continues to bond - its staff and students in a manner almost unique in Australia, in nurturing our university as a regional powerhouse, and in closing so effectively the hitherto yawning gap between academic and popular culture. For northern New South Wales, however, he is most often remembered - and underestimated - as the deceptively shy and modest Warden of the New England University College (1947-1954) and as the first Vice-Chancellor of the sequel institution, the University of New England (1954-1966).
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISBN: 1863899014
Field of Research (FOR): 209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
130103 Higher Education
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 52
Series Name: Sir Robert Madgwick Lecture Series
Series Number : 50
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Appears in Collections:Book

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