History of Birkbeck: 2000-present

2001 Over 91 per cent of academic staff have papers reviewed in the Research Assessment Exercise – the highest rate for any multi-faculty institution in London and the fifth highest in the UK.

Over 85 per cent of Birkbeck research is ranked as being of international importance.

Biology receives top marks in the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) subject review. The Department is now ranked alongside Oxford, University College London, Kent and Sunderland for the quality of its teaching in organismal biosciences.

Work begins on the £18.5 million campus consolidation project at Malet Street. Birkbeck’s Faculty of Continuing Education celebrates 125 years of university adult education in London. 

2003 Birkbeck’s team is crowned University Challenge champions.

The major refurbishment of Birkbeck’s Gordon Square Buildings is completed.

Three Schools in the Faculty of Arts – History, Classics and Archaeology, Spanish and English and Humanities – are eligible for the proposed new 6* ranking for their outstanding research.

April 2003 The Master, Professor David Latchman, marks the completion to roof phase of the campus consolidation project with a milestone ceremony. 
November 2003 The Chancellor of the University of London, HRH The Princess Royal opens the redeveloped Malet Street building, consolidating Birkbeck’s position as the country’s leading provider of face-to-face part-time higher education. Moreover, the College continues to prove that it is possible to recruit students from under-represented groups, maintain high academic standards and deliver world-class research.

Around one in four students come from an ethnic minority; 14 per cent of all first degree students have no formal qualifications on entry and over 90 per cent of all Birkbeck students are aged 25 or over.

In addition to 1000 continuing education certificate and diploma courses, undergraduate and foundation degree programmes, Birkbeck currently offer over 90 postgraduate programmes and research opportunities. 

Autumn 2004

The Bloomsbury Colleges (TBC) consortium is set up, consisting of the following six colleges of the University of London: Birkbeck, the Institute of Education, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal Veterinary College, the School of Oriental and African Studies and The School of Pharmacy.

November 2004

The College launches its Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning research centre to develop and sustain collaborative research into lifelong learning at national and international levels.

2005 The Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development adds to its  successes by being awarded The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2005.
September 2005

In the first-ever National Student Survey, Birkbeck comes joint top in the country for teaching, and is rated seventh in the country in the overall ranking. Birkbeck beat 92 multi-faculty institutions and all other higher education institutions in London.

February 2006

Birkbeck’s world-class research is celebrated when a team studying brain function in the young attends a reception at Buckingham Palace to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

April 2006

Birkbeck is awarded £5m by the Government to take its evening programmes to east London. The ‘Birkbeck, Stratford’ project aims to extend higher education into ‘hard to reach’ communities in partnership with the University of East London. Birkbeck is awarded a further £3.7m to lead the Linking London: Lifelong Learning Network (LLLLN).

Birkbeck comes top in a league table of research funding. The College was successful in 48 per cent of its grant applications – well above the national average.

January 2007

The Wolfson Institute for Brain Development and Function, in Birkbeck’s new Henry Wellcome Building, opens its doors. Researchers at the Institute will place specific emphasis on the development of the brain during infancy and childhood.

June 2007

The first Birkbeck, Stratford Open Evening is held to showcase an exciting range of programmes, from certificates, diplomas and undergraduates degrees (Foundation and BSc) to postgraduate degrees.

Birkbeck’s new Centre for Film and Visual Media opens at 43 Gordon Square, with a 70-seat cinema auditorium.

Summer 2007

The Learning Information Centre in the newly developed Birkbeck foyer opens, boasting the College’s new Café on the Square, information points for the public about Birkbeck courses and a mural of famous faces and recent graduates.

Visiting from New York, James Birkbeck IV meets his illustrious ancestor.

1 October 2007 Faculty of Continuing Education officially becomes the Faculty of Lifelong Learning.
October 2007
Birkbeck Stratford welcomes its first students. 
December 2007 The withdrawal of funding for students studying for an equivalent or lower qualification (ELQ) than one that they already hold, has a big impact on funding for Birkbeck, where a large proportion of those studying at undergraduate level are ELQ students.  In response to the funding withdrawal Birkbeck launches a campaign for the increase of the part-time allocation, to provide a temporary institutional funding ‘safety net’ for three years, and to negotiate exemptions for particular groups of students.

In response to the withdrawal of funding for ELQ students the College carries out a major strategic review of its structure and operations. 

Research Assessment Exercise, based on a comparison of research in a range of subjects at 159 higher education institutions in the UK, ranks Birkbeck in the top 25 per cent of UK multi-faculty HEIs.

The Centre for Psychosocial Studies is transferred to the new School of Psychosocial Studies (now the Department of Psychosocial Studies), having established a range of clinically and socially oriented taught Master's courses in collaboration with external bodies, for example, the Institute of Family Therapy, the Institute for Group Analysis, and the British Association for Psychotherapy.

May 2008 Birkbeck’s School of Computer Science celebrates 50 years.  The School was one of the first academic computing departments in the UK.  Andrew Booth, a computer pioneer and one of the first producers of computers anywhere in the world was at Birkbeck from 1946-1962.  Booth published an algorithm for a parallel multiplier, which still forms the basis of the multiplication circuits in today’s PCs.  Today the School continues as a leading centre of expertise in information and knowledge management, web technologies, computational intelligence, and bioinformatics and information systems development.
July 2009 Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, set out his vision for higher education in a speech to university Vice Chancellors at Birkbeck, having toured the soon to be opened My Birkbeck Student Centre and the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (the Babylab). The Minister says that in the higher education landscape, that is now more diverse in its approaches than ever before, Birkbeck’s commitment to research and teaching excellence and its innovative approach to evening study is an exceptional example.
1 August 2009

Following the strategic review carried out in 2008 the College is restructured into five new Schools, each with a devolved budget and an Executive Dean. 

October 2009

Birkbeck’s Community Leadership Programme wins the Times Higher Education Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community award.

Established in 2005 in partnership with the London Civic Forum, the Community Leadership Programme provides community leadership development for participants from voluntary and community sector organisations, faith community organisations, local government officers and councillors. The programme enables learners to gain key knowledge about community development, regeneration partnerships working with local authorities, social enterprise, community cohesion work, including inter-faith dialogue and participation in the new forms of local governance.

The My Birkbeck Services helpdesk and website are launched.  The service provides a one-stop-shop for students, providing information, advice and support from when they first make an enquiry about studying at Birkbeck, until they graduate.  A 600 page website provides information on topics including financial support, progression to further study, and career options.  They also provide workshops to support students with their essay writing, using the library and other relevant study skills and organise a comprehensive weekend orientation and summer school activities designed to support non-traditional students as they move into higher education.  The My Birkbeck Services helpdesk, located at the front of the main Birkbeck building offers face-to-face support during the day, in the evening and at weekends.

January 2010

Birkbeck forges closer links with the largest university in Latin America through an agreement signed between Birkbeck’s Department of Psychosocial Studies, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy and the Department of Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology at the Univesity of São Paulo, Brazil.  The agreement will enable an exchange of students and staff between the two institutions, aiming to increase Birkbeck’s international visibility and facilitate contact between PhD students.

June 2010

Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck, is awarded a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours, for services to Higher Education.

In the same honours, Professor Julia Goodfellow CBE, who was the head of the Crystallography department at Birkbeck in 1996 and was also Vice Master from 1998, is made a Dame for her services to science.

July 2010

Harvey McGrath, Chairman of the London Development Agency and Vice Chairman of the Mayor of London’s Skills and Employment Board, is elected the new Chair of Governors of the College. He succeeds Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, who held the post from November 2003.

Commenting on his appointment Harvey McGrath said: 'I am very excited by this opportunity to make a contribution to Birkbeck’s unique position in part-time higher education, at such a critical time in the College’s history.'

October 2010

Birkbeck is included in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time.  The College is ranked 152 in the ‘global elite’ of the top 200 universities in the world.

Birkbeck welcomes the recommendation of Lord Browne’s Review of HE Funding and Student Finance to offer part-time students equal funding with full-time students by giving them access to loans, instead of paying their fees upfront.  During the review Birkbeck submitted evidence to the Review Panel and the Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman, appeared before a panel to give oral evidence.

November 2010 The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism is launched with an inaugural lecture from its first Director, Professor David Feldman.  The Institute was announced in November 2009, following a £1.5m donation from Pears Foundation. It is founded on the principle that the study of antisemitism is vital to understanding all forms of racism, prejudice and xenophobia.