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Interview with Graham Milne

Graham Milne shared memories of taking the College Rugby team to an international universities rugby tournament in Bilbao, Spain. He talks about the journey there by bus, feeling lost once they got there, beating the English team in the first round, and the feeling of coming third in the tournament. He also talks about how things have changed at the university since his time there, and the importance of taking advantage of the social aspects of university as well as the educational benefits.

0.00 Start of the interview
0.20 Didn’t initially want to do Civil Engineering. Wanted to do Architecture at Dundee University. Dad owned GMB. Failed first year of his degree and did a Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering instead
1.10 Great honour to be picked by peers to be captain of the rugby team. Great responsibility too – need good attitude, discipline. Wouldn’t see himself as the best player, but had other skills – leadership for example.
4.20 He received a letter from Spain looking for teams to promote rugby in the Basque area of Spain through a tournament. The application he put forward was a little embellished. But to his surprise the team was selected. Initial doubts - didn’t know how they would get there – didn’t think they could do the country credit. Had to try to get funding to travel, but accommodation, food etc would be supplied by Bilbao University. Managed to get the funding but it was a very hard task – some of it came from the College, but most of it was raised externally. They took the Bus to England, cross English Channel, then to Spain via Stagecoach. Train to Arun [???] station. Left there on their own in the middle of nowhere not sure if there would be another train to get where they needed to go. Managed to then catch a train to Bilbao, but they had no-one able to speak Spanish and there was no-one to meet them there in Bilbao. They were afraid of armed police walking around the town due to threat of terrorism (Basque separatists). They felt lost, he “nearly had a mutiny” from the team (i.e. people threatening to go home and not take part). But someone managed to phone University of Bilbao and a bus was arranged to their accommodation.
9.20 First game against England (Salford Uni), and Scotland won. Their opponents had a more professional set up (coach, medics, better equipment etc), but were over-confident, and had gone out the night before, so they were not in good shape for the match. Dundee “took them apart”.
11.20 He feels his team had great camaraderie, team spirit. Great feeling to win Bronze medal. Only sadness is that some players that he had promised would get a game, decided after that first match that they were not good enough and opted out of playing, choosing instead to cheer from the sidelines. He regrets they didn’t get the experience of playing in the tournament.
13.20 He didn’t stay in college accommodation, but stayed at home in Dundee, and had the benefits of that. He managed to see the College’s accommodation, and, compared with what his children have experienced at university, thinks there is a big improvement in what is provided now.
15.10 College / Uni is all new for students, and next steps are work, then rising in your profession, for example, taking part in professional organisations (like the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineers). Planning is important – plan to get where you want to go, encourage others to join your profession. He is a STEM Ambassador (Bridges to Schools) – and has shown school pupils how to build suspension bridges, and conduct disaster recovery exercises. Make sure you contribute to your profession.
19.05 He remembers the whole experience was one of enjoyment. Take advantage of the social aspect as well as the educational one, so join a society or a club that will introduce you to your circle of friends for the next few years. This also applies when you get into the world of work or moving to a new area – it’s all new, and joining a club helps you get into that new environment.

Graham Milne

Interview with Christina Howie

Christina Howie speaks about her experience on the Nursing course at Dundee College of Technology, the close friendships she developed with fellow students, the social life (including the rugby match with the engineers), her subsequent career as a nurse, how things have changed, including improved attitudes towards nurses in light of Covid.

0.00 Interview starts
0.10 Why she wanted to be a nurse – came from a medical family (could train in local hospital or get a degree)
1.10 Why they had a computer course on the degree (story about the computer room)
1.50 She picked Dundee because it was the closest to home
3.05 Course was new and intense; theory from September to May and practical work in the summer (paid)
3.50 Story about the year she didn’t want to be a nurse anymore (skin test an vaccine) (potential scene for stop motion animation)
5.00 Lecturers as former nurses vs lecturers with teaching experience
6.20 Her most treasured memory – the friendships (the first 2 girls she met and stayed with are still her friends)
7.35 Abertay building a mix of old and new, doesn’t miss the building but the nice memories created
8.57 The building was new and modern for its time vs the old hospital she could have practiced at
10.52 After finishing the degree she got a job as a nurse straight away, worked at most of Dundee’s hospitals
11.50 Horrible things nurses are exposed to; each nurse has her own thing (sputum)
12.32 Civil engineering and the nursing having fancy parties together
13.17 Having rugby matches with the rugby team and going to their games
13.10 Society of nurses and charities the science department was involved in
14.05 Career choices then were banking, teaching or nursing; there are more choices now but she probably would have still chosen nursing (medical family)
16.16 Nurses always required, especially now with COVID, some robots used – telling patients to sit down
18.02 Shows pictures (with uniforms and class), badge

Christina Howie

Abertay 25: Memories Re-Animated

  • GB 3516 AY25-MR
  • Subfonds
  • 2020-2021

13 videos and text summaries of reminiscence interviews conducted with former staff and alumni of Abertay University by Abertay 25 Young Ambassadors, and current staff and students of Abertay University. Interviewees were as follows:

  1. Sumant Mathure
  2. David Ross
  3. Richard Irvine
  4. Alastair Scott
  5. Nick Hamilton
  6. Alexander (Sandy) Robertson
  7. Graham Milne
  8. Christina Howie
  9. Ahmar Ghafoor
  10. William Mohieddeen
  11. Rebecca Wade
  12. Jenny McNeill
  13. Louise Giblin

6 stop-motion animation videos were created from the interviews and these are as follows:

  1. Craigie High School - William Moheiddeen
  2. Craigie High School - Nick Hamilton
  3. Craigie High School - Ahmar Ghafoor
  4. Dundee Young Carers - Louise Giblin
  5. Larisa Olaru-Peter - Jenny McNeill
  6. Hope Busák - Sumant Mathure

Abertay University

Memories Re-animated Interviews

Interviews conducted as part of the Abertay 25 Memories Re-Animated Phase. Interview subjects were former staff and students who talked about a range of subjects concerning their connections with the University and its predecessor organisations.

Subjects included their experiences of teaching or being taught by the institution, technological developments there in relation to computers, degree courses (especially Nursing), social life, and student association activities.

Abertay University

Interview with Sumant Mathure

Sumant Mathure speaks about his time as a research student in Mechanical Engineering at Dundee College of Technology, his journey from India to Dundee in January 1987, the work he did on continuous casting with precious metals, and meeting Prince Philip during the College’s centenary celebrations in 1988.

[0.00] Interview Preliminaries
[03:22] Interview starts
[04:20] Name & connection to University - Jan 1987-May 1991 at DIT
[04:44] Research into continuous casting with gold, silver copper; Working with Birmingham Mint & Rautomead; Student project working on unique relationship with manufacture & institution
[06:00] Already had a Bsc in chemistry (?) from India; Dr Robert W Johnson was his supervisor
[07:00] Degree in metallurgy (mentioned in Herald newspaper)
[08:00] Dr R W Johnson presented a paper on continuous casting in Mumbai at the Hotel Taj. This attracted him to studying in Dundee.
[10:00] Lots of profound memories from his “golden years”. Born in 1966 and arrived in Dundee 5th Jan 1987, only 20 years old, no internet, only letters and telephone to communicate. His Dad was in Dubai when he and his mother received the letter of acceptance from R W Johnson to attend at DIT. Courses started on 7th Jan
[11:53] First time travelling alone internationally. Arrived to the worst winter in the UK
[12:45] Not happy with the snow, weather or food.
[13:53] Met friends, started to feel Scottish
[14:50] Food – first 3 months were in halls of residence. He had to prove he was able to do his studies and so was often working on projects into the later hours. Meaning he’d miss his high tea at the halls and would be given cold salad to eat!
[15:50] Difficult to understand the Scottish accent
[16:15] Student council international food fest. Sumant insisted on 4 tables to represent India
[18:50] Had international housemates, from China, Egypt and Zambia.
[19:20] Duke of Edinburgh visit in 1989 to look at the gold project
[22:00] Gold project. Only a few people were able to enter the mechanical engineering room where the gold project was taking place. Needed a pass to get in. Felt very proud that he was one of the students who had access
[23:30] Sumant ran the demo for Duke of Edinburgh. Metal heated to 1100 degrees C – needed to be very careful and was his responsibility to make sure the demo ran smoothly!
[24:20] Duke of Edinburgh comments on India and how pleased he was with the presence of international students
[25:10] Felt honored as a student to be there
[26:36] Becoming a university in 1992-1994. Had to scrap the mechanical engineering degree.
[28:50] He also did consultancies under R W Johnson and 2 scholarships
[29:20] Joined his father in India after graduating in 1991. 1994 – got married. 1995 – made director of his Dad's company.
[31:00] Over 400 clients, very popular and well-reputed company in India.
[31:40] Still maintained contact with R W Johnson and others.
[31:46] Interview Recording ends

Sumant Mathure

Interview with William Mohieddeen

William Moheiddeen speaks about his journey into university; his reasons for standing for Student Association President; the successful campaigns against the proposed merger of the higher educational institutions in Dundee; the benefits of university education to him in that campaign and his future career. His opinion on the benefits of university education and the need for widening access.

0.00 Interview starts
0.13 At first wanted to be a civil engineer (family expectations) but he enjoyed doing PE and ended up studying coaching and development
2.16 Getting experience at his old school, making students enjoy PE; got the opportunity to enrol at Abertay and started University in 2006
2.48 Why he became the president of the students association, to make the University better, to have an impact, provide better student experience; the story about the union building and the nice football atmosphere and how to improve it
4.51 Set up the society, joined the union and found out what the SA did
6.28 Possibility of providing more services for what students wanted, after getting a degree giving something back to the University and the students
6.40 Nice experiences of meeting people from all around the world and wanted to do something for them
7.07 Why he protested the merger, it was a collective reaction of executives and others to the idea of a forceful merger
8.58 Why Abertay was so important, distinct university with certain resources (its size, the community, the relationships between staff etc.)
10.37 Abertay as great at accommodating students from working class backgrounds and the need to celebrate and defend the university’s qualities
11.40 Keeping in touch with people he meet through Abertay (friends, work colleagues), social media very helpful as he moved all over Scotland
13.29 He was the captain of the Gaelic football club, very important experience
13.42 Lecturers who stood out for him, especially his dissertation supervisor (Andrea Cameron), emphatic, supportive and understanding
15.29 Skills developed in university not just as part of the degree, lecturers played an important role in his development as a person
16.13 How being the president of the SA helped him after university, still working with SAs, supporting others to change the society and the environment (students have a voice, make degree and the experience as a student better, get the needed support)
18.23 Why he began his speech in Gaelic, emphasize Abertay as a place for Gaelic speakers (not “othered” by other Scottish people) and for internationals to show the role of Gaelic (not just one way of being Scottish)
20.41 Abertay as helping him decide what he wants to do in life, story about his job as a butcher, wanting to be a bricklayer
22.58 Lecture about British political system in his first year, learning about politics as their future jobs will be funded by the government
24.58 Efforts put into defending the Abertay from merging (posters, good relationship with journalists, petitions); their petition getting international signatures (Australia, Indonesia) + story about the prime minister saying there won’t be a forced merger for Abertay, then moving towards building support for the university (new campaign)
29.40 March and rally with banner through Dundee, invited students and politicians

William Moheiddeen

Interview with Rebecca Wade

Rebecca Wade, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at Abertay, speaks about her career and achievements at Abertay University in Environmental Science. She also talks about her work as a STEM Ambassador, and her experiences so far on the Homeward Bound leadership initiative.

Rebecca Wade

Interview with Jenny McNeill

Jenny McNeill speaks about her experiences as one of the first nursing degree students at Dundee College of Technology in 1975, and her subsequent career.

Jenny McNeill

Interview with Louise Giblin

Louise Giblin speaks about her experiences as a Biotechnology student at Dundee Institute of Technology, experiences in student societies and activism, including her first parachute jump, and the transition to university status. She also spoke about her subsequent career working for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

Louise Giblin

Interview with David Ross

David Ross talks about his time in senior management and about being the Dean of the Faculty of Science and the things that he taught (chemistry). He speaks about students and lecturers that he remembers, the courses, how things have changed since he was at the University, and the role that he played in the Dundee Institute of Technology gaining its University status in 1994.
He speaks about celebrations that took place when the university gained its status. and the reasons that the Dundee Institute of Technology wanted to gain university status.

[00:37] Responsibilities as Head of the department
[2:10] Students who stood out
[2:31] Other staff members
[4:00] Developments around 1990’s – course expansion, building expansion, equipment in labs
[5:50] Differences in campus
[7:20] University gaining status (keeping courses successful while getting more students)
[8:23] + title for the university
[9:06] Claverhouse as a potential name
[9:36] Abertay name explained
[10:00] Competing with Dundee University
[12:21] New students from different areas (Ireland, India, China)
[12:47] +advertising for students
[14:30] Why the DIT wanted to get university status (prestige etc)
[16:00] New courses to be brought in and the development plans
[18:00] Courses that still exist and unsuccessful ones (Chemistry and management) due to changing perceptions etc
[20:42] Courses with big numbers of students vs smaller courses
[21:15] Lab developments easier through university status
[22:28] Staff parties and celebrations for getting university status + law hill and banner
[23:12] Staff close together and having parties
[25:10] Staff experience story – getting high profile biologists
[26:30] Getting more staff to match student number
[27:20] International staff (England, India , Belgium)
[28:35] Learning to split time between teaching and researching
[31:39] Recording Ends

David Ross

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