Pearson College, the newest institution of higher education in Britain, does not have ancient ivy-covered buildings or a grassy quadrangle where students can while away the hours debating whether Plato or Aristotle came closer to the truth.
But with its base on The Strand in London, at the headquarters of Pearson, a publishing and educational conglomerate that owns Penguin Books, The Financial Times newspaper and a 50 percent stake in The Economist magazine, the college promises students more than just a pretty view across the Thames.
“What we offer is the chance to study business within a very successful business,” Roxanne Stockwell, the college’s managing director, said in an interview on campus. The current cohort, which began classes in September, are all studying for a degree in business and enterprise. However, the school plans to eventually offer a full undergraduate curriculum as well as certain master’s degree programs. Over time they plan for hundreds, and then thousands, of students. “Ultimately we want to become a university,” said Ms. Stockwell.
First, they had to attract 40 students willing to risk their futures on a university with no traditions, no alumni network and no established reputation. For the next few years, until a law changes to allow the college to issue its own degrees, students will actually graduate from a University of London college.