Date Name

People in higher education: Tricia King

In the first in our series profiling people in higher education, Emily Lupton sits down with Tricia King, Pro Vice-Master and Director of External Relations at Birkbeck, University of London, to discuss her career in university marketing which spans two decades and several universities.

HE Power List: Haldane, Robbins & Dearing

Reinterpreted, Revisited and Rebooted. Celebrated and definitely remembered. Andy Westwood remembers three giants of higher education and explains why they made it on the 2015 HE Power List.

HE Power List: under the influence?

As we launch the HE Power List, Mark Fuller asks who holds influence? There is no concrete, scientific way of quantifying influence over policy – policymaking is an inherently messy affair of compromise and accommodation. But we’ve done our best, and Mark explains why.

Professor Sir David Watson (1949 – 2015)

An obituary of Professor Sir David Watson – a giant figure in higher education who has died aged 65. Written by his friend and colleague Rob Cuthbert.

Introducing the Higher Education Power List

Wonkhe is teaming up with corporate communications consultancy Linstock to compile a list of the 50 people most likely to have an influence over HE in the next year. Here we introduce the project and give details of how you can get involved.

Balancing the deck

From ‘personality’ vice chancellors, to faltering governance structures, senior leadership teams in universities have plenty of internal challenges. However, balancing the team based on an honest appraisal of strengths and weaknesses will likely provide a solid foundation to build on.

Policy advisers research – your help needed

Vice Chancellors are increasingly looking towards professional policy advisers to help them navigate the changing higher education landscape and implement reform within their own institution. Richard Brabner is conducting some new research in to this emerging profession for the Leadership Foundation, and needs the assistance of wonks across the UK in responding to a survey to better understand these roles.

Speaking a common language

As UK universities gird themselves for publication of the first Research Excellence Framework results, Stevie Upton reflects on the difference between US and UK approaches to policy making and thinking and how academics write for policy makers – with lessons to learn for wonks on both sides of the Atlantic.

The international search: competing in a global marketplace

Universities are competing in a global marketplace and are keen to cast the net wide when looking to fill important senior roles. But seeking global talent comes at a price. Kerry Shepherd takes a look at the usually hidden world of international search.

Managing your career in HE administration

Surprisingly, ‘Managing Your Career in Higher Education Administration’ is possibly the first book in the UK covering careers in university administration. And as these careers evolve and grow in a changing sector, it’s unlikely to be the last. Paul Greatrix reviews the book and reflects on the state of the profession, how it is thought about in the sector and the pitfalls of searching for status rather than focusing on delivery and innovation.

Searching for gender balance at the top

Responding to recommendations in the latest Leadership Foundation report in to leadership and gender, Ben Tucker takes a look at his own industry – executive headhunters to unpick the experience of women in applying for senior jobs. With an unacceptable gender imbalance remaining, Ben looks at how and why people apply for jobs in the sector, as well as how panels make their final decision.

What is a wonk?

The question ‘what is a wonk?’ has come up many times since Wonkhe was launched three years ago. But in three years, understanding has come a long way. As the higher education sector in the UK has accepted if not embraced the term, there is still some clarification to be done. In this piece, Mark Leach looks at who the HE wonks are and draws lessons from other countries and other sectors.

Diversity at the top

As student populations have diversified, progress has not been matched in leadership and management across UK higher education. Randall Whittaker looks at the dire state of diversity at the very top, shares some shocking examples of recent intolerance that he has faced on UK university campuses, and calls for urgent action to tackle this problem.

The changing role of PVC

Things are changing for deputy and pro vice chancellors (PVCs) as is wider management and leadership in today’s increasingly complicated higher education sector. Sue Shepherd takes a look at these changing careers, who are occupying the posts and why it matters to universities and the sector at large.

Assessing the legacy of Leighton Andrews

Leighton Andrews, the former Welsh Government Education & Skills Minister resigned on Tuesday in a shock move. The former Minister has long been a divisive figure, hitting national headlines with his Welsh student support package, the reconfiguration agenda and his qualifications spat with Michael Gove. But despite negative headlines and plenty of arguments, the Minister has rarely been on the back foot. Indeed, he has reshaped the landscape and topography of Welsh higher education – far reaching policies that are likely to reverberate for many years to come. As we wait to learn the future of the Welsh Government’s HE policy, we look at the legacy of Leighton Andrews and his controversial policy agenda.

Survey motivation

This week I have decided to have a pop at the practice of asking students about their motivations for study in student experience surveys. It is not a particularly topical issue – but then, if we waited for some aspects of higher education policy to appear in the news cycle before talking about them we would be waiting a long time. This post is a reflection on the question of student motivation, how and why we measure it and what that says about us.

NCH – new company structure

Private investment is about to boom in the UK and we need to be clear about the complex mechanisms being employed. Something bugs me about Anthony Grayling and the way he presents New College of the Humanities. Nothing is ever quite as it seems. This is an investigation into recent changes to NCH that will be of interest to anyone paying attention to the way the sector is changing behind the scenes.

Dispatches from a wonk’s nightmare

Imagine, fellow wonks, if you will, your vice chancellor or chief executive coming to you one day to be briefed on the latest impenetrable funding council communiqué. Deciding what your institution’s or organisation’s opinion should be will involve speaking with experts and respected colleagues, reviewing research, thinking about how the media might tell the story and second-guessing your competitors. It probably includes waving a finger in the air to test which way the political winds are blowing.

It almost certainly does not involve handing the decision over to a thousand-strong student rabble with a three-day hangover. Who know significantly less than you do about any given policy issue in higher education. For a body of professionals hired and valued for our expert knowledge base, NUS National Conference must surely seem to wonks to be the worst idea ever concocted.