The scuffles over TEF’s methodological merits have a fundamentally political angle. David Morris picks through the recent debates concerning NSS, benchmarking, and medals.
A report from the Student Funding Panel recommends that there should be more student maintenance support a freeze of the repayment threshold and better student understanding of loans and their terms.
Following speculation that HEFCE could bring quality assurance in house, Jess Bridgman calls for regulatory powers to be shared amongst different actors.
Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent, is to be the next President of Universities UK. She won an election contested by Colin Riodan (Cardiff) and Simon Gaskell (Queen Mary University of London). The first woman President of UUK, Dame Julia faces a high-stakes period of office.
Today the Guardian asks the question, what are universities for?
In the course of the article we see the usual dichotomy emerge between the traditional view of ‘learning for learning’s sake’ in which universities are positioned as guardians of knowledge and ‘institutions committed to deepening human understanding’ and the ‘marketised’ view of universities as contributing to public economic growth and preparing students for employment. Cambridge don Professor Stefan Collini is quoted in defence of the first view, with Carl Lygo, chief executive of BPP espousing the second. Lygo suggests that the fact that more students from his kind of background (he was the first in his family to attend university, and was eligible for free school meals) means that universities have become more utilitarian in their understanding of their purpose.
A couple of weeks ago Mario Creatura and Martin Hughes delved into the issue of university representative groups. Mario and Martin (not yet a boyband) both mentioned the difficulties UUK has of representing a sector that boasts of a diverse range of missions and interests.
They were both right. Since the expansion of the sector it has been impossible for UUK to solely represent the interests of universities. But why? Three famous studies from the world of political science may start to offer us an answer.
How do you represent the collective interests of the HE sector? Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities, aims to be the voice for all institutions. They attempt to “promote a successful and diverse higher education sector” [Source]. This is a difficult task. A big reason is because of the word ‘diverse’. While… read more