22 results
Date Name

Wonkery in the media

The way wonkish stories are covered in the media presents issues for those trying to foster a deeper understanding of the way the HE sector works. Arthi Nachiappan suggests a path through Wonkfest for those who want to improve their media skills.

In defence of modern universities

With calls to return to the binary divide once again heard, Matthew Taylor offers an appreciation of just how good modern universities are at forging connections.

There are opportunities ahead for a new sector agency

As the boards of the Leadership Foundation, the Equality Challenge Unit and Higher Education Academy (HEA) confirm their merger plans, the Chair of the Shadow Board leading the creation of the new agency reflects on the way ahead for the new body.

TEF will check the most complacent and privileged

Some parts of the sector are already trying to explain away their expected TEF results. Jim Dickinson argues that TEF should instead force some areas of the sector to face up to its shortcomings.

An article of blame or an article of faith?

Responding to Sonia Sodha’s article in The Observer which strongly criticised universities, Andy Westwood asks if the sector has got the balance right in the debate about value and diversity in the system.

The case for a Scottish (Blue) Bell

The Bell Review was disappointingly light on consideration of the devolved nations. Alastair Robertson argues that it is time for a similar rationalisation of Scotland’s distinctive sector agencies.

Precarious work is no longer atypical in academia

Jonathan White gets behind the numbers on casual and precarious employment in universities, and explains why trade unions and employers are struggling to see eye-to-eye on the issue.

A quiet plea for pluralism in regulation

Following speculation that HEFCE could bring quality assurance in house, Jess Bridgman calls for regulatory powers to be shared amongst different actors.

The art of the implausible

A week after vice chancellors intervened in the General Election campaign with an attack on Labour’s tentative proposal to lower tuition fees – citing its ‘implausibility’ – Martin McQuillan argues that the intervention was a mistake that may now backfire.

Politics isn’t fair, is it?

As the sector goes to war with politicians over higher education fees, Jim Dickinson calls for an alternative approach: one supported by the public and based on a respect for democracy and the politics (and politicians) that drive it.

What are universities for?

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.

The emergence of mission groups; from corporatism to pluralism?

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.

The challenge of representation

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