This article is more than 6 years old

Everything you know about higher education is wrong 

No, really, everything you thought was true about higher education isn't. And here's ControversHE, an exciting new HE blog to tell you why.
This article is more than 6 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

Contrarianism rules

It’s quite the thing to be contrarian these days. In fact, you barely get noticed without being at the very least a climate change denier. So in order to offer a platform to all those in higher education (including myself) whose views are generally overlooked on account of them being just to rational, sane, predictable and dull, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to announce a new blog. Having decided to do this though I was shocked to discover that I had been beaten to it. Contrarianism is now so popular that a University has announced the creation of a ‘Contrarian Institute’ to address these issues:

A university vice-chancellor is leading a backlash against the suppression of freedom of speech on campus by setting up a “Contrarian Institute”.

Sir Anthony Seldon, of the University of Buckingham, said that higher education institutions should challenge conventional wisdom.


But forget all that, what you really want is a new blog. Now. So welcome to ControversHE. This exciting new blog will be a platform for all that is contrary and for all who are tired of the traditional, narked by the norms and peeved by the pragmatic.
All the offerings in ControversHE come from a widely respected group of commentators on HE who go out of their way to find a generally accepted reality or widely held view and then present utterly irrational and wilfully perverse opposing views. You can, therefore, be confident that every article has been only superficially quality controlled, is utterly without merit and really should have been spiked.
Moreover, any or all of these exciting ControversHE pieces could represent a desperate attempt to be banned in order to prompt further controversy.
So what can you expect from the first few editions of ControversHE?

Edition the first

  • class sizes – the bigger the better
  • big data? Small data and less data more like
  • universities are hugely under-regulated and administrators need to stop whining about it
  • league tables are the best management tools around
  • undergraduate fees are way too low
  • international mobility experience does untold harm to students
  • all hats, including sombreros, should be banned
  • international students are damaging UKHE
  • leaving Europe would be a funding bonanza for UK universities
  • work experience of any kind fundamentally undermines academic study and student job prospects

Summertime Special

  • the REF happens far too infrequently
  • students: playing a part in a student society is simply propping up the corrupt students’ union system
  • teaching qualifications should preclude teachers from teaching
  • unpaid internships are the best way for graduates to learn about the real world of fashion and media
  • playing sport is bad for you
  • the UK Needs a Donald Trump figure
  • Philanthropy is more dangerous than gambling

Volume 1, Number iii

  • we need more statues of 19th Century imperialist oppressors
  • puppies should not be provided for students stressed by exams. They should be sent to live on farms if you know what I mean. All of them
  • grade inflation is good for everyone
  • universities should invest all their endowments in fossil fuels.
  • expansion is probably a good thing. Or a bad thing
  • the green paper is a brilliant piece of coherent, well-evidenced scholarship

Donald Trump commemorative edition

  • dual support has always been a disaster and should be ended now
  • Vice-Chancellors are not paid nearly enough
  • student representation is simply complicity in the corrupt university governance regime
  • the summer break is far too long. As are the Easter and Christmas breaks. And while we’re at it, our university operations should not be tied to the structure of an historical oppressive feudal agrarian model
  • everyone should have to wear a hat, preferably a sombrero
  • Germaine Greer is the best. Or possibly not.
  • we should film everything that happen in universities. Literally everything
  • restrictive gun laws are holding back our universities
  • Laurie Taylor is not funny. He’s an establishment stooge.
  • No platform – the New Street station redevelopment is a massive waste of money
  • no more safe spaces – everywhere
So, any articles you want to offer then please do let us know. ControversHE has a place for you. And remember, everything you know about higher education is wrong.

4 responses to “Everything you know about higher education is wrong 

  1. Here is my suggestion. Everything is too easy for students these days, they should produce all their work on Typewriters.That will teach them to spell and change typewriter ribbons, two skills that used to be commonplace but are sadly declining.

  2. and take carbon copies, and when they make a mistake have to correct the top copy and the two carbon copies…. another useful skill

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