BLOG INDEX


Academic Freedom


Casual Staff

A robust analysis of the crisis in universities

Professor David Midgley reviews English Universities in Crisis: Markets without Competition, by Jefferson Frank, Norman Gowar and Michael Naef   The policy objectives against which this book measures the effectiveness of the current system for funding and regulating...

read more

Staff satisfaction is as important as student satisfaction

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop, 13 November 2014 Universities have become obsessed with competition: it is no longer enough to do well; you have to demonstrate you are better than the rest. And to do that, you need some kind of metric. Organisations have grown up to...

read more


CDBU Updates

News round-up: demand for higher education is set to grow

Demand for university places is going to grow by 300,000, but the rise in tuition fees means fewer people are choosing to study part-time   More than 40,000 fewer part-time students go to university due to tuition fees hike, study suggests The Independent online,...

read more

Yes, tuition fees in England are among the highest in the world

It turns out the CDBU were right about tuition fees Prime minister Theresa May has admitted that tuition fees in England are among the highest in the world. It’s good to see an acknowledgement from government of something that we first drew attention to three years...

read more


Events

The CDBU is launched at the British Academy

What is to be done? This was the leading question aired at the inaugural meeting of the Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) at the British Academy on the evening of Tuesday, 13 November. Such was the consensus amongst Founding Members of the need...

read more

Roundup of Coverage for CDBU Ahead of Tuesday’s Launch

We’re delighted to see that the new Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) has been receiving plenty of press coverage from outlets around the world, ahead of our official launch at the British Academy on Tuesday 13th. Here are some of the highlights:...

read more


Free Speech


Government


Grade Inflation


Higher Education And Research Act

A robust analysis of the crisis in universities

Professor David Midgley reviews English Universities in Crisis: Markets without Competition, by Jefferson Frank, Norman Gowar and Michael Naef   The policy objectives against which this book measures the effectiveness of the current system for funding and regulating...

read more

Roll up, roll up for the HERB 2.0 show

The themes playing out in the higher education debates in the houses of parliament seem strangely familiar, writes Professor David Midgley HERB 2.0 (the Higher Education Research Bill) has been playing in both houses of parliament recently. Like HERB 1.0, which...

read more

Update on Amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill

David Midgley has kindly provided this useful summary of recent developments: The text of the Bill as amended by the Lords in report stage is now available at https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2016-2017/0112/17112.pdf. The most significant changes...

read more


Humanities


Marketisation

A robust analysis of the crisis in universities

Professor David Midgley reviews English Universities in Crisis: Markets without Competition, by Jefferson Frank, Norman Gowar and Michael Naef   The policy objectives against which this book measures the effectiveness of the current system for funding and regulating...

read more

English higher education in pursuit of income: the consequences

Guest post by Prof G.R.Evans In the last few years there have been radical changes in the way English higher education is funded and regulated.  That has had negative consequences not only for students  but also at the receiving end of funding, where higher education...

read more


News Round-Up


Office-For-Students


Opinion

What is teaching intensity – and how do you measure it?

The government believes that university courses can be rated according to the level of teaching intensity they provide. Professor GR Evans detects a lack of joined-up thinking “Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great...

read more

Who needs external examiners? We do

UCU has asked external examiners to resign in support of the strike over pensions. But what exactly does an external examiner do? Professor GR Evans reflects on the value of an undersung role On 15 March the University and College Union (UCU) asked external examiners...

read more

Subject level TEF: are the metrics statistically adequate?

Opinion piece by D. V. M. Bishop The Teaching Excellence and Outcomes Framework (TEF) was introduced at an institutional level in 2016. It uses metrics from the National Student Survey, together with information on drop-out rates, and on student outcomes. These are...

read more


Part-Time Students

The Augar report: everything you need to know

You might not have had the time to wade through last week’s 200-page Augar Review on higher education. Fortunately, David Midgley, emeritus professor of German literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, has written an essential  guide to the...

read more

Universities are not like banks: why Sir Michael Barber is wrong

Sir Michael Barber, head of the Office for Students, has said that the regulator will not come to the aid of failing universities. It’s a policy that could have disastrous consequences for students, argues Professor DVM Bishop   In a much-publicised speech on November...

read more


Pensions


Publications

Educating for unemployment

by Prof. Patrick Ainley (University of Greenwich) Ken Roberts (pictured), Professor of Sociology at Liverpool University, described ‘The real trend in social mobility from upward to downward’ at the latest seminar in a series on precarious labour hosted by the...

read more

German media coverage of the CDBU

Continuing our coverage of overseas reactions to the foundation of the Council for the Defence of British Universities, Germany’s leading newspaper and radio news outlets have also picked up the story. Germany’s most celebrated daily newspaper, the Frankfurter...

read more

Ross McKibbin Advises Opposing Marketeers on Their Own Ground

One of the leading historians of twentieth-century Britain, Dr Ross McKibbin of St John's College Oxford, has greeted the foundation of the CDBU  with an insightful piece 'In Defence of British Universities' in the London Review of Books. Those who would defend...

read more

Salford VC Martin Hall joins CDBU

Professor Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford and historical archaeologist, has written a piece in support of CDBU on his personal blog, which has also been reproduced on the higher education blog Wonkhe. Here are a few excerpts: The CDBU is...

read more


REF

What are metrics good for?

Last week, the CDBU's Professor Dorothy Bishop gave a terrific lecture looking at what metrics can offer in evaluating universities - and where they fail. If you were unlucky to miss it, here's your chance to listen to the lecture....

read more

News round-up: Tuition fees don’t all go on tuition – shock

A new study finds that the larger part of tuition fees is spent on support, admin and buildings rather than tuition – and the two-year degree makes one of its periodic reappearances   Scrap REF and allocate QR funding by headcount, says professor Times Higher...

read more

The new REF: biased, unaccountable and unchallengeable

Changes to the 2021 Research Evaluation Framework will increase the stress on academics and strengthen the hand of the managerial elite, argues Josh Robinson, lecturer in English literature at Cardiff University  Two of the changes implemented for the 2021 Research...

read more


Scotland

The Bill on the Governance of Scottish Universities

The Bill before the Scottish Parliament on the governance of Scottish Universities has implications not only for Scotland but anybody interested in the relationship of governments to the universities in their territories. Here are some weblinks to this debate:...

read more


TEF

The Augar report: everything you need to know

You might not have had the time to wade through last week’s 200-page Augar Review on higher education. Fortunately, David Midgley, emeritus professor of German literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, has written an essential  guide to the...

read more

A robust analysis of the crisis in universities

Professor David Midgley reviews English Universities in Crisis: Markets without Competition, by Jefferson Frank, Norman Gowar and Michael Naef   The policy objectives against which this book measures the effectiveness of the current system for funding and regulating...

read more

A fair deal for students: thoughts on the upcoming Augar Review

The government’s attempt to marketise universities has gone woefully wrong, argues Professor Norman Gowar, former principal of Royal Holloway, University of London. It’s time for a radical rethink of student funding   The long-awaited Augar Review was commissioned in...

read more


Tuition fees

The Augar report: everything you need to know

You might not have had the time to wade through last week’s 200-page Augar Review on higher education. Fortunately, David Midgley, emeritus professor of German literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, has written an essential  guide to the...

read more


UKRI

UKRI and OfS: happy marriage or uneasy alliance?

The roles of the previous higher education regulator, Hefce, have been split between two new bodies: UKRI and OfS. The two organisations were meant to collaborate – but how’s it working out in practice? Professor GR Evans investigates   Higher Education and Research...

read more


Universities UK

Universities UK – who does it represent and what does it do?

Professor GR Evans looks at the history of an organisation that has rarely been out of the news in recent weeks – and asks what powers it really has   Universities UK has been in the news recently during the upset caused by the proposals to make major changes to the...

read more


University funding


Widening access

FIND US ON TWITTER