BLOG INDEX


Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is in crisis; free speech is not

Words by Liz Morrish, independent scholar.  In August 2020, the UK think tank The Policy Exchange produced a report on Academic Freedom in the UK, alleging a chilling effect for staff and students expressing conservative opinions, particularly pro-Brexit or...

read more


Casual Staff

The New Model University

Words by Professor David Midgley.  The writing was on the wall in January. It was then that the government published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, commonly known as the TEF.  Dame...

read more


CDBU Updates


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

Academic freedom is in crisis; free speech is not

Words by Liz Morrish, independent scholar.  In August 2020, the UK think tank The Policy Exchange produced a report on Academic Freedom in the UK, alleging a chilling effect for staff and students expressing conservative opinions, particularly pro-Brexit or...

read more


Government

The New Model University

Words by Professor David Midgley.  The writing was on the wall in January. It was then that the government published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, commonly known as the TEF.  Dame...

read more

‘Skills for Jobs’ – what the FE Bill means for HE

Words by Patrick Ainley, former professor of training and education at the University of Greenwich and regular contributor to the Post-16 Educator. The ‘Skills for Jobs’ Bill proposed in the Queen’s speech last week and introduced to Parliament today ‘is not a serious...

read more


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...

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

The New Model University

Words by Professor David Midgley.  The writing was on the wall in January. It was then that the government published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, commonly known as the TEF.  Dame...

read more


News Round-Up

News round-up: Proposed redundancies spark fresh outrage

Waves of redundancies announced at the University of Leicester, Kent, and Chester have sparked outrage across the higher education community. Students and fellow staff have responded by creating petitions, open letters, or have demanded that highest paid staff take...

read more


Office-For-Students

The New Model University

Words by Professor David Midgley.  The writing was on the wall in January. It was then that the government published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, commonly known as the TEF.  Dame...

read more

We need to talk about academic freedom

Words by Eric Lybeck, Presidential Academic Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Education. Yesterday, Policy Exchange published a report on academic freedom in British universities drawing on a flawed survey with inconclusive results. This did not stop major...

read more


Opinion

The New Model University

Words by Professor David Midgley.  The writing was on the wall in January. It was then that the government published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, commonly known as the TEF.  Dame...

read more

‘Skills for Jobs’ – what the FE Bill means for HE

Words by Patrick Ainley, former professor of training and education at the University of Greenwich and regular contributor to the Post-16 Educator. The ‘Skills for Jobs’ Bill proposed in the Queen’s speech last week and introduced to Parliament today ‘is not a serious...

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...

read more


Pensions


Publications

An alternative vision for the future of Roehampton

This report was contributed to CDBU by Vision for Roehampton, a grassroots campaign organized by members of the UCU Roehampton branch. It is the third in our series titled 'Manifestos for Change', in which we are seeking forward-thinking responses to the present...

read more

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


REF


Scotland

News round-up: Free speech debate intensifies

The "free-speech debate" has intensified after the government announced it would introduce a 'Free Speech Champion' for higher education who will have the powers to fine universities or student unions that restrict free speech. The announcement has been met with...

read more


TEF

TEF in the time of pandemic

This blog post was kindly contributed by Professor Dorothy Bishop. It was originally featured on her personal blog, which you can find here. An article in the Times Higher today considers the fate of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).  I am a...

read more

It’s time to abolish the REF – here’s how to do it

The REF is partly responsible for universities’ present ills, but if we get rid of it, we need to find an alternative model for allocating research funding. Norman Gowar, former principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, suggests a way forward As always it was...

read more


Tuition fees

Cooling the crisis out

"If we wish to change the model, to have higher education serve the public, students and academics, and not as a Ponzi scheme floated on a bubble of student fees, we need to act now", argues John Holmwood. The financial crisis facing the higher education sector is...

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...

read more


Universities UK

Universities need to end their silence

Statement from the Council for the Defence of British Universities on A-level results. English universities have been remarkably silent about the fiasco over Ofqual’s determination of A-level grades. Universities UK issued an extraordinarily misjudged...

read more


University funding

An alternative vision for the future of Roehampton

This report was contributed to CDBU by Vision for Roehampton, a grassroots campaign organized by members of the UCU Roehampton branch. It is the third in our series titled 'Manifestos for Change', in which we are seeking forward-thinking responses to the present...

read more

News round-up: Free speech debate intensifies

The "free-speech debate" has intensified after the government announced it would introduce a 'Free Speech Champion' for higher education who will have the powers to fine universities or student unions that restrict free speech. The announcement has been met with...

read more


Widening access

News round-up: New year, same problems

As the world welcomes a new year, the issues that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on higher education remain. Students across the UK have begun rent strikes, university staff face the prospect of returning to unsafe campuses, and debates about the value of...

read more

News round-up: A-levels fiasco causes chaos for universities

After thousands of A-level and BTEC students were downgraded on results day, Gavin Williams and Ofqual - in a highly predictable U-turn - scrapped the algorithm and allowed students to use Centre Assessed Grades (teachers' predictions) instead, allowing many to secure...

read more

News round-up: Warnings of admissions chaos as coronavirus hits

Inevitably, this week’s round-up is dominated by one story – the coronavirus’s impact on teaching, exams and admissions Exam cancellations to spark ‘almighty scramble’ in UK admissions Times Higher Education, 20/03/2020, Anna McKie The cancellation of exams caused by...

read more

FIND US ON TWITTER