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Academic Freedom


Casual Staff

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CDBU Updates

News round-up: universities face an uncertain financial future

Vice-chancellors have been sharing their concerns that some universities may face insolvency, while Robert Halfon MP says too many students are studying academic degrees   Opportunity and risk: universities prepare for an uncertain future The Guardian, 07/02/2018,...

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CDBU Annual Lecture 2017 now available

We are pleased to report that Martin Wolf's lecture: Uses and Abuses of Economics in the Debate on Universities is now available for download here: Wolf_CDBU_lecture_26Jan2017. For a synopsis, see previous...

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CDBU Response to REF Review

In December, Jo Johnson, the Universities and Science Minister, launched a review of university research funding. The goals of the review appear well-aligned with those of CDBU: ‘to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading...

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CDBU’s Response to the Green Paper

The Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) today submitted its response to the Green Paper "Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice". We undertook this exercise in good faith and with good will since the focus...

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Events

CDBU Launch Meeting at the British Academy

BY Gordon Campbell (University of leicester) CDBU will be formally launched at an Inaugural Meeting at the British Academy next Tuesday, 13 November. Drawing up the list of those invited to attend this initial meeting has not been easy: the space available to us is...

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Free Speech

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Government

Government’s letter to the Lords re TEF: A reply

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop The Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) has had a rocky passage through parliament. As explained here, a Bill goes through several stages before it becomes law, with debate in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as...

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House of Lords debate on the Higher Education and Research Bill

Rapid reaction to the First Amendment by G.R.Evans It’s certainly a story when the House of Lords is packed, as it was on 9 January to discuss the first of well over 500 amendments to a Bill.  Several speakers noted that they were adding themselves to the long list...

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Grade Inflation

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Higher Education And Research Act

The mysterious letters in the library

Opinion Piece by G. R. Evans The Higher Education and Research Bill has now had seven sessions before the Lords in Committee, ending on 30 January. As Lord Willetts acknowledged, it has become ‘famous’ for the sheer number of ‘letters’ promised to various Peers at the...

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Uses and Abuses of Economics in the Debate on Universities

Report on CDBU Annual Lecture 2017 by Dorothy Bishop Last night, Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, delivered a splendid lecture with the title “Uses and Abuses of Economics in the Debate on Universities”. It is not possible to do this...

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Universities as cartels?

Opinion piece by James Ladyman It is said that trust in institutions is in short supply these days. Sadly the government doesn’t trust universities. According to the Minister, the Higher Education and Research Bill is necessary to “break open a closed shop that for...

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Humanities

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Marketisation

Book review: A university education by David Willetts

Professor GR Evans finds much that is self-justifying and sometimes misleading in a new book by former universities and science minister David Willetts David Willetts defends himself more than once about the purpose of this book. He dismisses the possibility that it...

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Value for money – are students right to complain?

Stories about vice-chancellors’ large salaries have led people to ask whether universities provide value for money. We should begin by tackling the question of how we meet infrastructure costs, argues Gill Evans, emeritus professor of medieval theology and...

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CDBU Annual Lecture 2017 now available

We are pleased to report that Martin Wolf's lecture: Uses and Abuses of Economics in the Debate on Universities is now available for download here: Wolf_CDBU_lecture_26Jan2017. For a synopsis, see previous...

read more


News Round-Up

News round-up: Ditch predicted grades for university admissions

A think tank attacks grade inflation, while a new study calls for an end to the UK admissions system based on predicted A-level grades   Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank BBC, 21/06/2018 Universities risk losing their credibility due to...

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Office-For-Students

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...

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Opinion

Resolving the pensions dispute: who has the power to agree?

It seemed that the pensions dispute had been resolved – and then union members voted to reject it. So who decides when an agreement has been reached, asks Professor GR Evans The press was quick off the mark to announce a resolution to the pensions dispute when talks...

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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...

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Who shall regulate the regulators?

The appointment process for the new Office for Students has been heavily criticised in a new report, writes Professor David Midgley – and it hasn’t even launched yet When the membership of the Board of the Office for Students (Ofs) was announced on 1 January 2018, a...

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Part-Time Students

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Pensions

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Publications

CDBU in the International Herald Tribune

The CDBU was recently featured in an article in the International Herald Tribune. The piece was subsequently reprinted in the New York Times. Here’s an excerpt: “Universities are among the U.K.’s most successful institutions,” Howard Hotson, chair of the council’s...

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Melvyn Bragg writes about CDBU’s launch in the Telegraph

Writer, broadcaster and CDBU Founding Member Melvyn Bragg (pictured here on the right) recently wrote a short piece in the Telegraph about the CDBU’s launch last week. Here’s an excerpt: The meeting – which lasted precisely one and a half hours, as it was billed to do...

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REF

CDBU Response to REF Review

In December, Jo Johnson, the Universities and Science Minister, launched a review of university research funding. The goals of the review appear well-aligned with those of CDBU: ‘to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading...

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University teachers: an endangered species?

Opinion Piece by Marina Warner Current policies are imposing business practices on education, and the consequences are blighting the profession, and will continue to inflict ever deeper blight on the people engaged in it – at all levels. The relinquishing of financial...

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Scotland

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TEF

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...

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Value for money – are students right to complain?

Stories about vice-chancellors’ large salaries have led people to ask whether universities provide value for money. We should begin by tackling the question of how we meet infrastructure costs, argues Gill Evans, emeritus professor of medieval theology and...

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TEF and the reputation of UK Higher Education

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop The publication of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) results this week was greeted with predictable glee by sections of the media. The Times was delighted to report that "The LSE, Southampton and Liverpool, all members of the...

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Tuition fees

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...

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News round-up: Ditch predicted grades for university admissions

A think tank attacks grade inflation, while a new study calls for an end to the UK admissions system based on predicted A-level grades   Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank BBC, 21/06/2018 Universities risk losing their credibility due to...

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‘Poor value’ doesn’t mean poor quality

Media coverage of a recent student survey suggested higher education was poor value for money. But, asks Professor David Midgley, what does ‘value for money’ actually mean to students? The announcement of the 2018 Student Academic Experience Survey (SAES) by the...

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UKRI

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Universities UK

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University funding

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...

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Widening access

News round-up: Ditch predicted grades for university admissions

A think tank attacks grade inflation, while a new study calls for an end to the UK admissions system based on predicted A-level grades   Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank BBC, 21/06/2018 Universities risk losing their credibility due to...

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