BLOG INDEX


Academic Freedom

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Casual Staff

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CDBU Updates

CDBU launches infographic on student fees

As noted in an earlier blogpost, CDBU has a strong interest in student fees. We are concerned that Fees in England are nearly four times higher than in Ireland and seven times higher than the next most expensive country in the EU, the Netherlands. English students now...

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Abolishing fees for STEM subjects? Part II

In the second of our two short videos responding to UKIP's and Plaid Cymru's STEM policy, Howard Hotson notes how abolishing fees for STEM subjects is logically problematic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLVmvMW1jLM

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Events

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Free Speech

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Government

Universities ‘R’ Us

Guest blog by G. R. Evans If you are a higher education provider, HEFCE’s Blog brings you ‘three ways to reach out with good advice’ on offer from the Higher Education Outreach Network (HEON).  The four providers in the Network have designed ‘Quick Guides’ to make the...

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Lobbying on behalf of alternative providers: what is going on?

Guest blogpost by G. R. Evans     Who ‘represents’ providers of UK higher education? Alex Proudfoot, the CEO of an organization called Independent Higher Education, was invited as a witness to the Committee evaluating the Higher Education and Research Bill. His views...

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Consequences for institutional autonomy and academic freedom

No 4 in a series of Guest posts by G. R. Evans The problem-areas flagged up here are technical but they are also of fundamental importance to academics because they affect academic freedom and the institutional autonomy of providers of higher education. These are...

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Grade Inflation

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Higher Education And Research Act

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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Universities ‘R’ Us

Guest blog by G. R. Evans If you are a higher education provider, HEFCE’s Blog brings you ‘three ways to reach out with good advice’ on offer from the Higher Education Outreach Network (HEON).  The four providers in the Network have designed ‘Quick Guides’ to make the...

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An integrated tertiary education system?

No. 7 in a series of guest posts by G. R. Evans ‘The world of education is not just boxed up into different sections; it is linear’, protested Neil Carmichael in the Second Reading debate. Several speakers drew attention to the move of the ‘teaching’ role of higher...

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Humanities

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Marketisation

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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Lobbying on behalf of alternative providers: what is going on?

Guest blogpost by G. R. Evans     Who ‘represents’ providers of UK higher education? Alex Proudfoot, the CEO of an organization called Independent Higher Education, was invited as a witness to the Committee evaluating the Higher Education and Research Bill. His views...

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Reclaiming the University of Aberdeen

Guest Post by Professor Timothy Ingold, University of Aberdeen We, staff and students of the University of Aberdeen, are angry. We are angry about the way our academic community and our commitment to education and scholarship have been eaten away by a corrosive regime...

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News Round-Up

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,...

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News round-up: academics go on strike over pensions

The universities minister says that students should be compensated for missed teaching time as a result of the pensions strike, and a report says that there should have been greater scrutiny in the appointment of Toby Young to the board of the Office for Students   EU...

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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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Office-For-Students

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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A difficult birth for the Office of Students

The launch of the new higher education regulator at the beginning of January was dominated by a single story – the controversy over the appointment of Toby Young to its board. In this opinion piece, Professor GR Evans and Professor DVM Bishop look at the challenges...

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Opinion

Jo Johnson: an end of term report

Professor DVM Bishop bids a not-so-fond farewell to universities minister Jo Johnson. So Jo Johnson is gone, brought down by poor judgement demonstrated by, first, the appointment of Toby Young to the Board of the Office for Students, and...

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Part-Time Students

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Pensions

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Publications

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REF

A whole lotta cheatin’ going on? REF stats revisited

Opinion Piece by Derek Sayer* Editorial Note: In our previous blogpost, we noted that while there was agreement that REF2014 was problematic, there was less agreement about alternatives. To make progress, we need more debate. We hope that this piece by Derek Sayer...

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Reflections on the REF and the need for change

Discussion piece by the CDBU Steering Group Results from the research excellence framework (REF) were publicly announced on 18th December, followed by a spate of triumphalist messages from University PR departments. Deeper analysis followed, both in the pages of the...

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Why evaluating scientists by grant income is stupid

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop* As Fergus Millar noted in a letter to the Times last year, 'in the modern British university, it is not that funding is sought in order to carry out research, but that research projects are formulated in order to get funding.' This...

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Scotland

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TEF

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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Why the NSS is garbage

A note by Lord Lipsey     The National Students Survey results matter. First, they are used by students to evaluate institutions by comparison with rival institutions. Secondly, they are one of the metrics to be used in the TEF, in awarding gold, silver or bronze...

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What is the Purpose of the Teaching Excellence Framework?

Opinion Piece by Joshua Forstenzer (Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow for the Public Benefit of Higher Education, University of Sheffield) The higher education Green Paper is a radical document. From its proposed rework of the higher education sector’s governance and...

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Tuition fees

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...

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CDBU says review of university funding must be “radical”

Press release: 18 February, 2018 The Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) welcomes the government announcement of a review into university funding. We hope the review will be far-ranging and go back to first principles rather than just tinker with...

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UKRI

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Universities UK

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University funding

‘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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When is a loan not a loan? When it’s a student loan…

The use of terms like ‘loan’ and ‘debt’ to describe student finance are completely misleading, argues Professor Dorothy Bishop In February 2018, the House of Commons Treasury Committee published a remarkable report entitled ‘Student Loans’. A response by government,...

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CDBU says review of university funding must be “radical”

Press release: 18 February, 2018 The Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) welcomes the government announcement of a review into university funding. We hope the review will be far-ranging and go back to first principles rather than just tinker with...

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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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Widening access

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