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...

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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...

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CDBU Updates

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 post.

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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

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Free Speech


Government

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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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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Grade Inflation

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...

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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...

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Higher Education And Research Act

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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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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Humanities

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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...

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News Round-Up


Office-For-Students

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...

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Opinion

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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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...

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Part-Time Students

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Pensions

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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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...

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Publications

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REF

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 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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Scotland

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TEF

The problem with TEF – a look at the technical failings

Professor DV Bishop outlines the multiple flaws in the TEF methodology   In a previous post I questioned the rationale and validity of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). Here I document the technical and statistical problems with TEF....

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TEF: an ill-conceived solution to a wrongly-posed problem

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework represents a lamentable failure to engage in critical thinking, argues Professor DV Bishop   If you criticise the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), you run the risk of being dismissed...

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Teaching Excellence Framework consultation

This is your opportunity to provide input into the CDBU's response to a "Call for Views”. The closing date for responses is 13 February. You can find out more about the consultation by looking at the background notes at the end of his document. Please put your...

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Tuition fees

News round-up: A university credit crunch is looming

A drop in EU student numbers, a huge increase in borrowing by universities and another overseas campus closes. The financial omens for the sector are not looking good   Universities raise alarm over no-deal Brexit and EU student enrolment The Guardian,...

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UKRI

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Universities UK

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University funding


Widening access

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...

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