BLOG INDEX


Academic Freedom

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Casual Staff

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CDBU Updates

Abolishing fees for STEM subjects

Last October, the Council for Defence of British Universities (CDBU) asked UK political parties for their manifestos on financing of Higher Education. We are still waiting for a reply from Labour and Conservatives. See http://cdbu.org.uk/party-policies-on-fees/ We are...

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UK political parties on fees: A deafening silence

A core concern of CDBU is the funding of higher education in the UK. We are not a party political organisation, but we take an intense interest in policies relevant to our aims. With an impending election, we think it is important that the public be well-informed...

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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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East Anglia Regional Meeting

  Saturday 19 October 2013 11am-1pm   Venue: Lightfoot Room, Divinity School, St John’s College, Cambridge (The “Divinity School” is part of St John’s College, and the entrance is off the alley opposite the Main Gate of the College.)   Main speakers: Andrew...

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Events

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Free Speech

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Government

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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More Misrepresentation in the Green Paper Damages its Credibility

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop In my previous post, I queried the justification for the proposed new Teaching Excellence Framework. According to the Green Paper, research-intensive universities undervalue teaching, and students and employers are dissatisfied with the...

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Reflections on the Green Paper: The Teaching Excellence Framework

Opinion Piece by Roger Brown Introduction In Everything for Sale? with Helen Carasso (Routledge, 2013) the writer argued that the main changes in higher education policy over the past thirty or so years could be explained in terms of the progressive marketisation of...

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Grade Inflation

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Higher Education And Research Act

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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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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Humanities

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Marketisation

Universities as factories

by Dorothy Bishop and Rowan Tomlinson In a lecture delivered at the University of West London on 7th July, Professor Roger Brown drew some important lessons for Higher Education from an analysis of economic inequality. First, he established that economic inequality...

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Australian universities at risk

Although CDBU's focus is on British Universities, we take a keen interest in developments in other countries. Australia is of particular interest, because the loans system used in Australian higher education was used to help justify the marketisation of English...

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Competition and Choice in Undergraduate Education

By Roger Brown Roger Brown is a leading expert on higher education policy in the UK, and an active member of CDBU.  His work commands attention because he habitually writes as a scholar rather than a polemicist, and eschews ideology in favour of a determination to let...

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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

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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Opinion

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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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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More Misrepresentation in the Green Paper Damages its Credibility

Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop In my previous post, I queried the justification for the proposed new Teaching Excellence Framework. According to the Green Paper, research-intensive universities undervalue teaching, and students and employers are dissatisfied with the...

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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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Problems with Peer Review for the REF

Opinion Piece by Derek Sayer*  At the behest of universities minister David Willetts, HEFCE established an Independent review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment in April 2014 chaired by James Wilsden. This followed consultations in 2008-9 that played a...

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Scotland

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TEF

Will Unistats sink the TEF? We live in hope

Now that all the data used to inform TEF ratings is publicly available, argues Professor D V M Bishop, TEF itself becomes redundant   I have been vocal in my criticism of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): its rationale is disingenuous, it is based on measures...

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TEF: so what is a ‘subject’?

Opinion piece by Professor G. R. Evans The subject-based Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) promises to give prospective university students clear, easy-to-understand information so that they can see at a glance where ‘excellent teaching and...

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Tuition fees

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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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

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...

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How should we fund universities?

Discussions about student funding don't have to revolve around tuition fees, argue Josie McLellan, Richard Pettigrew and Tom Sperlinger. Instead we should start by asking fundamental questions about the purpose of a university education   Debates about higher...

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Widening access

How should we fund universities?

Discussions about student funding don't have to revolve around tuition fees, argue Josie McLellan, Richard Pettigrew and Tom Sperlinger. Instead we should start by asking fundamental questions about the purpose of a university education   Debates about higher...

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