News round-up: A financial crisis hits Reading – but it’s not the only university with money troubles

Struggling universities are cutting staff – and a survey reveals just how unpopular TEF is


More job cuts on cards unless tuition fee cap lifted, v-c warns

Times Higher Education, 15/02/2019, Jack Grove

A sector leader has warned that more leading UK universities will be forced to make significant job cuts if undergraduate tuition fees remain frozen.

Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, said that his plan to cut the equivalent of 380 full-time jobs over the next five years – equal to one in 14 posts – represented the more extreme end of a more general squeeze on funding across the 24-strong Russell Group of research-intensive institutions.


Half of universities in England have fewer than 5% poor white students

The Guardian, 14/02/201, Amy Walker

More than half of universities in England have fewer than 5% of white working-class students in their intakes, according to researchers.

A report from the National Education Opportunity Network (Neon) found that white youngsters in receipt of free school meals were the least likely of any group to study at university after those from Traveller backgrounds.


TEF means more work but not better teaching, union members say

Times Higher Education, 14/02/2019, Anna McKie

The UK’s teaching excellence framework has led to increased staff workloads but has had a limited effect on improving teaching, according to a survey that confirms the assessment’s deep unpopularity.

In the survey of 6,337 members of the University and College Union, published on 14 February, 71 per cent of respondents said the TEF awards failed to recognise and reward teaching excellence. Only one in 10 respondents welcomed the introduction of the assessment, which is based on data on student satisfaction, retention and graduate employment, plus institutional submissions.


Universities propose Europe-wide professional body for teaching

Times Higher Education, 14/02/2019, Anna McKie

Universities have proposed the creation of a Europe-wide professional body for teaching enhancement, in a bid to drive up educational standards.

report published by the European Universities Association on 14 February proposes a set of models that could address the “patchy” use of teaching enhancement in higher education institutions, including the creation of a European professional body modelled on the UK’s former Higher Education Academy.


De Montfort University vice-chancellor had link to pay panel

The Times, 13/02/2019, Rosemary Bennett

The head of De Montfort University who quit with immediate effect this week had a business link with the chairman of the committee that awarded him the biggest salary rise of any vice-chancellor last year, documents show.

Dominic Shellard, 52, held shares in a holding company run by Anthony Stockdale, chairman of the remuneration committee. Mr Stockdale approved the 22.4 per cent rise for Professor Shellard, from £286,000 to £350,000. This was the highest pay rise of any university head, according to the Office for Students watchdog.


Vice-chancellors paid £500,000 or more at six universities in England

The Guardian, 12/02/2019, Richard Adams

Six universities in England paid their vice-chancellors £500,000 or more in salary, bonuses and benefits last year, while nearly half of all VCs received more than £300,000, according to the higher education regulator’s first survey of senior staff pay.

The Open University, London Business School and the University of East London topped the table for leaders’ remuneration, with the OU paying out £718,000 in 2017-18, including compensation for loss of office, to its departed vice-chancellor Peter Horrocks.


Cardiff University to cut 380 posts after £20m deficit

BBC, 12/02/2019, anonymous

Cardiff University has announced plans to cut 380 posts over five years as part of moves to address a budget deficit of more than £20m.

In an email to staff, university bosses said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out but hoped the reduction could be achieved through voluntary severance and recruitment controls.


Universities forced to cut staff as financial crisis in higher education deepens

i news, 12/02/2019, Richard Vaughan

Fresh fears are mounting over the financial crisis hitting the university sector after a raft of institutions announced plans to make staff redundancies in a desperate bid to save money. Growing numbers of providers have told workers they will be making cuts due to heavy budget deficits, fuelling concerns about the viability of parts of the sector.


£350,000-a-year De Montfort University chief resigns amid inquiry

The Times, 12/02/2019, Rosemary Bennett

One of Britain’s highest-paid university vice-chancellors has resigned with immediate effect amid a watchdog investigation into governance and “a number of regulatory matters”.

The resignation of Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University in Leicester, comes after a week of speculation over his future. Last week Sir Ian Blatchford, chairman of governors, resigned from the board.


Reading University in crisis amid questions over £121m land sales

The Guardian, 09/02/2019, Andrew McGettigan and Richard Adams

A major British university is in a financial and governance crisis, having reported itself to regulators over a £121m loan.

The University of Reading has confirmed to the Guardian that it is investigating whether it improperly benefited from the sale of land belonging to the National Institute for Research in Dairying trust, with the £121m from the sales having been spent by the university and replaced with the equivalent of IOUs in the trust’s accounts.


Lancaster University opens German campus to safeguard its post-Brexit future

The Times, 08/02/2019, Rosemary Bennett

Lancaster University is opening a campus in Germany in an attempt to protect itself from the impact of Brexit.

While other universities have signed tie-ups, partnerships and joint research projects with EU universities since the referendum in 2016, this is the first campus to be started from scratch, and will open this year in Leipzig.


Russell Group university outreach programmes flounder as half admit fewer state school students than previous year

Daily Telegraph, 07/02/2019, Camilla Turner

Russell Group university outreach programmes appear to have floundered as half admitted fewer state school students than the previous year.

Durham, Exeter, Edinburgh, Warwick and Birmingham universities are among those where the proportion of state educated pupils has fallen, according to data published by Higher Education Statistical Agency (Hesa).


Cambridge University receives £100m gift from former student

The Guardian, 05/02/2019, Richard Adams

The University of Cambridge is celebrating the largest single donation from a British donor in recent history, after announcing a gift of £100m from the financier David Harding to support students.

Harding, a physics graduate from Cambridge who became a billionaire and successful hedge fund manager, has pledged that some of the funds will go to promote access for students from disadvantaged and minority ethnic backgrounds.


New vice-chancellor for Swansea revealed

Wales Online, 04/02/2019, Sion Barry

A leading Australian academic is expected to be confirmed as the new vice chancellor of Swansea University later this month.

While the appointment is subject to due diligence and ratification from the university’s council, it is understood that the role has been offered to Professor Alison Jones, deputy vice chancellor (health and communities), of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales.