Friday, January 15, 2010


The Registrar at Warwick University has a piece in the Times Higher arguing for the universities to stand up for themselves in the face of HEFCE and government attempts to micromanage as well as the recently announced cutbacks. One commenter raises the point that after years of compliance with the RAE and the QAA it seems a bit late in the day to start opposing the natural continuation of this ethos. However, there is a sense certainly in the author's tone, combined with other recent statements that things have of late gone too far. Even those who have been championing the whole compliance culture, restructuring, the imposition of 'new managerialism', etc, are beginning to balk at what's happening.

One problem is that its not clear how much public sympathy there is for a sector which has not just supported the imposition of fees but pushed and pushed for them to be increased whilst at the same time producing more and more graduates with firsts and upper seconds, something on which Jon Baldwin comments in his article (albeit from the perspective of student expectations rather than institutional practice). If the sector is to start shaping its own future it needs to be prepared for the backlash from politicians and the press as well as developing a coherent plan that is based on principles that are convincing and just. But its certainly good to see debate taking place.

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