Which is the best university? It’s a seductive question to ask, but that doesn’t mean there’s a sensible answer. League tables, aka rankings, is the nonsensical answer you’re likely to get.Read More →

Over the past couple of years, I been doing some consultancy work for IP Inclusive, an initiative to support diversity in the intellectual property (IP) profession. I’ve been impressed by what lovely and dedicated people they are. I’ve also been delighted to be working in collaboration with the knowledgeable and utterly driven Duncan Grant and highly recommended web development team Visix.  The original job was to create some materials to promote IP careers in schools. I argued that IP Inclusive was a poor brand for this campaign: it looks at the issue from the employers’ perspective, not the students’. I came up with the name ‘CareersRead More →

If you want to cut fees to win back the youth vote, you start with the courses that give the lowest financial returns, right? At first glance, this looks like a good idea to a new Secretary of State. So we can forgive Damian Hinds for flying the policy kite of differential fees for STEM and arts degrees amid the announcement of the HE and Post-18 Review. However, after even a moment’s thought, the idea collapses. It is a policy that is misisng a clearly defined intended consequence and yet would undam a flood of unintended ones.  The problem is that all too often kite-flyingRead More →

Over several months in 2012, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in The 1994 Group’s annual Policy Forum discussing some of the most pressing issues in higher education. At the end, they invited me to write a blog outlining the conclusions I had reached from the discussions. This was orginally published on the 1994 Group website. The right tools for the job Last year, Stefan Collini, the great Cambridge academic, published a much-publicised book titled What are universities for? On the first page – the first paragraph even – he abdicated from answering the question. Without setting out to do so, the 1994Read More →