National Conference of University Professors

Lunch and speech prior to AGM.

Event details


Feb 22, 2012
from 01:00 PM to 03:30 PM


Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5DB

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Non-professorial staff are welcome to attend the lunch and speech (registration required).


13:00 - lunch

14:00 -  Professor Howard Hotson (University of Oxford): A Radical Reform of British Universities: Is It Needed?*

15:15 Refreshments

15:30 AGM (Members only)

* Publicity for lecture says:

According to the Coalition government, the proposals outlined in last year’s higher education White Paper ‘represent a radical reform of higher education in England’.  But where is the evidence that radical reform is needed?  The White Paper assumes that higher education funding needs to be altered; but nowhere does it present a substantial body of empirical evidence in support, either of the need for radical reform of higher education itself, or of its claim that the reforms proposed will significantly improve the English university system.  This lecture therefore attempt to assess the evidential basis for current reforms by asking basic questions such as the following:  

· By what international standard are British universities failing? 

· Does the British university system offer a poor return on investment by taxpayers and students? 

· Is it failing to keep pace with international competitors? 

· Are other university systems producing better results? If so how do they do it? 

· Where is the empirical evidence that the radical changes proposed will lead to commensurate improvements? 

Far from supporting the government’s case, the large body of evidence and analysis discussed in this lecture strongly suggest that radical reform of the current English university system is not merely unjustified, but misguided and counterproductive.

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