Category: Higher Education

Three simple questions to re-define higher education

The purpose and future of universities, higher education and research has been subject to ceaseless debate, often focused on complex issues of the bureaucratic structure of universities and their relationship to the state. Matt Rosen argues that by returning to three basic questions about higher education – What should the end or aim of education … Continued

To rediscover their public value universities can learn from the free culture movement

The culture of acceleration and quantification that arguably defines contemporary academic research is closely related to the information society in which we live and the technologies that support it. In this post Dafne Calvo, argues that the democratic decentralised principles of the free culture movement provide a blueprint for how academics and academic institutions might … Continued

“Coin of the Realm” – Graduate Student Lore and Faculty Advice on Research and Publication, A video intervention

In what ways should graduate students engage in scholarly research and publication, administration, and service during their programs? What might motivate their choices to do so? In this post Anicca Cox presents a video intervention depicting the inherent tensions between the advice given to graduate students and the internalised structures of work in the accelerated … Continued

A missed opportunity? How the UK’s teaching excellence framework fails to capture the voice of university staff

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (aka Teaching Excellence Framework, TEF), aims to represent and evaluate the quality of teaching within UK higher education institutions. Whilst the stated aims and ability of the TEF to achieve this have often been questioned, less is known about how higher education institutions have implemented the new framework. … Continued

Staying with the Trouble: Designing a values-enacted academy

Academic assessment is predisposed towards measurement and subsequently valuing what can be measured. In this post, Cara Cilano, Sonja Fritzsche, Bill Hart-Davidson and Christopher P. Long, describe the Cultivating Pathways of Intellectual Leadership” (CPIL) framework developed in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University and how it can help to stimulate a … Continued

The COVID-19 online pivot: Adapting university teaching to social distancing

As universities respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by closing campuses and shifting to online forms of distance learning, many institutions and educators are scrambling to develop online engagement plans. In this repost, Martin Weller (Professor of Education Technology at the Open University) brings together a number of useful for resources for anyone looking to develop online learning … Continued

The Senior Management Survey: auditing the toxic university

Higher education in the UK has been defined by a succession of assessment frameworks; National Student Survey, Teaching, Research Excellence and Knowledge Exchange Frameworks. Turning the quantitative focus of these exercises onto the management of universities, Mark Erickson, Paul Hanna and Carl Walker present the findings of a survey of staff perceptions of senior management … Continued

Book Review: Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost by Caitlin Zaloom

In Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost, Caitlin Zaloom draws on more than 160 interviews with college students and their families to explore how middle-class households in the US pay for university. This is a timely and accessible study that breaks through the taboo surrounding family finances, making useful sociological points not only about the cost … Continued

Book Review: Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy by Richard Watermeyer

In Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy, Richard Watermeyer critically explores the increasing quantification of academic life and the rise of the marketised competitive university. This book particularly succeeds in not only exploring the futility and counterproductiveness of quantified academic performance metrics, but also revealing how complicity among some academics allows … Continued

A degree of studying –  Students who treat education as a commodity perform worse than their intrinsically motivated peers

One of the pivotal transformations in the marketisation of higher education has been the introduction of tuition fees. A degree from a higher education institution can now, to some extent, be purchased like any other commodity.  In this post Louise Bunce presents evidence that students who identify as consumers of their education perform worse academically … Continued