Category: universities

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

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

What we talk about when we talk about universities, a review essay

The history of universities, including in the UK, is always also the history of the political community; their future, equally, dependent on the future of the community as a whole. In this review essay, Jana Bacevic examines two recent books that offer a good illustration of this point, Who Are Universities For? by Tom Sperlinger, Josie McLellan and Richard Pettigrew and British Universities in the … Continued

Managing secrets in higher education

In this re-post, Morten Hansen uses secrecy as a prism to deconstruct dynamics and processes in higher education. The reflections spring from various research projects on topics ranging from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, public-private partnerships, and new education markets. The post begins with experiences that Morten has had interviewing senior decision makers in the higher education sector as part of […]

Book Review: Higher Education and Social Inequalities: University Admissions, Experiences and Outcomes edited by Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward

In Higher Education and Social Inequalities, Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward bring together contributors to explore and evidence how university admissions, experiences and outcomes are influenced by wider inequalities within society. This collection adds to the contemporary re-emergence of class analysis within the sociology of education and will contribute to debates surrounding the future of higher education in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone. This […]

Book Review: The Good University: What Universities Actually Do and Why It’s Time for Radical Change by Raewyn Connell

In The Good University: What Universities Actually Do and Why It’s Time for Radical Change, Raewyn Connell provides a powerful and expansive critique of the current state of higher education at a variety of different geographical scales. While this lucid and important book makes clear that the global state of higher education is at a crossroads, its optimism should make it a deserved […]

Book Review: Refugees in Higher Education: Debate, Discourse and Practice by Jacqueline Stevenson and Sally Baker

20 June is World Refugee Day. In their new book Refugees in Higher Education: Debate, Discourse and Practice, Jacqueline Stevenson and Sally Baker offer a comprehensive discussion of the policies and practices that seek to ensure refugee students access to higher education, focusing on the UK and Australia. This book challenges the context of global efforts to widen participation in higher education systems for students […]

Do the best academics fly more?

Academic flying is often justified on the basis that international conferences and travel are important to the production of new knowledge. As such, travel brings researchers into contact with new ideas, allows them to share and refine their own ideas and therefore improves the quality of their research. However, in this post Seth Wynes argues that beyond a certain level […]

Book Review: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack

In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack seeks to better comprehend the unnoticed heterogeneous experiences of first-generation, low-income students navigating campus life at elite universities in the United States. This is a significant contribution to debates on class and mobility, writes Malik Fercovic, that compels us to think carefully about the responsibilities of elite […]

In a globalised and networked world, what is the unique value a university can bring? Introducing Open Knowledge Institutions

Digital ubiquity has disrupted the traditional university model. The internet has shifted the balance of a tension between control and disorder in knowledge production, with many of the opportunities the web brings leading directly to many of the challenges we now need to address. Lucy Montgomery and Cameron Neylon advocate for the idea of universities as Open Knowledge Institutions, which […]