You can’t buy an education

As university lecturers in the UK remain locked in a dispute with their employers over pay and working conditions in Higher Education, a survey published by private student loan company Future Finance this week revealed that less than half of students think their degree will help them get a graduate job to pay off their… Continue reading You can’t buy an education

Life outside academia

There is life outside academia, and by that I don’t mean that people are having more fun elsewhere. I am only suggesting that an academic career is not the natural, or even the most desirable outcome of a university degree. As a lecturer in early modern history at a post-1992 university I know that only… Continue reading Life outside academia

Keeping the customer satisfied

Strike action might be entering the hot phase later this year as the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has approved ‘a marking boycott to be implemented from 28 April if university employers still refuse to thrash out a deal over pay’. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association ‘have so far refused to engage in any… Continue reading Keeping the customer satisfied

The survey that didn’t surprise us

Some surveys shock us, others fill us with a sense of relief that it’s not just us. The recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) survey undertaken by the University and College Union (UCU) does both. The summary of key findings  states that nearly two thirds of the 7,000 respondents said they thought the REF had ‘a… Continue reading The survey that didn’t surprise us

Beating the queue and staying warm at the British Library

Recently, an American friend of mine posted this picture of the morning queue a the British Library on Facebook. It seems to say a lot about an unashamed nerdiness (or rare regard for learning) in this country as well as about the British love for queuing. Having grown up in Germany, I usually find myself… Continue reading Beating the queue and staying warm at the British Library

On statistics and league tables

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Times University Guide 2013, both published within in the last couple of days, have made one thing clear. The best universities for research are not always the best universities for teaching quality. While Oxford and Cambridge with their student-friendly tutorial system still did well in… Continue reading On statistics and league tables

What happened to social justice and equality in Higher Education?

What’s wrong with Higher Education in the UK? Nothing, if you look at it from afar. The UK has some of the best universities in the  world as our VC never fails to remind us. We come second only to the US, and students from all over the world are attracted to study here by… Continue reading What happened to social justice and equality in Higher Education?