CGHE Annual Conference

CGHE 2018 annual conference: The new geopolitics of higher education

  • Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018 08:30 - 17:40
  • Jeffrey Hall, UCL Institute of Education
  • Michael Ignatieff, Central European University

CGHE’s third annual conference explored the new geopolitics of higher education.

The conference provided an opportunity to hear about our latest research findings and included a keynote from the distinguished political philosopher, author and former politician Professor Michael Ignatieff, President of Central European University, who discussed academic freedom and the future of Europe.

View all photos from the event on Flickr

Programme summary

The Burton R. Clark lecture on higher education: Academic freedom and the future of Europe (keynote 1)

  • Professor Michael Ignatieff, President, Central European University
  • Welcome: Professor Michael Arthur, Provost, UCL
  • Chair: Dr Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International), UCL

Academy freedom and university autonomy are under attack these days as the privileges of a professorial elite, but they should be understood as ‘counter-majoritarian institutions’ – like a free press and an independent judiciary – an essential counter-balance to majority rule. Across Europe, counter-majoritarian institutions are under pressure from populist movements and parties seeking to mobilise ‘the people’ against the press, the courts – and universities too. How do universities defend themselves? What arguments will convince a sceptical public? How do universities rebuild the public support they need in order to sustain their role as counter-majoritarian institutions?

The performance and role of Chinese higher education (keynote 2)

  • Professor Nian Cai Liu, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Chair: Professor James Wilsdon, CGHE Programme Leader

China now has the largest higher education system in the world and is the second largest producer of scientific publications. The performance of Chinese research universities has been improving quickly according to major global university rankings, which is, to a large extent, the result of various national excellence initiatives. The latest of these initiatives, the ‘Double World-Class Project’, sets the goal of having a couple of dozen world-class universities by the middle of this century. This will have important implications for higher education and research across the world. In this presentation, Professor Liu will discuss the Chinese higher education system and the impact of its excellence initiatives. He will look at the performance of Chinese research universities and trends in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and explore institutional strategies to build world-class universities. He will also focus on the future development of Chinese higher education, particularly of its research universities and their global role.

Student choice in higher education – reproducing social inequalities? (keynote 3)

  • Professor Claire Callender, CGHE Deputy Director
  • Chair: Professor Francis Green, CGHE Co-Investigator

A hallmark of much higher education policy in developed economies in recent years is the move towards marketisation. Policies in England and elsewhere have sought to increase provider competition and to promote student choice. Central to this are student funding reforms with the introduction of cost sharing policies, particularly higher tuition fees and student loans – global phenomena, which have fuelled higher education expansion. This paper explores governments’ rhetoric on student choice in England, especially in relation to student funding. It argues that policies introduced to promote and improve student choice first limit or constrain student choice, and secondly contribute to further social inequalities in higher education.

Higher education and equality (panel discussion)

  • Professor Vikki Boliver, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Dung Doan, CGHE Research Associate
  • Professor Rajani Naidoo, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Ben Whittaker NUS Director (Student Voice and Influence)
  • Chair: Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, CGHE Co-Investigator

Education systems can be a force for social mobility, but they also reproduce and reinforce existing social divides. Despite much analysis and action, inequality in higher education remains stubbornly persistent. Many of the promises promoted by/about higher education, most notably upward social and economic mobility, are proving to be untrue, or at least untrue for too many. Much of the discussion around equity has been concerned with participation rates and programme quality rather than on ‘access to what’, growing stratification and differentiated levels of learning and success. This panel will discuss what we now know about equity/inequity in higher education and the outstanding big questions we need to resolve. The discussion will also focus on the responsibilities of higher education and whether there are realistic models of ‘good practice’ that have proven to work.

Income contingent loans across the world (parallel session)

  • Professor Bruce Chapman, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Professor Lorraine Dearden, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Professor Nobuko Nagase, Ochanomizu University, Japan
  • Dr Dung Doan, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Chair: Professor Claire Callender, CGHE Deputy Director

The changing UK higher education system (parallel session)

  • Professor Michael Shattock, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Aniko Horvath, CGHE Research Associate
  • Professor Vikki Boliver, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Stephen Hunt, CGHE Research Associate
  • Dr William Locke, CGHE Deputy Director
  • Dr Celia Whitchurch, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Giulio Marini, CGHE Research Associate
  • Chair: Professor Paul Ashwin, CGHE Co-Investigator

Student learning and graduate work (parallel session)

  • Professor Paul Ashwin, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Jan McArthur, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Kayleigh Rosewell, CGHE Research Associate
  • Dr Janja Komljenovic, Lecturer, Lancaster University
  • Professor Diana Laurillard, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Eileen Kennedy, CGHE Senior Research Associate
  • Dr Golo Henseke, CGHE Research Associate
  • Chair: Dr William Locke, CGHE Deputy Director

Public and private goods in higher education, East and West (parallel session)

  • Professor Ka Ho Mok, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Professor Nian Cai Liu, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Dr Lin Tian, CGHE Research Associate
  • Professor Futao Huang, CGHE Co-Investigator
  • Kiyomi Horiuchi, CGHE Research Associate
  • Chair: Dr Aline Courtois, CGHE Research Associate
Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff is a university professor, writer and former politician. He is currently the Rector and President of Central European University in Budapest.

His major publications are The Needs of Strangers (1984), Scar Tissue (1992), Isaiah Berlin (1998), The Rights Revolution (2000), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004), and Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013).

Between 2006 and 2011, he served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honorary degrees.

Between 2012 and 2015 he served as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York.

Between 2014 and 2016 he was Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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