Degree level education in the UK has grown from a small elite system to take in almost half of the school leaver age group. British universities are among the world’s most successful, as shown by their research performance and their attractiveness to international students, yet a never ending source of controversy at home.
Not enough participation, or too many graduates? Highways for upward social mobility, or drivers of inequality? Fair sharers of public and private costs, or engines of graduate debt?
In A University Education;, released by Oxford University Press in November 2017, the most influential recent Minister for Higher Education, Lord David Willetts, reflects critically on where the universities have come from and where they are going, on his own transformative system reforms – including the £9k fee regime, the uncapping of student numbers and the entry of new providers – and on the enduring power of higher education to expand people’s lives.
At this seminar Lord Willetts will discuss the main themes of the book, with responses from Professor James Wilsdon, CGHE Programme Leader, and Professor Simon Marginson, Director of CGHE, followed by questions and all-in audience participation in what promises to be a lively discussion. The seminar will be chaired by Professor Claire Callender, Deputy Director of CGHE.
Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, Director of the ESRC/OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, and Lead Researcher with Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Simon’s research is focused primarily on global and international higher education, the contributions of higher education, and higher education and social inequality. At Oxford he lead teaches the MSc (Education) subject on ‘Globalisation in higher education’. He is currently preparing an integrated theorisation of higher education. His recent books in comparative and international studies are Higher Education in Federal Countries, edited with Martin Carnoy, Isak Froumin and Oleg Leshukov (Sage, 2018) and High Participation Systems of Higher Education, edited with Brendan Cantwell and Anna Smolentseva (Oxford University Press, 2018).
The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts is the Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation and has written widely on economic and social policy. He served as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014). Lord Willetts is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, Chair of the British Science Association and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College Oxford.
Professor James Wilsdon leads CGHE’s local higher education engagement programme. He is Professor of Research Policy and Director of Research, Impact and Innovation in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. His research interests include research policy in the UK and Europe; scientometrics; the impact agenda; public engagement in research; and the role of evidence and expertise in policymaking.