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  • The international student and the challenge for universities

    The international student and the challenge for universities

    By Professor Glyn Davis – ‘The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.’ — Rabindranath Tagore The great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore writes powerfully on the excitement and pain of ‘the journey home’. Tagore’s journey home, takes in many distant shores and worlds towards an understanding of his best potential self. For more than three million international students, the challenges of the journey are experienced every day. Living in an unfamiliar culture. Missing the […]

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  • Building a fairer system in Australia

    Building a fairer system in Australia

    By Denise Bradley – Recent changes to higher education in Australia are the most significant in twenty years and are shaped by a vision for higher education as an agent of social transformation. The initiatives to increase participation from under-represented groups start from a basic assumption that: ‘Social inclusion must be a core responsibility for all institutions in receipt of public funding, irrespective of history and circumstances.’ 1 But will they advance this aim? Implementing change Universities are now responsible for […]

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  • Institutional values and the student experience

    Annie Gosling and Owen Gower – Who cares what the institutional structures of a university are, provided that the best student educational opportunities are preserved? Well, it may be that bureaucratic and financial structures are not isolable from the intellectual development of students. Will students have a different (worse?) educational experience if their university is privately run, or if they get a degree in two years rather than three, or if the delivery of their degree is out-sourced to further […]

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  • Diversity in higher education and social mobility

    By Matt Grist and Julia Margo – Let us introduce you to Asa (not her real name). We met Asa at a Community College in London, England. Asa was a ‘learning advocate’, someone who represents the college to external visitors like us, and who observes lessons, carries out research and advocates on behalf of students to the college’s senior staff. Asa was a bright, focussed young woman. And she wanted to go to university. What she wanted to study was […]

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  • Two-year accelerated degrees: blue sky or in the red?

    Two-year accelerated degrees: blue sky or in the red?

    By Roxanne Stockwell – Over the past decade the UK government has repeatedly tried to encourage universities to offer two year honours degrees for undergraduates (Smith, 2006; Curtis, 2009; Haldenby, 2009; BBC, 2011). The reason given has been to save costs, and as cost-saving now seems to be the top agenda item in UK higher education policy, the prospect of saving a third in undergraduate delivery deserves to be looked at seriously. Indeed, if it really is possible to provide undergraduate […]

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  • The idea of a tertiary education system

    By Liam Burns – In his recent book, What Are Universities For? Professor Stefan Collini writes, with obvious sarcasm, ‘it’s hardly surprising that no deathless prose has yet been written about the idea of a tertiary education system’. But perhaps that’s something we should change. We could find great radicalism in a new vision for tertiary education. What might we mean by this? Tertiary education literally means ‘third education’ – that which comes after primary and secondary education. But in […]

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  • Making our higher education system accessible to all

    By John Widdowson – The debate around the future shape of higher education in England has often seemed to focus solely on the impact of those changes in student funding on full-time students moving directly from school to higher level study. Despite the fundamental shift in funding from direct state support towards a system made up almost entirely of student loans, data from the University and Colleges Application Service (UCAS) shows that applications for full-time courses from this group of […]

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  • Fair access

    By Tessa Stone – In 2012 UK higher education is at a crossroads in terms of access. We hold our collective breath as we await the immediate impact of the new fee structure and student number controls, whilst attempting to predict the longer term consequences of the demise of Aimhigher and Connexions, the advent of Free Schools, and proposed changes to the A level curriculum, all set against the backdrop of economic recession and Plan A(usterity). But if we are […]

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  • Higher humanities education in the 21st Century

    By AC Grayling –  There will always be a significant need for higher education to produce the technical and vocational experts whos presence is essential in advanced economies. Scientists, engineers, doctors and lawyers are indispensable, so universities will always train such professionals because there will always be the resources for training them. The necessary funding either comes from individuals themselves who are confident of the return on investment involved (as in the US), or by taxpayers who are similarly (if indirectly) confident, as is still the […]

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