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  • Blue Skies Launch: 2012 Edition

    Blue Skies Launch: 2012 Edition

    Nicky Morgan MP and Pearson hosted a Blue Skies debate about the future of higher education on Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, with speakers including the Rt Hon David Willets MP, AC Grayling, Liam Burns and John Holmwood.

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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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  • (R)evolution in higher education

    By Louis Coiffait – Are universities currently experiencing an unprecedented volume, velocity and variety of change? And if so how are they reacting now and how should they react in the future? What are the key transformations taking place and are they revolutionary or evolutionary? This editorial reflects on these broad questions through the lessons learned from the articles in this edition, as well as from others across the wider Blue Skies collection and beyond. In the first fifteen months of the project so far […]

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  • University narrative: lessons from the financial crisis?

    By Ken Starkey – Sir Alan Langlands, head of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has recently argued that universities need to develop a new narrative of how higher education creates value. Here I address the question of university narrative and ask if there are any lessons we can learn about narrative and about value from the recent banking crisis? Prior to the crisis we saw banking leaders championing a narrative that banks were critical to national economies […]

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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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  • The philanthropic turn

    By Robert Lethbridge – The furious debate engendered by the introduction of the £9,000 tuition fee for students starting their university courses in England this October has had both immediate and far-reaching consequences. Whether or not prompted by the headlines predicting an overall decline in applications, overlaid by a genuine fear that prospective debt would discourage wider access, a number of older universities have been offered increased funding for bursaries and other purposes by many alumni who had themselves received […]

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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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  • Seven predictions for technology-enabled higher education

    By Sarah Porter – The world has seen some unimaginable changes in the last fifty years – and technology of various kinds has been at the heart of much of this change. Technology is a tremendous advantage in some contexts – connecting people, curing illnesses, boosting food production and solving problems. At the same time, technology can also have negative impacts – and also unforeseen consequences. I believe that higher education is currently at something of a turning point in […]

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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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