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With calls for a post-qualification admissions system, greater transparency around unconditional university offers, and the need for a more ambitious contextual admissions strategy – is the current admissions process fit for purpose or is it ready for a refresh? June Hughes, University of Derby Secretary and Registrar, discusses the complexity of the university system.
As the latest Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) results are published, Sue Reece, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Staffordshire University, says the efforts her institution made to move up from a Silver to a Gold award were worth it, despite flaws in the TEF methodology.
Universities awarded funding as part of a large-scale programme to tackle hate crime and sexual harassment on campus have made good progress, an evaluation of the scheme has concluded.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has urged the Office for Students to adopt “ambitious” new measures “in order to tackle risks to the world class quality of higher education” in the UK.
An open letter calling for an end to the “managerial micro-management” of higher education forcing academics to function as a “small business” has been signed by 121 university professors.
The letter, published by the Guardian, says forces of “marketisation” are leading institutions to turn to “out-dated” models of competitiveness and efficiency that subjects academics to “continuous pressures to standardise, conform, obey and duplicate in order to be ‘transparent’ to measurement”.
It says “highly paid” university managers and even more highly paid management consultants are driving the process, “with little regard for, or understanding of, the teaching and research process in higher education”.
Unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress among both academics and academic-related staff and students abound, it warns, with “obedient” students demanding “hoop-jumping, box ticking and bean counting” and managerial surveys measuring consumer satisfaction.
“Such are the low ambitions of today’s universities, locked into a conservative status quo mentality; for what is there left to learn, when you already know it in order to demand it?” it adds.
The letter, signed by some leading figures across a wide spectrum of institutions, calls upon parliament’s newly election education committee to conduct an urgent investigation into “these grave matters”.
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