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Behind the HE headlines is one key question – the purpose of universities

The past week’s higher education news demonstrates that there are certain expectations of universities that policymakers, HE leaders and the Augar review are expected to address, says Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of the Engineering Professors’ Council and Chief Executive of outreach organisation Push .

30 VCs sign new Civic University Agreement

Leaders of thirty universities have signed a Civic University Agreement, reaffirming their institution's commitment to their local communities by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in their home towns and cities at the top of their list of priorities.

How to improve the student experience -- ask the students themselves

Jenny Shaw , Student Experience Director at Unite Students, draws lessons on the higher education sector's efforts to improve the student experience from a week of HE news and views.

HEi-think: Why universities should support two year degrees

From this September, students will be able to opt to study an accelerated two year degree, as opposed to a traditional three year course. Professor Malcolm Todd, Provost (Academic) at the University of Derby, discusses why universities should consider the change in legislation and look to offer accelerated degrees.

Women beginning to break through HE glass ceiling

Women are beginning to break through the glass ceiling in higher education, with 29 per cent of the latest vice-chancellor posts being taken by female candidates, a survey by HEi-know has found.

In the last three years, 2012-15, and including the first two months of 2016, a total of 19 women have become university vice-chancellors out of 66 new hires, University Business reports. In the last year and two months up to February 2016, the trend appears to have accelerated with 15 women being appointed to the top position in higher education institutions. 

Progress is due to increasing awareness in universities, according to Professor Liz Barnes, Staffordshire University's new Vice-Chancellor.

"People have been gender-blind in the past and bringing the issue to the fore has helped," she said.

Professor Janet Beer, Vice-chancellor at the University of Liverpool, commented: "I am feeling very encouraged. Numbers were stuck at 16 per cent for a long time, but the fact that 29 per cent of new vice-chancellors are women is great."

The full findings of the HEi-know survey are available to HEi-know partners here.

 

Professor Liz Barnes, VC at Staffordshire University
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