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Moving the HE landscape’s quality contours … again

The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.

Government plans mark a seismic shift in higher education policy

Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.

UK universities affirm 'deep commitment' to high quality TNE

Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.

Cassandra calling out higher education

After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.

Progress on equality and diversity in HE 'still too slow', data shows

New higher education staff and student data published by Advance HE shows some movement towards equality and diversity goals, but the pace of progress remains slow.

The 2019 annual staff and student statistical reports present data on staff and student identity characteristics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency for the 2017-18 academic year. The reports identify some positive trends, such as the continued increase in the proportion of female professors, rising from 24.6 per cent in 2016-17 to 25.5 per cent in 2017/18, and decrease in the attainment gap between White and Black first-degree undergraduate qualifiers with a First/2:1 degree, falling from 24.1 to 23.4 percentage points.

But Gary Loke, Advance HE's Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, said the data showed "we still have a long way to go" in promoting and achieving equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector.

"It's vital that we use this evidence about staff and student identity characteristics to help inform change and to advance the progress in making our sector representative and inclusive. Advance HE is absolutely committed to supporting the sector to achieve this, not just through our Charters and other EDI initiatives, but through our whole body of work, including leadership, governance and teaching and learning," he said.

This is the 12th year that Advance HE, formerly the Equality Challenge Unit, has published its analysis of diversity in the HE sector. The two reports present a snapshot of the age, disability, ethnicity and gender of staff and students, as well how these identities intersect. The reports also present data on the institutional collection and return rates for data on gender reassignment, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.

Advance HE says it intends to build on findings presented in the reports and produce further detailed data briefings on student religion and belief and the diversity of HE governors. These briefings will support members to identify potential challenges related to religion and belief that face students and provide vital insights into the diversity profile of those involved in HE governance.

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