The Imperfect University: rational admissions – it’s time for PQA

Returning to a post from earlier in the year. It really is time to look again at PQA.


A brighter future for university admissions?

It will be some time before all of the results are in but it does look at this stage as if this year’s admissions round has been a little less turbulent than last year’s. The mood across many universities seems to be one of some relief after a period of significant uncertainty. More students have been admitted than at this point last year and for most institutions (and those students) this is going to be good news

The 2012 admissions round – which coincided with the move to £9k headline fees for most instutitions – heralded major changes to the system: after years of relative stability and constrained Home/EU undergraduate recruitment targets the cap was removed for students with AAB or better at A level. This caused some significant waves across the sector with everyone seeking to find their way through this uncharted territory.

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Developing the UK’s international education strategy

But the report strikes a few wrong notes.Back in July 2013 the Department for Business Innovation and Skills published its International education strategy: global growth and prosperity. For some reason it passed me by, despite its ambition:This strategy sets out how the government and the whole education sector will work together to take advantage of … Continue reading Developing the UK’s international education strategy

Robbins? Or Bobbins?

The all new higher education game. Inspired by the recent Rewriting Robbins conference I thought it would be fun to create a new game to mark the 50 years since the publication of the Robbins report (any resemblance to any silly games popularised by radio's favourite daft duo, Mark and Lard, is entirely coincidental). So, … Continue reading Robbins? Or Bobbins?

France invents the “Pop-Up Campus”

A bold assertion. An interesting claim this - France Info says that France has invented the 'Pop Up Campus': On connaissait les cours par correspondance, les MOOC (Massive open online course) des cours universitaires disponibles en ligne sur internet et bien là débarquent les "Pop Up Campus". Une approche inédite qui a pour objectif de … Continue reading France invents the “Pop-Up Campus”

The Imperfect University: what do we know about HE leadership?

Revisiting a post from earlier in the year. We still don’t know much about leadership in HE…


What do we know about leadership in higher education?


Not a lot, seems to be the answer.

I’ve written a bit before in the Imperfect University series about leadership in universities. There is a new report out which seeks to sum up what we know about leadership in HE.

This report, written by Professor Jacky Lumby  and published by the Leadership Foundation, must have been difficult for the LFHE to come to terms with. I think they deserve credit for publishing it as it does rather suggest that we really haven’t learned an awful lot about leadership in HE despite all the research undertaken by, among others, the Leadership Foundation. It is a fascinating and refreshingly candid read.

F9AA402C809A43E5421B506E76C01028It considers the big questions about leadership in HE:

  • Does the HE context demand a distinctive approach?
  • Who are the leaders in higher education?
  • How do the leaders operate and…

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Betting the farm. On a stadium.

How one university is going for broke with a new stadium. Inside Higher Ed has an interesting story about Colorado State University's plan to solve all of its problems with a new stadium. The University is, in common with many other public institutions in the US, in a difficult financial position. But the response at … Continue reading Betting the farm. On a stadium.

Ashes Fever Grips US Campuses (kind of)

Cricket take off at US Universities. The Boston Globe has a great story about the rather remarkable resurgence of cricket at US universities: After years of dormancy in America, cricket is making a rapid comeback at American colleges and universities, and the players are from a number of foreign nations — and from here in … Continue reading Ashes Fever Grips US Campuses (kind of)

What about a university professional services NOOC?

A post just for University Nottingham (UK, China and Malaysia) colleagues: what about a university professional services NOOC? Following the success of the first NOOC (Nottingham Open Online Course) on Sustainability in, among other things, involving staff and students from the UK, China and Malaysia campuses in shared learning it occurred to me that it … Continue reading What about a university professional services NOOC?

Global Employability University Ranking

Global Employability University Ranking 2013 A new Global Employability University Ranking has just been published by Times Higher Education. The list is compiled by French human resources consulting group Emerging Associates along with Trendence, a German polling and research institute: It is based on responses from 2,700 recruiters in 20 countries, who were asked which of … Continue reading Global Employability University Ranking

Variations in HE participation

Some big differences across the country HEFCE has just published its latest research on participation in HE for 14 cohorts of young people aged 18 in the academic years from 1998-99 to 2011-12: In October 2013 we published a report on the latest trends in young participation. This report builds on earlier reports to include cohorts … Continue reading Variations in HE participation

The Imperfect University: Truly Transnational

On the eve of the International Leadership Conference at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China ( ) I thought it would be timely to re-post this piece from earlier in the year about what makes an international university.


There is something close to a genuinely international university

Last year Andrew Stewart Coats, commenting on his appointment and the interesting plans for the new partnership between Warwick and Monash Universities, asserted that in higher education:

there has been little or no globalization in how we organize ourselves; no global entity runs viable universities in multiple countries and no truly transnational offering for students and academics exists

He also noted what he described as the “outposts” of universities in China, South East Asia and the Middle East and questioned whether this could “in itself create a truly global university?”

As a member of a global university, with three truly international campuses, I have to disagree. I drafted this piece late last year at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus (UNMC), home to some 4,500 students and over 450 staff, located at the edge of Kuala Lumpur in a breathtakingly beautiful…

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