The most optimistic new year greeting ever?

Reposting this great message from a couple of years ago. Happy new year!


A great new year message!

I’ve never had any dealings with the Alfred Nobel University but I do like the sound of them on the strength of this extraordinarily positive message which I’ve just received:

Just great!

Happy new year!

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The Imperfect University: The End of Internationalisation?

A post from earlier in the year on why MOOCs do not trump internationalisation in higher education


Is it the end for internationalization?

No. It’s not a bubble. It’s not bursting.

A recent Chronicle blog suggested that, in common with some other higher education activities, internationalization was a bubble and about to burst. It isn’t. International student recruitment patterns continue to evolve, some branch campuses are less successful than others and the global economic downturn is having an impact on everyone. This doesn’t mean international higher education is finished.

Unfortunately though it does seem that with all of the hype around MOOCs and the talk of the havoc that this disruptive innovation will wreak on higher education it is beginning to feel that internationalization is last year’s topic for university leaders. Leaving aside the fact that online learning, in whatever form, can largely be offered freely across national borders, the key issue here is the challenge presented by MOOCs to the traditional campus experience, especially when it…

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By not very popular demand: it’s the top Registrarism posts of 2013

Well, it's been a busy old year. Following the incredibly innovative post pretty similar to this last year I thought I would repeat this highly efficient means of listing previous postings. Yes, it's the list of the most viewed Registrarism posts of 2012 2013! Here we go's rankings, rankings, China, rankings, MOOCs, my book, … Continue reading By not very popular demand: it’s the top Registrarism posts of 2013

Do we really need more performance indicators in HE?

Review proposes yet more performance indicators. An earlier post noted that the UK Performance Indicators Steering Group (or the UKPISG, perhaps one of the least felicitous acronyms in higher education), was undertaking a major review of performance Indicators for higher education. It was hoped (by me at least) that this might lead to some rationalisation of performance … Continue reading Do we really need more performance indicators in HE?

Retaining institutional knowledge

Memories... Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article on avoiding the loss of valuable institutional knowledge which occurs when employees move on. Previous An earlier post commented on the importance of institutional history but this is more about the efficient retention of business critical information. It's an thought provoking commentary: There are steps organizations can … Continue reading Retaining institutional knowledge

Universities unable to regulate guns on campus

More crimes about guns A post here a couple of years ago noted the challenges US universities were facing in trying to address guns on campus. More recently there was news in a survey on US students' views on carrying concealed weapons which highlighted what seemed to be quite a large proportion of students who did not … Continue reading Universities unable to regulate guns on campus

What are academic bloggers up to?

What are academic bloggers blogging about? And why? A great article for the Guardian Higher Education Network by Pat Thomson ( @ThomsonPat )  and Inger Mewburn ( @thesiswhisperer ) on bloggers in higher education. The piece is a summary of an article in a special edition of Studies in Higher Education and the longer one is well … Continue reading What are academic bloggers up to?

The Imperfect University: Sectoral change since Robbins and into the future

All change please! Sectoral change since Robbins and into the future Rewriting Robbins? The very thought I recently agreed to give a presentation on this theme at an event entitled “Rewriting Robbins” by those lovely people at SGP Martineau. You can find the full details of the event here  and my rather fetching but nevertheless … Continue reading The Imperfect University: Sectoral change since Robbins and into the future

The Imperfect University: Free Information?

Revisiting this earlier post In the light of the fact that the University of Nottingham has received 50 FOI requests in November and 258 so far in 2013 versus 182 for the whole of 2012. And one of those is an FOI request asking for the number of FOI requests received…


Freedom of Information costs. But does anyone really benefit?


“You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.”

These are the words Tony Blair addresses to himself in his memoirs while reflecting on his government’s introduction of the Freedom of Information Act as noted in this BBC report.

Last year Times Higher Education ran a story suggesting that the average cost of FoI compliance equals £121 per request:

A study into the costs of answering Freedom of Information enquiries suggests that less than £10 million was spent across the sector last year.

When the House of Commons Justice Committee called for evidence on the effectiveness of the FoI Act, 23 universities submitted evidence, of which 18 complained about the cost burden, among other concerns.

But Jisc, the UK’s expert body…

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Show and Tell: The Office of Fair Trading is Looking at Universities (again)

And they are looking for a lot of information. Back in October 2013 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a call for information on the undergraduate part of the higher education sector in England. This follows the earlier look (outcome awaited) at terms and conditions in relation to student debts and universities' practices in … Continue reading Show and Tell: The Office of Fair Trading is Looking at Universities (again)

Shared Services in the USA

It's probably not quite what they were hoping for. Inside Higher Ed reports on a bold plan at the University of Michigan to address shared services within the institution. The idea must have seemed such a good one at the time - centralise large parts of departmental administration into a single place in order to … Continue reading Shared Services in the USA