Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘Universities left to fly blind’

Six hundred and eighty-one Oxford and Cambridge academics have published a letter in the Independent expressing ‘dismay and alarm that universities are being forced to take major decisions, with unknown consequences, at a breakneck speed.’ The reforms, they write, will have ‘random effects in the HE sector, depriving some courses of income streams, and decimating the funding for teaching in some institutions, without any coherent and publicly announced policy in regard to which of these institutions and courses the Government believes should be left to fail.’ The letter reiterates previous calls for a Public Commission of Inquiry into the future of Higher Education in the UK.

Scientists support Humanities

At an event at the LSE on “Valuing the Humanities”, Lord Rees, Master of Trinity College Cambridge and President of the Royal Society, spoke of the importance of a liberal education. A report of the event can be found here.

Dr Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, has also written on the BMJ blog of the importance of the humanities to a medical training, to understanding health, dying and care, as well as other central preoccupations of the scientific community such as climate change.

Save universities from the bean counters

More evidence of concern in the United States about the dramatic cuts to the Higher Education budget in the UK: in Nature, Gregory Petsko of Brandeis has called on fellow scientists to defend their colleagues in arts and humanities departments and singled out the cuts in George Osbourne’s budget as a dramatic symptom of the crisis in universities around the world. Continue reading

Stanley Fish: Browne does not recognise the value of learning

Writing in the New York Times the literary scholar Stanley Fish has criticised the underlying assumptions of the Browne report and its ‘relentless monetization of everything in sight.’

The government’s case is ‘weak’

William Cullerne Browne has published an open letter to the House of Lords today in which he argues that the principle elements of the government’s case are weakly formulated.

Continue reading

Prof. Nicola Miller, ‘Humanities & Social Sciences Matter’ Convenor, interviewed on Channel 4 News

Channel 4 News last night interviewed Professor Nicola Miller at length on the implications of the Government’s Higher Education funding proposals. Professor Miller argued that the Coalition Government’s plans to twin tuition fee changes with the cut to the humanities and social science Block Teaching Grant would profoundly destabilise the UK’s Higher Education system; reduce university departments’ ability to plan for the long-term; and undermine the world-class basis of British university teaching, student experience and research.

Debating with Conservative MP Damian Hinds, (and on the Education Select Committee), the MP said he “didn’t really understand” the points Professor Miller was making.

You can watch the interview for the next seven days here.