Universities in Transition

Having come back from my ‘retreat’ in Spain where I nearly finished my next book, entitled ‘How to Advise the President’ (it was too hot for my notepad to work properly!) I am now looking forward to an event on the coast here, Portsmouth to be precise, entitled ‘The Future of Universities’.

Organised on behalf of the RSA by me, together with a great team from Portsmouth University, we have 5 superb contributors who will kick off the ideas session but for no more than 5 minutes each. The list includes Liam Burns, President of the NUS, Pat Killingly from the British Council and Rebecca Bunting, Deputy V-C of Portsmouth.

There can be little doubt that 2012 will be the beginning of transition for many of our Universities. The issues to be faced are like many in Transition, how might short term and long term work in such a way that we have sustainability in the system? Universities are created as long term institutions, and societies pressures are more and more on short term goals. As we see from other areas of concern, the short term creates costs long term.

Asking students to pay £9000 a year for fees alone (and most will be that and many more will be very close) while a recent report suggests 28% of graduates from 2007 still don’t have full time jobs, well, what do you think the outcome will be? If you cannot afford to subsidise your children, what would your advise be?

Some students are looking abroad. I have been told Dutch Universities are charging less than £2000 a year, so why not get a degree from Holland?

Creating a new debt stream for young people while standing on a platform saying we need to reduce our debt seems ingenuous at least, contradictory at best. You know who I mean.

But the event will not be about politics, it will be about helping find ideas for institutions which share the Transition goals of sustainability, which look long term while being pushed, like our schools, for short term targets.

Come along, listen, join in, help, Transition needs passion, and it needs people able to take a long look,to help integrate fact, reason and intuition, we need our Universities, but in what form?

The timetable looks like this:

6.30 to 7.05 Arrivals and food and drink (you will not need more to eat than is provided)

7.05 to 8.00, Our guest speakers, just a short time for each.
8.00 to 8.45 round table dialogue, 7 or 8 people per table with a table host, and some different food at the tables
8.45 to 9.30 reports back from all 10 or 11 tables and some comment back from the speakers.

Book here:

The cost is to pay for the food, you will have enough to eat and drink for the evening, so think of it as a night out!

See you there I hope, last time I looked there were just 40 places left so book now!

Oh, and just so I don’t leave them out, the other superb contributors are Nigel  Biggs, who is doing a great job at Surrey University as Entrepreneur in Residence, and Chris Millward, from HEFC, the Higher Education Funding Council.



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