Responding

Universities, as I have already written, have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include…

The next normal

Whether it’s Burberry switching production from trench-coats to non-surgical gowns, Christian Dior from perfume to hand sanitizers, or Formula One companies racing to produce ventilators, the efforts of so many organisations, big and small, in helping fight COVID-19 have been extraordinary. Universities – including Sheffield Hallam – are no exception. Universities have proved their worth…

Making universities matter

Last week, the Higher Education Policy Institute published a report written from Sheffield Hallam. The report, Making Universities Matter: how universities can help heal a divided Britain, was authored by Lord Bob Kerslake, the University’s chair of governors, Natalie Day, our head of strategy and policy, and myself. In the report, we set out a…

Brave new world?

The election results are in. The political gridlock of the last three years – to which we had all become accustomed – is over. The outcome is, if nothing else decisive. It’s far more decisive than I had hinted as a prediction in my blog just after the election was called. We now have not…

Summer stories: recruitment and admissions

There’s a map which the University’s planning team sent me a few months ago. It’s a map of the UK, with the home address of every single one of the University’s undergraduate students represented by a single dot. As you’d expect – it would be true of almost every university in the country that recruitment…

Life after Augar: the post-18 funding review

Last week, the government published the long-awaited independent panel report for the review of post-18 education and training funding. The panel, chaired by the former banker Philip Augar, was initially established by Theresa May in early 2018.  Its remit was to look at the long-term funding of universities and the balance between university-based higher education…

Driving Future Economies

I’ve written about my dad in this blog before. He sadly died last year, a few months after his ninetieth birthday. He had left school in 1941 when he was fourteen. He worked first for a small engineering company and then, after national service, for most of his working life in a textile factory. I…

Lessons from the spaghetti trees

I’m well aware of the date on which this blog post will be published. There’s a long tradition of memorable April Fools’ Day spoofs. One of the most-often quoted was a 1977 Guardian supplement lauding investment opportunities in the (sadly fictional) island state of San Seriffe, which apparently tricked a good number of people, but…

Leaving Europe

I was in Germany when Theresa May’s ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit took place last week: I had been asked by the German government to evaluate the University of Cologne as part of the country’s ‘universities of excellence’ programme. I was a member of a multi-national review team, which meant that late into the evenings of…

Room at the top?

There were other stories in the news last week but you had to look hard to find them under the hailstorm of Brexit-related developments.  Several of them related to universities and the role they play in society. On Friday, the Sutton Trust released a report on ‘elite’ private schools and access to Oxford and Cambridge.  The…