Free speech

In 1642, as the English civil war broke out, government control of printing presses collapsed.  In this new censorship-free environment, all sorts of ideas, previously suppressed were published.  Many senior figures became worried, and it was that worry which lay behind the pamphletAreopagitica, by John Milton – later the author of Paradise Lost.  Almost four centuries…

Lessons and skills

In 1942, at the height of the second world war, the British government published a report prepared by the economist William Beveridge. Despite its somewhat austere title – Social Insurance and Allied Services – Beveridge’s report sold vast numbers of copies, and is widely regarded as having laid the foundations for the post-War Labour government’s…

Horizons

This is an extremely challenging week. The news has been dominated by rising Covid infections rates and speculation about tightening local and national restrictions. For universities, increased numbers of reported positive cases have prompted decisions to increase the proportion of online teaching. At Sheffield Hallam, we have taken the decision to adjust the balance between…

That Was the Week That Was…

In this unprecedented year, it is quite difficult to find the right adjective for the events of the last week. The online thesaurus isn’t much help. In previous years, the bulk of the annual admissions, confirmation and clearing activity would be behind us by now: instead, we are essentially re-running elements of the process, and…

Aspirations

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a long-term research project following the lives of some 19,000 children born in the year 2000. When the children in the study were toddlers, their mothers were asked what aspirations they had for their children. The overwhelming majority – nine in ten of them – wanted their children to…

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…