New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by janette >> Sun Jun 5, 2011 7:33 AM
Last updated on: Sun Jun 5, 2011 7:33 AM

Is this the start of unis offering students what they want and not what suits them - or just a business opportunity? http://bbc.in/jZ4JU9

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Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by user0 >> Tue Jun 7, 2011 11:49 AM
Last updated on: Wed Jun 5, 2013 9:42 PM

I have been intrigued to see the focus on the philosophy of learning promoted by Professor Grayling at the New College of Humanities – and the parallels with the International Baccalaureate student.

Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by janis >> Mon Jun 6, 2011 11:06 AM
Last updated on: Mon Jun 6, 2011 10:28 PM

A bit of both. I'm intrigued by the "just" in the question. Wouldn't you want every university to run like a business? For it to be aware of its bottom line, how it treats its staff and its customers (students), and to evolve?

I've worked as a senior manager at other London universities (Imperial and UCL) as well as top universities abroad. Two of the issues we've always struggled with are staff morale and inertia, and their knock-on effect on the quality of the education and the research.

The very fact that they are large, old, established institutions reminds us that they are a result of a series of (poorly managed) mergers, with redundant processes, blurring of job lines and overlapping departments/specialties. There are often academic staff who remain hidden in the corner, teaching the same lessons they've always taught, depressed by the idea of yet another budget cut, desperate to attract more international students who can offset some of their department's ongoing debt by paying what it actually costs to teach them.

There is often a feeling that everything is about cuts and not about development or growth, that fresh new ideas are too risky, and that gravitas is more important than the ability to continually evolve the lessons and the research direction to suit what the students want/need, or to suit the existing funding streams and technology.

No doubt it will have its issues and teething problems, but my feeling is that this brand new university stands won't be mired down in these issues - they can shape it right from the outset, and in doing so they have a unique opportunity to give both the staff and students a better experience.

Perhaps it's too much to hope for, but I'd imagine that there is a good chance the academic staff will feel reinvigorated by the opportunity to work in a perhaps more nimble, more business-like environment, and I'm willing to bet this new university will attract some of the very best staff from the other Universities.

The knock-on effect is that the students truly benefit from their education, and maybe come out of it feeling passionate about what they've learned.

Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by Bookshy >> Mon Jun 6, 2011 7:25 AM
Last updated on: Wed Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM

Not sure, but it's shaking up the universities already so it's a GOOD thing. Hopefully it will get all the universities to think about raising their game for undergraduates and the gov't to think about better funding for the humanities.

Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by John B >> Sun Jun 5, 2011 8:08 PM
Last updated on: Wed Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM

Concerned about the US-level cost and also the thought that this might be the thin end of the wedge. On the other hand have never liked higher education being a state monopoly. Son currently reading humanities subject at a top ten university (not Oxbridge). Summer term consisted of three days, then exams - all over by first week of May. For this he paid the term’s tuition fee, plus had to pay the uni a full term’s accommodation (and food as it was all-in-one). Hate to talk about value for money when discussing education but that’s just not meeting students' needs.

Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by Sandra Hutchinson >> Sun Jun 5, 2011 5:51 PM
Last updated on: Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:21 PM

Interested in alternatives to traditional UCAS universities - why not try Uni In The USA...and Beyond.

See http://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/university/university-beyond-the-uk-study-information
For more options.

Re: New "Oxbridge-quality" private university opening in London

by Thetis >> Sun Jun 5, 2011 12:36 PM
Last updated on: Wed Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM

I don't see this particular private university as a business opportunity, and I've no doubt that those concerned will attempt to make it accessible. Now that fees are so high in all universities, students have to choose well - there seems little point investing in a degree that doesn't offer what you want. I've been discussing this with a tutor and students at a regional university where the Art degree doesn't serve student needs - it serves the prejudices of a few entrenched faux academics. It seems to us that these students would do better to employ tutors directly, learning genuine skills and not just how to play the system. I don't think their situation is unique.

But Dawkins and Grayling are exceptional individuals, would I feel as positive about the establishment of such an ostensibly elitist university if this wasn't their initiative?

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