The University Alliance, a group of 23 major, business-engaged universities, is starting a debate within the sector about the future of universities. University Vision will explore the issues and challenges and ask the big questions about where universities need to position themselves to deliver the knowledge, networks and places of the future.
The Alliance wants to hear the views of University staff and their predictions on how higher education will be shaped by – and need to respond to – political, economic, environmental, social and technological trends in the coming years. A website has been set up for university staff to have their voice heard.
Alliance universities are based on embedding innovation and enterprise through everything they do and deliver. This includes the courses they offer, their graduate prospects, the impact of their research, how they work with business, the professions and the community, the leading role they play in building regional economies, right down to the way they are run.
The University’s Vice-chancellor, Professor John Craven who was the founding chair, said that Universities remain the nerve centre of modern Britain.
“Every university has a major impact on its city and region– in Portsmouth the economic benefits of the university to our local community exceed £250m a year; that’s in addition to the significant contribution we make to the educational, social and cultural life of the city.
“Those working within the sector are well-positioned to contribute to the debate about the future of Higher Education and I hope staff will voice their opinions.”
Professor Steve West, the Alliance’s chair elect, said that higher education is going through massive change at the moment. “So much focus is on dealing with the here and now, which is obviously critical, but there is not enough thinking about what the future is going to be for our universities. Politicians have got themselves locked into a cycle of worrying about numbers and money, not allowing them to be innovative or creative in their thinking. Changes to the way universities are funded are yet to lead to genuine change and progress of the sector as a whole.
“What we want to do with University Vision is to start a conversation that begins to paint what the future could look like and to explore the issues and challenges facing universities in the future. We want to ask the big questions about where universities need to position themselves to deliver the knowledge, networks and places of the future.”