Bursting point

There’s a conversation building about whether we’re wise to look at higher education through the lens of the economy, given that nothing much looks good through the bottom of that dirty glass. Markets achieve extraordinary results using the levers and pulleys of scarcity, rivalry and desire, but this volatility doesn’t always help the big public institutions that deliver other kinds of social and cultural benefits, like education. So we half-protect these familiar institutions of public life from the market in…

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Who’s we, white man?

There’s an old joke that comes to mind a bit too frequently in current circumstances. After riding together through many adventures, having taken it in turns to rescue one another from certain death, The Lone Ranger and his faithful sidekick Tonto are finally surrounded by hundreds of Indians, whooping and hollering (it’s an old joke).¬† The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto with an arrow through his hat and says, “What do we do now, old friend?” To which Tonto sensibly…

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Universities are not very agile

I’ve been in conversation with a number of colleagues about whether or not academics are “resistant to change”. ¬†This claim was included quite casually in a document written to explain to external stakeholders the kinds of characteristics they would expect to see in a university community. Students are experimental, technical staff are skilled, and academics are … resistant to change. Obviously, at one level this is just annoying.

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