Cost-benefit analysis of the Teaching Excellence Framework

As the Higher Education and Research Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons, Dorothy Bishop revisits the costs and benefits of one of its primary components, the Teaching Excellence Framework. Based on the government’s own analysis, the system is designed to separate winners and losers with potentially devastating effects for the losers. The outcome will depend crucially […]

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    Brexit was a huge shock for universities. Now we must regroup and deepen our European links

Brexit was a huge shock for universities. Now we must regroup and deepen our European links

Universities were shocked and profoundly concerned by the Leave vote. So much collaboration between European universities has arisen from membership of the EU. But, writes Anne Corbett, now is the time to forge and deepen our European links thorough associations like Coimbra and the European University Association.
Shock and alarm
Few policy sectors are more shocked than higher education at the referendum […]

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    Impact Community Insights: Five things we learned from our Reader Survey and Google Analytics.

Impact Community Insights: Five things we learned from our Reader Survey and Google Analytics.

Managing Editor of the LSE Impact Blog Sierra Williams provides a brief round-up of qualitative and quantitative insights gleaned about the blog from a few different sources. From what content readers want more of to how people are accessing and using online information, this feedback provides some exciting directions for the blog to explore and focus on in the next year.

We […]

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    Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration.

Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration.

Knowledge exchange and impact activities often have to negotiate, incorporate and synthesise different kinds of expertise. Mona Sloane looks at how the Configuring Light Roundtables have sought to bring together perspectives on inequalities in social housing lighting by encouraging productive dialogue between those with abstract and practical expertise. This kind of collaboration offers real potential for re-defining universities as […]

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    Conference rage: How did something as truly awful as panel discussions become the default format?

Conference rage: How did something as truly awful as panel discussions become the default format?

The relatively low impact of many academic conferences suggests it may be time for a rethink, argues Duncan Green. ‘Manels’ (male only panels) are an outrage, but why not go for complete abolition, rather than mere gender balance? With people reading out papers, terrible powerpoints crammed with too many words, or illegible graphics, it is time for innovation in format. We […]

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    Mining the REF impact case studies for lessons on leadership, governance and management in Higher Education.

Mining the REF impact case studies for lessons on leadership, governance and management in Higher Education.

The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Director of Research, Professor Fiona Ross CBE commissioned Dr Elizabeth Morrow to mine the 2014 REF impact case studies to learn more about leadership, governance and management (LGM) research. The case study data suggests new possibilities for inter-professional collaboration, and also elucidates different types of impact, which may not necessarily be sequential. Furthermore, given the […]

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    Are we seeing a new ‘inequality paradigm’ in social science?

Are we seeing a new ‘inequality paradigm’ in social science?

Social scientists have long been concerned with inequality, yet the focus has often been on its theoretical and political aspects. This is now starting to change, writes Mike Savage. Thanks to research interventions by scholars, together with attempts to institutionalise  cross-disciplinary work, the focus is shifting from normative debates and towards the more technical, empirical and historical problems of inequality.

The […]

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    It’s time to teach — but which time is it? Tracing academic practices through more appropriate time metrics.

It’s time to teach — but which time is it? Tracing academic practices through more appropriate time metrics.

Academics may be well aware of mounting time pressures but is standard clock-time useful for understanding academic work? Alexander Mitterle, Carsten Würmann, and Roland Bloch look at how teaching is understood in relation to time in German universities. They report how the SWS, a figure related to an individual course frame, can be understood as a quantifiable time classification, but one […]

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    Is a college degree worth it? Interventions are needed to enhance the practical relevance of higher education.

Is a college degree worth it? Interventions are needed to enhance the practical relevance of higher education.

Many young people around the world struggle to find jobs despite having obtained university degrees. Asit K. Biswas and Julian Kirchherr outline what needs to change in order to boost the practical value of higher education. Recruiting academic staff with work experience outside of academia could provide richer teaching experiences and a more developed understanding of which skills are needed, even […]

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    Book Review: Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters by Les Back

Book Review: Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters by Les Back

Presenting a collection of diary-style entries as though from a single academic year, Les Back chronicles three decades of his career in Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters. The book offers witty and thought-provoking insight into such topics as writing, PhD supervision, viva examiners and dealing with academic colleagues, as well as reflecting on some of the serious […]

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    Gender Gap Extremes: Relational differences, rather than aspirational ones could be major factor in ‘leaky pipeline’

Gender Gap Extremes: Relational differences, rather than aspirational ones could be major factor in ‘leaky pipeline’

The dwindling number of women in senior positions in academia, often referred to as the ‘leaky pipeline’, is particularly apparent in Polish art schools. Anna Gromada, Dorka Budacz, Juta Kawalerowicz and Anna Walewska share findings from recent research shedding light into the more general mechanisms that generate the gender gap in academia and beyond. Crucial differences were identified in networking and […]

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    A Culture of Speed: Anticipation, Acceleration and Individualization in Academic Science.

A Culture of Speed: Anticipation, Acceleration and Individualization in Academic Science.

Ruth Müller draws attention to the social and epistemic effects of a culture of speed in academia. Her research looks at how this wider culture has produced in particular two modes of being and relating for researchers: anticipatory acceleration and latent individualization. These modes could have significant effects on the type of research questions explored and on scientific networks […]

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    Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Change in higher education often progresses slowly. If scholars are serious about wanting to change disciplinary and institutional cultures and not merely to wait for Cultural Change to magically happen, Cameron Neylon argues we need to consider the differing approaches to how certain cultures operate, interact and eventually change. Ultimately, change in higher education requires a variety of levers […]

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    Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]

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    Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Academic blogging is increasingly valued by academics and institutions as a worthwhile activity. But universities are still struggling to provide the right balance of infrastructure and services to support their academics’ online presence. As universities look to external providers to extend the reach of scholarly ideas, what might be lost by not investing in in-house efforts? Sierra Williams identifies […]

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    Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Having a funding application rejected does not necessarily mean the research is unsupportable by funders – maybe just unlucky. There is a significant risk to wider society in the rejection of unlucky but otherwise sound applications: good ideas may slip through the cracks, or be re-worked and dulled-down to sound more likely to provide reliable results. Oli Preston looks at […]

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    How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]

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    What constitutes valuable scholarship? The use of altmetrics in promotion and tenure.

What constitutes valuable scholarship? The use of altmetrics in promotion and tenure.

The traditional ways in which promotion and tenure committees assess scholarship — whether quantitatively or qualitatively — are either inappropriate or insufficient for capturing its true value, argue Stacy Konkiel, Cassidy R. Sugimoto and Sierra Williams. Altmetrics can help fill in the knowledge gaps, but ultimately will only provide a limited view. Richer narratives can always be found by digging deeper into […]

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    The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

This week the first UK conference on the state and future of university presses is taking place. The university press concept has regained strength in recent years and in the last 12 months alone a host of new presses have been launched in the UK. Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press shares his thoughts on the changing landscape of […]

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