University administration

Thousands of A-level students could lose their unconditional university offers | Education

Thousands of A-level students could have their unconditional university offers withdrawn this summer, as ministers and the higher education regulator try to crack down on panic offers made during the pandemic. Sources at Westminster say the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, is determined to constrain universities, after private government data showed that 30,000 offers that had been dependent on A-level grades were suddenly switched to “unconditional” when the pandemic struck in March. The competition to recruit UK students will be more…

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UK universities facing £760m hit as one in five students plan to defer | Universities

British universities face a potential £760m blow to their funding after about one in five students said they would not enrol in the next academic year if classes were delivered online and other activities curtailed. A survey of students applying for undergraduate places found that more than 20% said they were willing to delay starting their courses if universities were not operating as normal due to the coronavirus pandemic, which would mean there would be 120,000 fewer students when the…

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Women’s research plummets during lockdown – but articles from men increase | Education

In April Dr Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, noticed that the number of article submissions she was receiving from women had dropped dramatically. Not so from men. “Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month,” she posted on Twitter. “Never seen anything like it.” The response was an outpouring of recognition from frustrated female academics, saying they were barely coping with childcare and work during the coronavirus…

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Covid-19 has made universities’ financial forecasts redundant. Good luck to us all | Jonathan Wolff | Education

I’m a man of simple pleasures. One of the ways I keep myself amused is chuckling at financial forecasts. HS2 is going to cost £106bn. Really? Are you sure it isn’t £107bn? Or £105bn? Or something completely different? A recent study suggests that the UK university sector is going to take a £2.472bn hit next year in lost fees. Oddly, my normal instinct to giggle at the bogus precision didn’t kick in this time. That is a lot of money,…

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Covid-19 shows up UK universities’ shameful employment practices | Stefan Collini | Education

One byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic has been to focus attention on the precariousness of so many people’s economic circumstances: working long hours, yet one step away from destitution. This should, in truth, not be news to any of us, but there is so much from which we avert our gaze. And in universities, that gaze has in recent years been averted, above all, from the plight of temporary and part-time academic staff. According to recent figures, 54% of university…

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Loss of international student fees could decimate UK research | Education

As university researchers race to find a way out of the coronavirus pandemic, top institutions are warning that losing at least half their international students will blow a huge hole in their research budgets and lead to cuts in vital scientific projects. Many universities are anticipating a loss of between 80 and 100% of their usual intake of international students as a result of the virus, with most agreeing a reduction of at least half seems inevitable. This is an…

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Covid-19 is our best chance to change universities for good I Steven Jones | Education

March is normally one of the busiest months in the academic calendar. Lecture theatres bulge, coffee queues lengthen and library shelves empty. The interactions are multilingual and non-stop. This year, silence. Buildings are in lockdown and staff barred from their offices. Those students who remain are mostly unable to go home. But learning goes on, displaced, not discontinued. In many respects, Covid-19 is drawing out the best from staff, their commitment to students’ education and wellbeing shining through the uncertainty.…

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Two in five 18-year-olds in UK apply to study at university this year | Education

Two out of every five 18-year-olds in the UK are applying for a place to study at university this year, along with record numbers of students from China and India, according to figures from the university admissions service. Ucas, which operates the application process for higher education, said the number of UK sixth formers applying for undergraduate places rose to 275,300, despite a 1.5% decline in the UK’s overall 18-year-old population, suggesting the appetite for university education remains undimmed by…

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Minister criticises lack of senior black UK academics | Education

The universities minister has criticised UK higher education institutions for their failure to recruit and promote black and minority ethnic academics, after figures showed that no black staff were employed at the most senior levels. Chris Skidmore, higher education minister for England, said it was unacceptable that the number of black academics in the most senior leadership roles had fallen from an estimated five in 2017-18 to possibly zero in the last academic year. According to figures published by the…

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Senior UK academics protest over pay and working conditions | Education

Senior academics are refusing to act as external examiners – a vital part of higher education assessments – in protest at pay and working conditions in UK universities, and are urging colleagues to join them, potentially disrupting this year’s results for students. British universities rely on external examiners to independently validate the results of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, meaning that mass resignations would cause headaches for universities in the setting and marking of exams. A letter to the Guardian signed…

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Thousands of UK academics ‘treated as second-class citizens’ | Education

Thousands of academic staff at British universities are being treated as second-class citizens on precarious contracts, says a report highlighting the “alarming rise of mass casualised labour” in higher education. The report by the University and College Union claims institutions have created a pool of low-paid staff to teach undergraduates, conduct research and work in libraries, despite having advanced postgraduate or other academic qualifications. It calls on the Office for Students, the higher education regulator in England, to require each…

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Third of non-EU university students in UK come from China | Education

The number of students from China at British universities increased again last year, with the latest figures showing that recruitment of Chinese students outstripped those from other countries. The Higher Education Statistics Agency’s breakdown of students in UK higher education last year showed that the number of students from China rose above 120,000 for the first time, accounting for more than one in every three non-EU students. While the number of new students coming from EU countries rose by 2%…

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Third of Cambridge University staff ‘have experienced bullying’ | Education

Nearly a third of staff at the University of Cambridge say they have experienced bullying and harassment in the workplace, according to an internal survey obtained by the Guardian that revealed what one union called “a culture of bullying” in parts of the institution. Responses from 3,000 academic and non-academic staff – a quarter of Cambridge’s total workforce – found that nearly one in three had either been the victims of bullying and other forms of victimisation or had seen…

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Call for universities to stop keeping students and parents in dark on crime stats | Education

When Nigel Herring received a call at 3.30am from his daughter Lydia, a student at Salford University, he knew something was wrong. She had returned home from a night out with her housemates to find they had been burgled: one bedroom had been ransacked and all their laptops were gone. “Hearing her panicking and crying and knowing we were two hours’ drive away made us feel so helpless,” says Herring, a bus driver and part-time firefighter, who lives near Whitby,…

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University strikes offer a lesson in principles, pay and pensions | Letter | Education

Your editorial is right to emphasise the wider issues in the strike by university lecturers and support services (Lecturers have a just cause in this important battle for the soul of the campus, 26 November). But the pensions issue still lies at the heart of the dispute. With a few retired colleagues, we have been attempting to persuade both the University and College Union (UCU) and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) to deal with the serious generational unfairness that has…

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‘Best time ever’: school-leavers have pick of university courses, says Ucas | Education

Today’s school-leavers are enjoying “the best time ever” to take their pick of university courses, thanks to fierce competition between institutions recruiting from a shrinking pool of 18-year-olds, according to the UK’s university admissions administrator. Ucas, which operates the admissions process for undergraduate courses, said nearly 98% of applicants received offers of a place to study for a degree this year, and that could be even higher next year as the demographic dip among British school-leavers reaches its lowest point.…

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