Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 21st February 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 21st February 2020

HE Policy

Reshuffle: splitting the deck (NCUB, 18/02/2020)

With DfE responsible for universities, and BEIS for science, research and innovation, it feels that university priorities, and university business relationships, could be pulled in different directions.

Further CommentUniversities fear loss of policy focus as ministerial roles split (THE, 17/02/2020)

Research funding, universities and the place agenda (NCUB, 18/02/2020)

Examining the relationship between R&D and local economic growth seemed like a timely topic for the 9th roundtable in LSBU’s ongoing Policy Breakfast Series.

How should the higher education sector seek to persuade our new Ministers? (HEPI, 19/02/2020)

As we take stock of the Whitehall reshuffle and get to know the new Ministers responsible for the higher education sector, it seems like a good moment to think afresh about how to persuade policymakers most effectively.

What do the Labour leadership candidates think of higher education? (HEPI, 16/03/2020)

Where’s the value debate about to go next? (WonkHE, 17/02/2020)

The question of “value for money” has been floating around English higher education since the advent of £9k fees.

Alterni-TEF: who does best on alternative graduate outcomes measures? (WonkHE, 17/02/2020)

We do our best to plot Universities UK’s alternative graduate outcomes measures

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

Students say they don’t understand university offer-making. This must change (Guardian, 17/02/2020)

Students are confused by contextualised admissions and unconditional offers, so we’re reviewing the system

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

UCAS: record applicants & acceptances from outside UK, boosted by non-EU growth (PIE, 21/02/2020)

Applications from non-UK students for higher education courses in the UK increased by 5.2% this cycle over 2018 to reach a record 140,955, according to the latest Universities and Colleges Admissions Service report.

UK announces points-based visa system (PIE, 19/02/2020)

The proposed changes require those seeking to work in the UK earn at least £25,600 a year, as well as having specific skills and qualifications.

Further CommentUK’s post-Brexit immigration plan includes points for PhDs (THE, 19/02/2020)

Source textUK announces new points-based immigration system (UKVI, 19/02/2020)

What about me? International student attainment in UK higher education (HEPI, 20/02/2020)

As universities work to reduce attainment gaps in some parts of the cohort, which are measured, researched and reported, there is a risk that they may be neglecting attainment gaps that exist elsewhere.

Chinese agents predict recruitment bounceback after coronavirus (THE, 18/02/2020)

Recruitment agents say most students will defer enrolment rather than cancel overseas study plans altogether

London calling: half of foreign applicants target capital (THE, 20/02/2020)

International students nearly twice as likely as domestic applicants to apply to campuses in the city

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

UK HEIs can “shape a new national identity” (PIE, 17/02/2020)

UK higher education institutions have an opportunity to shape national identity by focusing on sustainability research and furthering partnerships with Asia

TNE must deliver portable qualifications that will be recognised internationally (PIE, 19/02/2020)

“At times, regulations developed to safeguard students and societies… can hinder the achievement of the very benefits associated with TNE”

Branch campuses are unlikely to blossom (THE, 19/02/2020)

Coventry University’s endeavours notwithstanding, other international education initiatives are more sustainable,

Widening Participation

Call to scrap ‘elitist’ Oxford application fee (BBC, 19/02/2020)

Academics at Oxford University want to scrap a £75 fee required to apply for postgraduate courses – arguing it is an “elitist” financial barrier.

The evaluation challenge: understanding what works in access and participation (OfS, 18/02/2020)

Two new reports add to a growing body of knowledge about the impact of access and participation activities and identify ways to overcome the challenges of evaluation.

See alsoData use for access and participation in higher education (OfS, 18/02/2020)

Further CommentWe need to talk about access and participation data (WonkHE, 19/02/2020)

How ‘soft bigotry’ of teachers’ low expectations is stopping poor pupils going to university (Independent, 18/02/2020)

A report warns that quality advice in schools on academic routes is ‘desperately scarce’

Further CommentUK universities face pressure to reform admissions process (Guardian, 17/02/2020)

Degree apprenticeships can reach diverse learners in new ways (JISC, 20/02/2020)

Launched in 2015, degree apprenticeships (DAs) are still relatively new – and I believe they offer exciting opportunities for the higher education (HE) sector.

Student Experience and Standards

Less than half of part-timers think feedback is acted on by staff, but overall student satisfaction consistently high (OfS, 19/02/2020)

New analysis of National Student Survey data highlights variations in how different student groups have responded to the survey.

Further CommentNSS takes on a new character (WonkHE, 20/02/2020)

Ethnic minority students ‘less likely to think marking was fair’ (THE, 19/02/2020)

Source reportThe National Student Survey: Consistency, controversy and change (OfS, 19/02/2020)

No room for you in lectures, top universities tell first-year students (Guardian, 15/02/2020)

‘Desperate’ institutions offer overflow rooms and YouTube live streams instead of a seat in front of a lecturer

Further CommentIs space the final frontier in higher education value? (WonkHE, 17/02/2020)

Generation drop-out: how do universities better support students? (UB, 19/02/2020)

University drop-outs: Alan Slavik looks at what HE can do to better protect those most vulnerable at university

Leading change in external examining (Advance HE, 14/02/2020)

A look at a new survey and national guidance for higher education providers on protecting the value of UK degrees, and how the Degree Standards project has been leading change in external examiner practice.

What can be done about degree algorithm variations? (WonkHE, 20/02/2020)

In a long read, David Allen dives deep into the murky waters of the degree algorithm, and suggests an elegant solution.

Teaching and Learning

5 Principles as Pathways to Inclusive Teaching (Inside Higher Ed, 19/02/2020)

Soulaymane Kachani, Catherine Ross and Amanda Irvin offer concrete strategies that are guided by research to use in the classroom.

Beyond the Discussion Board (Inside Higher Ed, 20/02/2020)

Better ways to embed dialogue and interaction into asynchronous online classes.

How to Keep Class Sessions from Running Short (Or Going Too Long) (Teaching in Higher Ed, 17/02/2020)

The fears about not having enough material to fill a class, or in getting behind with what you planned, are common.

Pastoral Concerns

UCL ban on staff-student relationships is ‘a wake up call’ – campaigners (BBC, 21/02/2020)

A ban on intimate relationships between staff and their students at University College London is “a wake up call” for universities, campaigners have said.


The employment of PhD graduates in the UK: what do we know? (HEPI, 17/02/2020)

The mismatch between PhDs’ career expectations and realities has been cited as one of the factors underpinning the relatively poor mental health and wellbeing of this group.

Employability – there is no silver bullet (Advance HE, 20/02/2020)

Employability – a word that can send shivers down the spine of many – perhaps because there is no silver bullet for this elusive term. So what does it even mean to address employability effectively and should we even be doing this?

Economy and Skills

Reach, relevance, and impact: how business and management research is helping society (CABS, 13/02/2020)

The positive influence of developments in science and technology is never a given, and history is replete with examples of breakthroughs that were never capitalised on, never widely disseminated, or which only served to exacerbate social issues.

Can universities do more for their towns? (UB, 21/02/2020)

The public wants institutions to do more, but how should leaders empower the civic university

Further CommentHow universities can help to level up towns (WonkHE, 19/02/2020)

IT in HE

Is COVID-19 a moment for online education to take the lead? (PIE, 20/02/2020)

“Beyond helping the students and the industry, edtech can also help with the

Assessment overhaul: time to ditch pen and paper exams for good (JISC, 17/02/2020)

After hundreds of years of putting pen to paper, Jisc’s new report explains why it’s time for assessment to evolve, for the sake of students, staff, and organisations.

Top tips for a sustainable approach to innovation (JISC, 21/02/2020)

These days, we usually associate the word ‘sustainability’ with the environment, but colleges and universities also need to keep their technology sustainable.

Roundtable: Safe & secure (UB, 21/02/2020)

When it comes to cybersecurity, is UK HE doing all it can to keep students, staff and data safe? Steve Wright asks the experts

Research intelligence: how to organise a virtual conference (THE, 20/02/2020)

Online conferences can engage new audiences but present significant organisational challenges

Confessions of a former digital champion (THE, 15/02/2020)

After a fleeting fear that the digital world was passing her by, the ubiquity of internet trolls has made Mary Joannou realise that might not be so bad after all


Turning the page on paper notebooks creates a digital dilemma (JISC, 17/02/2020)

Switching from paper research notebooks to digital ones proves to be difficult for universities.

Editor’s investigation reveals missing and suspicious data (THE, 21/02/2020)

Researchers must be prepared to share their raw data if their work is to be considered scientifically sound, says geneticist

Humanities scholars warn over UKRI’s plan for open-access books (THE, 17/02/2020)

Proposals to mandate open access monographs from 2024 will make it harder to publish and will limit career chances, says professor

Plan S does the wrong things to the wrong people (THE, 17/02/2020)

UKRI and other funders must prevent good intentions on open access from undermining good science


What could Brexit mean for Erasmus scheme? (BBC, 17/02/2020)

What could Brexit mean for current and future participants in the Erasmus scheme?

UK ‘could only join Horizon Europe with transition extension’ (THE, 21/02/2020)

Former European Commissioner for trade argues that with UK-EU trade deal in 2020 impossible, research link relies on extra time

ERC president ‘optimistic’ UK will stay in ‘irreplaceable’ fund (THE, 20/02/2020)

Despite Brexit, Mauro Ferrari hopes for ‘reasonable construct’ that ‘allows scientists to do their job in the best possible way’

The EU will not tolerate cherry-picking by the UK (THE, 20/02/2020)

UK academics love the ERC, but selective participation in Horizon Europe is unlikely to be on the table,

Equality and Diversity

Decolonisation isn’t as simple as plenty of people suggest (WonkHE, 21/02/2020) 

The way in which decolonisation and redressing attainment gaps are presented is a problem, because the take up of this agenda by those senior within institutions is in danger of looking like a marketing campaign.

Administration and Governance

Students hit by 14-day university lecturers strike (BBC, 20/02/2020)

Staff at 74 universities across the UK are beginning a 14-day strike over pensions, pay and conditions.

Further CommentUniversity strikes: Students could face larger class sizes if staff get their demands, employers claim (Independent, 19/02/2020)

Industrial action: is the force with students this time? (WonkHE 20/02/2020)

People not technology: the role of leadership in digital transformation (JISC, 20/02/2020)

Most UK universities want more direction from leadership in terms of digital transformation, but what should this leadership look like? 

How is university governance changing? (HEPI, 21/02/2020)

Many people do not appreciate just how huge the UK university sector now is. Together, it is worth around £100 billion a year to the country and supports nearly one million jobs.

Shifting expectations about the long-hours culture (THE, 20/02/2020)

Working to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy, but a one-size-fits-all limit is hard to set when careers and reputations are on the line


Students’ university essays reported to police under ‘overzealous’ government counter-terror measures (Independent, 17/02/2020)

Free speech is being stifled and trust destroyed because of Prevent, experts say

Estates and Infrastructure

UK private sector accommodation heats up (PIE, 20/02/2020)

Students in the UK are increasingly living in private sector halls of residence, and Investors seem to be taking note.