Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 22nd May 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 22nd May 2020

HE Policy

Outcomes based regulation doesn’t work in a pandemic. Or a select committee. (WonkHE, 18/05/2020)

It’s not just Grant Shapps who wants to know more about higher education in the autumn. Jim Dickinson watches a whole committee of MPs try to get answers from the Office for Students.

Students ‘must be warned if courses taught online’ (BBC, 18/05/2020)

Students applying for university places in England must be told with “absolute clarity” how courses will be taught – before they make choices for the autumn, says the university watchdog.

Further comment: Do not promise in-person teaching, UK providers warned (PIE, 19/05/2020)

Coronavirus: UK’s dream of becoming ‘science superpower’ will go up in smoke if universities don’t get urgent help, ministers warned (Independent, 21/05/2020)

Higher education sector has sent ‘SOS’ plea to government, says MSP

Further Comment: SNP consider ‘desperate’ plan to ask richest Scots to pay £1m each for university bailout (Telegraph, 20/05/2020)

Thousands of A-level students could lose their unconditional university offers (Guardian, 22/05/2020)

Regulator seeks temporary powers after universities make 30,000 unconditional offers in lockdown panic

The Office for Students’s new power: a ‘necessary and proportionate’ response to the pandemic, or not wasting a crisis? (HEPI, 19/05/2020)

Retrospective rules are morally and legally problematic.

Further Comment: Fears raised over scope of OfS’ crisis regulatory powers (THE, 19/05/2020)

Who decides the future of universities? (WonkHE, 22/05/2020)

For all the talk of efficiencies and market forces, letting an otherwise successful university fail because of Covid-19 would simply be a ministerial dereliction of duty. David Kernohan gets with the times.

Next Term

Cambridge University: All lectures to be online-only until summer of 2021 (BBC, 19/05/2020)

Lectures will continue to be made available online and it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person, as long as this conforms to social distancing requirements.

See alsoIndependentTelegraphGuardianPIEUBTHE

Further Comment: Cambridge University students on no face-to-face lectures (BBC, 21/05/2020)

Fifth of new students say they will not take up university place if lectures are made online only (Telegraph, 20/05/2020)

A report has found up to 23 per cent of prospective students could opt against taking up a place at university this autumn

See alsoUB

Further CommentUK universities facing £760m hit as one in five students plan to defer (Guardian, 20/05/2020)

‘Very, very upsetting’: students face tough decisions over university (Guardian, 20/05/2020)

Many feel uncertain about quality of education they will receive under restrictions to combat coronavirus

There’ll be no university rites of passage this year, but students shouldn’t despair (Guardian, 22/05/2020)

Academics should treat the pandemic as an opportunity to change teaching, not mourn a set of outdated practices

Students choose delayed start over online teaching (PIE, 19/05/2020)

A majority of students surveyed from Asia and Africa with offers from the UK’s top-ranked universities would prefer a delayed start to the next academic year if online teaching is the method of delivery.

University of Bolton to re-open campus for all students in September (UB, 19/05/2020)

Timed sessions, temperature scanners and strict social distancing among measures being taken to allow students back onto campus

Return to campus: how universities are approaching this difficult decision (UB, 20/05/2020)

Universities are beginning to announce how they will teach students from September, but how do universities devise working practices for diverse and busy campuses?

We need a nationally coordinated approach to reopening universities (WonkHE, 20/05/2020)

With different universities going their own way with plans for the next academic year, Mark Leach argues that a nationally coordinated approach is now needed to safeguard students and the future of the sector.

The only certainty about September is uncertainty for students (WonkHE, 20/05/2020)

As Cambridge and Bolton announce their plans for September, Jim Dickinson ponders the sorts of certainty being offered to students.

The panic is over – so here’s five things to fix now the real crisis has begun (WonkHE, 21/05/2020

With the best will in the world, what is feasible in October is not what was promised when our continuing students enrolled, when new students first applied, or when children were told about “university” in their youth.

How to open campuses – or not – is a test of university leadership (THE, 22/05/2020)

It’s a decision that must balance all the interests of the academic community and give the same benefits to students that a university education always has, says Alan Ruby

Student Numbers, Admissions and UCAS

Admissions and Transitions (QAA, 20/05/2020)

Signpost to Information and Resources

University Funding and University Status

Universities are on the brink of crisis. Coronavirus may tip them over the edge (Guardian, 21/05/2020)

After years of frozen tuition fees, and with costs rising fast, the pandemic could be the end for some institutions

Everything is on the table: how universities are preparing for financial losses (WonkHE, 21/05/2020)

EAB and AHUA have surveyed university leaders in the UK and US about their response to the financial impacts of Covid-19. EAB’s Gary Guadagnolo reports on the findings.

Merging universities forcibly: a Cooke and Bull story (WonkHE, 17/05/2020)

David Kernohan tells the long and surprising tale of Welsh governments’ attempts to merge what is now Cardiff Metropolitan University with regional competitors.

Is this a Lehman Brothers moment for UK higher education? (THE, 18/05/2020)

A university closure would provoke a ‘run on the university’, which will be much more expensive than the bailout the sector is currently seeking, says Adrian Bell

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

University to remove Alex Salmond’s tuition fees stone (BBC, 20/05/2020)

A university is to remove a stone unveiled by Alex Salmond pledging free tuition fees.

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

Supporting international students (OfS, 21/05/2020)

This briefing note highlights the practical and innovative ways in which universities and colleges are working to support their international students.

Indian students made homeless (PIE, 22/05/2020)

A ‘worryingly’ large number of Indian students stranded in the UK are being made homeless because they cannot pay rent to private landlords, The PIE News has learnt.

Practical strategies for the upcoming academic year (PIE, 22/05/2020)

Chatter continues in the market as to what decision international students will take with respect to university offers for the upcoming 2020/21 academic year.

International student outcomes data will be key to rebuilding international student numbers and a more transparent system of recruitment (HEPI, 22/05/2020)

Not only must we acknowledge the obvious temporary impact on mobility which we are experiencing now, but the shrinking purchasing power of middle-income families due to the economic downturn ushered in by Covid-19.

What does history tell us about vulnerability to international recruitment changes? (WonkHE, 20/05/2020)

What might the last twenty years of international recruitment tell us about the likely effect of Covid-19 on universities? José Luis Mateos González has done the research.

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

For the right reasons, with the right partners, in the right way: reviewing the value of TNE partnerships (UUKi, 22/05/2020)

Covid-19 has in this, as in so many other areas, made the sector lift the lid higher on what we do, and think harder about why we do it. It has also forced us to focus more clearly on what the real benefits are of the things we do, and what it takes to deliver real success for students and staff.

New publication offers perspectives on transnational education during COVID-19 (QAA, 20/05/2020)

Effective Practice in UK Transnational Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic summarises the key issues for UK TNE providers as they continue to adapt their provision.

International cooperation is the key to global recovery (THE, 22/05/2020)

By working together, universities can aid in economic growth, support societal recovery and improve resilience of key institutions, write the heads of U15 and the Russell Group

Post-Covid, internationalisation must be more flexible (THE, 19/05/2020)

Balancing the potential of remote learning with the benefits of student mobility for skills will be crucial, say Barbara Lorber and Sabine Prem

The world cannot afford any more global academic jamborees (THE, 21/05/2020)

Apart from the ecological degradation, the conference circuit is riven by socio-economic, class, race and gender divides, say Ambreena Manji and three others

Widening Participation

Widening participation matters too much for Covid-19 to shut it down (WonkHE, 17/05/2020)

A punk-DIY ethic is needed if we’re not to lose what’s been achieved in HE participation, says Anne-Marie Canning.

Student Experience and Standards

QAA publishes information resource for students’ unions officers (QAA, 20/05/2020)

To help students’ union officers engage effectively with their institutions in these discussions, QAA has developed an overview of available guidance and resources published by governments, regulators, sector bodies and international agencies.

The wider student experience and supporting community in lockdown (HEPI, 20/05/2020)

Universities are communities, both educationally and socially.

The day the libraries shut (THE, 21/05/2020)

Jisc’s Faye Holst talks to library staff from around the sector around the challenges faced by university libraries during lockdown, and looks ahead to the way things will change.

Is partnership really possible over Covid-19? (WonkHE, 21/05/2020)

How do we reassure our students that it is safe to return to campus?

Teaching and Learning

Universities’ move online ‘must be done the right way’ (BBC, 17/05/2020)

“Educators need to take a step back and ask not ‘how can I replicate what I do in the classroom’, but ‘how can I redesign this learning experience to take advantage of a whole wealth of technology that can deliver a full learning experience – not just the delivery of information?'”

How College Students Viewed This Spring’s Remote Learning (Inside Higher Ed, 20/05/2020)

A professor’s in-depth survey of students before and after courses went virtual offers insights into how colleges can improve. The key elements: a thoughtful mix of flexibility and structure.

What Will Life Be Like at Post-COVID Colleges and Universities?(Inside Higher Ed, 20/05/2020)

We will value our time together, but we will also incorporate lessons from our online adventures. What will remain or become virtual?

The Double-Edged Sword of COVID-19 and the New World of Work in Academic Institutions (CABS, 19/05/2020)

Will this global lockdown cause significant long-term disruptions to students’ learning and teaching and transform the ways that our future generations will be educated?

Distance learning: Open University shares its wisdom (UB, 20/05/2020)

The OU has launched a new distance learning course for educators grappling with distance learning due to coronavirus

#DryLabsRealScience – together stronger (Advance HE, 18/05/2020)

Collaborating for lab provision in an era of social distancing.

Pastoral Concerns

New guidance on mental health and wellbeing – supporting staff and students more important now than ever (UUK, 18/05/2020)

The importance of mental health and wellbeing is in focus now more than ever as people adapt to new ways of living, working and studying. For universities, this means enhancing support for students and staff alike.

Towards happy and healthy students: digital wellbeing and COVID-19 (JISC, 19/05/2020)

With an increased reliance on digital technology, students are having to address new mental health challenges and avoid online overload.

Changing the tyres without stopping the vehicle (UB, 21/05/2020)

How a sports survey helped Manchester Metropolitan University enhance mental health and inclusivity

The new Stepchange is an opportunity to renew our efforts on mental health (WonkHE, 20/05/2020)

Universities UK President Julia Buckingham calls on vice chancellors to demonstrate leadership in committing to mentally healthy universities.

Graduate student suicide postvention plans can help the entire campus community (THE, 21/05/2020)

When suicide prevention plans aren’t enough, postvention can help minimise the impact on students, faculty and staff


Employers are slashing graduate jobs. But students mustn’t lose hope (Guardian, 18/05/2020)

Although the outlook may seem bleak, certain industries still offer opportunities for savvy students

Chinese graduates: the employability disconnect (CABS, 19/05/2020)

As more and more Chinese students study internationally, business schools must look at how they enable graduates to obtain jobs in China.

Clap for our student healthcare workers (HEPI, 21/05/2020)

Coronavirus has impacted our lives in a multitude of ways, including bringing fears for students about the labour market they are going to enter.

Supporting student careers in challenging times (WonkHE, 19/05/2020)

The graduate job market is going to be tougher than ever. For Kate Daubney, helping students understand the skills they already have is key.

How can universities support the graduate labour market? (THE, 19/05/2020)

With this year’s graduates having only a recession to look forward to, universities must change the way they provide career support

Economy and Skills

Making digital and creative media education pay (PIE, 22/05/2020)

The creative arts are big business. Data released in the US and the UK show an ever-growing arts and culture industry that makes serious contributions to their economies.

If industry-oriented degrees are the answer, what are some of the questions? (WonkHE, 18/05/2020)

How do students attribute value to their undergraduate experience from the perspective of post-university employment?

Universities in the Community

UK’s old university towns hit by Covid-19 ‘double whammy’ (Guardian, 17/05/2020)

Local economies across country have been adversely affected by loss of students and tourists

Business schools must dig in and help rebuild local economies (THE, 16/05/2020)

They can teach the practical essentials needed for emerging from lockdown and localising the supply chain, says Zahir Irani

IT in HE

Europe’s supercomputers hijacked by attackers for crypto mining (BBC, 18/05/2020)

“We now believe this to be a major issue across the academic community as several computers have been compromised in the UK and elsewhere in Europe,”

Universities beware: shifting classes online so quickly is a double-edged sword (Guardian, 20/05/2020)

Universities have done well to adapt to lockdown, but there are questions over privacy, equipment and teaching methods

Steps to improve your institution’s digital accessibility (JISC, 21/05/2020)

In pushing teaching and learning online at an unprecedented scale, COVID-19 is challenging higher and further education providers, but also presents opportunities – particularly when it comes to digital accessibility.


Collaboration & ‘building back better’ (NCUB, 19/05/2020)

More than 30 UK universities are collaborating in order to aid the UK in meeting its 2050 climate goals at the UN Climate Summate in Glasgow (COP26).

Crisis recovery ‘will break UK’s discipline boundaries’ (THE, 20/05/2020)

UK research will become more interdisciplinary and community-focused in wake of pandemic

Psychology research is ‘not ready’ for use in pandemic policy (THE, 19/05/2020)

Social scientists should be more open that their policy advice is usually based on small experiments done in university settings, study recommends

Most early career academics face funding cliff edge, survey suggests (THE, 18/05/2020)

Responses to survey of junior research staff and PhD students suggest majority have major concerns about their future as they deal with stresses of working under lockdown

Equality and Diversity

‘We’re being fobbed off’: why disabled students are losing out in lockdown (Guardian, 21/05/2020)

Disabled students need extensions to their deadlines and extra equipment, but are finding it hard to get them

Diversity: all in this together? (UB, 20/05/2020)

Sheila Gupta is Queen Mary’s new champion for diversity – here she tells us why institutional cultures must be fair, inclusive and built on trust

BAME academics are already under-represented. The response to Covid-19 could reduce our numbers even further. (WonkHE, 21/05/2020)

As universities prepare to respond to the financial losses of Covid-19, Winston Morgan warns of a potentially devastating impact on BAME staff.

Administration and Governance

Strategy: doing the right things for the right reasons (Advance HE, 21/05/2020)

Well, the future isn’t what it used to be…

Valuing diverse knowledges in higher education: a post-COVID proposition (Advance HE, 18/05/2020)

Hilary Noone argues that people-centred approaches, where everyone’s contribution is welcome, valued and acknowledged, can and should be implemented in the ‘new normal’ and will give institutions the competitive edge in post-COVID sectoral emergence.

Ethical governance in Covid times: the value of the Nolan principles (WonkHE, 19/05/2020)

Covid-19 presents boards of governors with ethical as well as practical concerns.

Coping with a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world during Covid-19 (WonkHE, 18/05/2020)

University of Northampton vice chancellor Nick Petford explains how the VUCA system can help structure strategic thinking on the response to Covid-19.

UK unions and employers commit to work together during pandemic (THE, 22/05/2020)

Representatives agree to discuss how to safely reopen campuses