Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 29th May 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 29th May 2020

HE Policy

‘Concern’ at English university student cap plan (BBC, 29/05/2020)

“Deep concern” has been raised over plans to cap English student numbers at Welsh universities in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Philip Augar: ‘Negative grants’ could target ‘over-supplied courses’ (THE, 26/05/2020)

With £7,500 tuition fees off the agenda, new strategies to rebalance English higher education could be introduced, says post-18 education review chair

Next Term

UK universities favour blended learning approach for 2020-21 (THE, 26/05/2020)

THE snapshot survey finds most institutions will deliver mix of face-to-face and online courses

Coronavirus: Oxford University intends to teach face-to-face (BBC, 27/05/2020)

The University of Manchester and the University of Reading said its lectures would be online-only for the next term.

See alsoQueen’s University: New students ‘will be taught remotely’ (BBC, 26/05/2020)

‘University definitely won’t be the same’ (BBC, 28/05/2020)

“The social aspect is a huge part of uni and that is something that we are all going to miss out on.”

We can’t yet say what’s on offer in September, UK universities tell freshers (Guardian, 29/05/2020)

As the deadline to accept a place approaches, universities are unable to promise lectures, seminars, halls or a nightlife

Reopening campus: Keele makes six commitments to students ahead of the next academic year (UB, 29/05/2020)

Keele has also published a blueprint which details how it will reopen its campus in stages

University of Bristol to reopen for new academic year (UB, 29/05/2020)

The university has confirmed it will be welcoming new and returning students for the start of the autumn term

Universities vow to be ‘safe and open’ by September (UB, 28/05/2020)

Sheffield Hallam and Swansea universities have made reassurances that they can reopen their campuses in time for the next academic year

Students have answers to the questions about September (WonkHE, 28/05/2020)

Back in November 2019 – before Covid-19 even appeared in the mainstream media – I was tasked with “reimagining the first-year undergraduate experience”.

2020: a space (and timetabling) odyssey (WonkHE, 27/05/2020)

A return to a socially distanced campus presents unique challenges to timetablers and estates teams. Claire Taylor and Andrea Buttle set out current thinking.

Lifting the lockdown means thinking through the implications for student conduct (WonkHE, 27/05/2020)

When a university brings a student to a town or city but keeps them largely off campus because of Covid-19, what happens next?

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

More than one-third of school leavers unsure about attending university after coronavirus, research finds (Independent, 26/05/2020)

Study follows revelation that institutions face £760m loss in tuition fees

The impact of COVID-19 on admissions and transitions into higher education (QAA, 28/05/2020)

The paper also poses some reflective questions for the higher education sector to consider as well as some recommendations for institutions on how to support their September 2020 entrants.

In the wake of a global pandemic, will students look closer to home? (HEPI, 29/05/2020)

What do we already know about student mobility?

Predicted and estimated grades must not be and do not have to be so central in decisions for universities and employers (HEPI, 28/05/2020)

Some schools are managing their curriculum well, others are putting out desperate calls on social media channels requesting students to read their tutors’ emails, which are being ignored.

University marketing should build trust with students (WonkHE, 28/05/2020)

With all the uncertainty of Covid-19, can universities produce credible marketing? Vicky Hayhurst argues that demonstrating trustworthiness can bridge between regulation and reality.

Clearing Plus: transforming admissions experiences (WonkHE, 26/05/2020)

Clearing Plus is a more efficient and personalised way to match students in clearing to the best course for them, says Fiona Johnston.

The data science behind Clearing Plus (WonkHE, 26/05/2020)

For Clearing Plus to be trusted, it must be transparent and clear about how matches are made. Paul Chandler shows us around.

University Funding and University Status

Cambridge University is seeking financial help from the Government, vice-Chancellor reveals (Telegraph, 27/05/2020)

Even in the best case scenario, Cambridge can expect a “significant financial detriment” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

Further CommentCambridge v-c: crisis could lead to job cuts in ‘worst-case scenario’ (THE, 26/05/2020)

Pitching in, not just bailing out (HEPI, 27/05/2020)

We need to recognise that higher education is far from alone in needing help.

Are we on the cusp of a wave of university mergers? (HEPI, 26/05/2020)

There is huge interest at the moment in whether higher education institutions will be more likely to merge with one another as a result of the financial pressures caused by the pandemic.

Why UK universities must win a better funding settlement (HEPI, 25/05/2020)

Before Coronavirus, some universities might have thought themselves financially strong enough to weather any storm. But many more institutions are now vulnerable.

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

Guidance on contacting the Student Loans Company (SLC, 29/05/2020)

SLC issues guidance on how students should contact them during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Master’s students are owed deferrals and refunds (WonkHE, 28/05/2020)

Postgraduate students – in particular Master’s students – are at the epicentre of the financial crisis as universities respond to Covid-19.

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

China: four UK visa application centres to open (PIE, 28/05/2020)

A number of UK visa application centres in China are to reopen June 1, paving a way for prospective students to be able to obtain study visas for the next academic year.

UK international fees ‘not expected to change’ despite pandemic (THE, 28/05/2020)

But applicants for this autumn may find themselves in a ‘buyer’s market’ even at the most selective universities

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

Assuring higher education quality during COVID-19: a global view (QAA, 28/05/2020)

International quality assurance agencies are successfully adapting their assessment practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many agencies expecting a degree of long-term change in their domestic HE sectors, according to a paper published by QAA today.

QAA publishes guidance on contingency planning for international provision (QAA, 29/05/2020)

Widening Participation

Russell Group sets out plan to transform opportunities for disadvantaged and under-represented students (Russell Group, 27/05/2020)

Further CommentOffice for Students response to Russell Group Pathways for Potential report (OfS, 27/05/2020)

Top universities would need to recruit deprived students irrespective of grades to meet targets, report finds (Telegraph, 27/05/2020)

Widening participation: Russell Group report calls for drive to tackle inequality in higher education (UB, 27/05/2020)

Transforming access and participation demands a national strategy (WonkHE, 27/05/2020)

Russell Group warns against English regulator’s access targets (THE, 27/05/2020)

Let’s use this crisis to improve equality for all young people, not just students (Guardian, 24/05/2020)

A radical plan is needed to right the wrongs of an education system that widens the disparity between rich and poor

Student Experience and Standards

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Higher Education in Apprenticeships (QAA, 29/05/2020)

The paper notes three key elements that higher education providers should consider regarding their support for higher education apprenticeships

Subject Benchmark Statement: Architecture (QAA, 27/05/2020)

New subject guidance aims to reflect changing landscape of Architecture education

QAA publishes guidance for UK higher education providers to help contingency planning for placement provision (QAA, 29/05/2020)

The paper looks at health and safety considerations for students on work placements, as well as their wellbeing and mental health. It also considers other key areas such as credit weightings, regulatory requirements, significant volume of working hours, virtual placements, and potential alternative curricula and assessments.

COVID-19: What next for higher education? (QAA, 24/05/2020)

Over the past six weeks, QAA has worked with our members across the sector to produce guidance and illustrate it with examples of good practice and put it all into the public domain. Now we’re beginning to peer through the portal and wonder… what next?

Learning and Teaching

‘Students like the flexibility’: why online universities are here to stay (Guardian, 27/05/2020)

With the coronavirus pandemic radically reshaping the education system, universities may never be the same again

Can Active Learning Co-Exist With Physically Distanced Classrooms? (Inside Higher Ed, 27/05/2020)

Advocates for active learning worry that their favored approach will be hard to pull off in physically distanced classrooms — and that instructors will revert to the straightforward lecture.

Transforming Assessment in Higher Education – if not now…? (Advance HE, 26/05/2020)

With the launch of Transforming Assessment: a guide to the Advance HE Framework, author Sam Elkington discusses how it is timely to seek transformational change in higher education assessment.

Getting Students to Discuss by Channeling the Affective Domain (Faculty Focus, 29/05/2020)

One of the most satisfying moments in teaching is leading a lively discussion in which students are deeply engaged in the material and contributing thoughtfully. However, as I’m sure most instructors can relate, far too often I’ve found myself in the opposite situation.

Testing the equivalence of online and on campus learning (WonkHE, 27/05/2020)

Though online and on campus learning are a bit like apples and oranges, Gilly Salmon offers pointers to meaningful comparison.


Who will take responsibility for the soft skills? (NCUB, 28/05/2020)

How and where will students develop the soft skills usually obtained on campus and what new soft skills will the new labour market demand?

Fund ‘civic army’ to tackle youth unemployment, charity bosses tell government (UB, 29/05/2020)

75,000 paid placements are needed to support young people who face a dire labour market this autumn

The road less travelled: 2020 graduates must be flexible and resilient (UB, 26/05/2020)

Students should be encouraged to feel optimistic about the post-Covid-19 jobs market, says Professor Zahir Irani of the University of Bradford

Economy and Skills

Microcredentials need macro-investment (THE, 25/05/2020)

England’s main skills challenge is not over-education but preparing workers for the emerging economy,


Careers intelligence: distance mentoring early career researchers (THE, 27/05/2020)

At a time of upheaval, early career researchers need more support than ever.

Equality and Diversity

Can lessons from history shape today’s attitudes of women in STEM? (PIE, 26/05/2020)

“For women in STEM research, adversity is still commonplace”

Decolonisation of the curriculum – a conversation (Advance HE, 26/056/2020)

Dr Kay Hack has invited colleagues and students from three universities who have taken action to decolonise their curriculum. In this conversation they discuss what’s meant by a decolonised curriculum and why it is important.

Parents versus non-parents is the wrong productivity battle to fight (THE, 27/05/2200)

The problem is measuring all women, with or without children, against patriarchal standards, says Srila Roy

Administration and Governance

Helping you face new realities (Advance HE, 28/05/2020)

Lisa Sofianos discusses leadership in a crisis and avoiding ‘yesterday’s logic’.

Pandemic throws spotlight on HE employment practices (THE, 28/05/2020)

Questions raised about the responses of universities in marketised systems as they focus savings efforts on non-permanent staff

Trends, Developments and Opinions

On time, work, leisure and learning in universities (WonkHE, 24/05/2020)

A widely felt consequence of the Covid-19 crisis has been the rapid redistribution of time and work.

Don’t dismiss student social activity as optional (WonkHE, 24/05/2020)

Duncan Exley considers what’s missing from the student experience when teaching goes online – and why it matters to social mobility.

The pandemic has shown us the imperative for global engagement in higher education (THE, 29/05/2020)

Global pandemics require global responses – that’s why producing globally competent graduates should be central to universities’ missions, say Harvey Charles and Darla Deardorff