New College of the Humanities

As BBC reported, a number of prominent academics in the UK (and beyond) have founded the New College of the Humanities. Very high quality faculty, very expensive, very old school in their focus. For real?

The UK government in response to the economic meltdown have severely sliced and diced higher education. Brutal cuts. Whether by design or neglect, the impact of these cuts will be to completely redefine universities. As they say, don’t waste a good crisis.

The university sector is besieged by those who say it must change, and change dramatically and quickly (not, I should say, something the sector is particularly good at). And I agree. We have some serious work to do. I worry that the UK gov’t has created a crisis to create significant change (a sadly all too common but effective strategy).

So, while I applaud the New College, I wonder if it’s a stunt; a means to highlight the undermining of UK universities. If so, the change we need to see (in the UK and elsewhere) will flounder and the genuine opportunity to reinvent the system will have been lost.

I’m not supporting the “change via crisis” agenda. But I am supporting fundamental change in higher eduction. Better that we do this than have it imposed on us.



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2 Responses to New College of the Humanities

  1. Lisa Sloniowski says:

    Hi Mike – glad you’ve started blogging and good luck with the M.Ed! On this post – have you seen Terry Eagleton’s take on the New College? He’s disgusted by the elitism and attacks the so-called liberals who have taken up positions there.

    • Mike Ridley says:

      Thanks for the encouragement and the link. I did see this post. Gotta love any piece that manages to use the word “odious!” What is happening in the UK more generally might well be a indication of what could happen in Ontario (or even Canada). We live in anti-intellectual times.

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