Are British research universities losing their way or are they finding a new way?
Nigel Thrift, a well-known academic and a former Vice-Chancellor, explores recent changes in the British research university that threaten to erode the quality of these higher education institutions. He considers what a research university has now become by examining the quandaries that have arisen from a succession of misplaced strategies and false expectations.
Challenging both higher education policy and leadership, he argues that the focus on student number growth and a series of research policy missteps has upset research universities’ priorities just at a point in the history of planetary breakdown when their research is most needed.
"Research universities matter! Thrift provides an unashamed, insightful and personal defence. In doing so he raises existential questions about their future, and argues for their purpose and survival. Expect to be provoked and want to argue back. An essential read for those who value research and its vital contribution to our future." Ken Sloan,
Harper Adams University
Professor Nigel Thrift is currently the Chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. Previously he was the Executive Director of Schwarzman Scholars. Before that he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford. He is a Visiting Professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol. His research spans international finance; cities and political life; non-representational theory; affective politics; and the history of time.
Chapter 1: Is That a ‘University’? I’m Not Sure
Part One: The Research University
Chapter 2: So What is a ‘University’? Part 1: Architecture and Academics
Chapter 3: So What is a ‘University’? Part 2: Students, Parents and Other Constituencies
Part Two: The Contemporary British University System
Chapter 4: A New Robbins? Recent Changes in the British University System
Chapter 5: The Hardy Perennials
Chapter 6: The Australianization of British Higher Education
Chapter 7: On Vice-Chancelloring – A Footnote
Part Three: The Research University of the Future
Chapter 8: So What is a Research University?
Chapter 9: Redesigning the Research University