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Modern universities "one of UK’s most precious assets," VC tells MillionPlus AGM

In his speech at the Annual Meeting of MillionPlus yesterday, Professor Dave Phoenix called modern universities one of the UK’s “most precious assets”
13 May 2016

Professor David Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University (LSBU) and Chair of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, told an audience of Vice-Chancellors and sector leaders from across the country that the “litmus test” for UK governments must be winning the trust of students and university leaders.

He stated that “watering down university title” will “undoubtedly damage” the UK’s reputation and must be “subject to the widest possible public and parliamentary debate”.

Prof. Phoenix said: “Modern universities and their graduates are one of the most precious assets of the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. These universities deliver research with impact, societal change, social mobility and engage in highly successful global partnerships throughout the world.

“All Ministers, including in the administrations recently elected in Scotland and Wales, need to win the trust of both students and university leaders. Respect for institutional autonomy and the right of all potential students, whatever their age or background, to study full or part-time at universities which are well-funded to deliver research and high quality, relevant higher education, will be the litmus tests for governments wherever they are located.

“Any proposals to water down university title in England by diluting standards or undermining the expectation that universities are research-active and operate for the public good will undoubtedly damage the UK’s international reputation overseas and must be subject to the widest possible public and parliamentary debate.” 

The MillionPlus Annual Meeting also included sessions on the UK Government’s HE reforms and the research landscape across the UK. Guest speakers included: Ms Angela Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for BIS; Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit; and David Sweeney, Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange at Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).