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