Question Time with two Vice Chancellors
We went to an open question time with the Vice Chancellors of Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford last night at the Said Business School. They are Professors Janet Beer and Andrew Hamilton respectively.
It was a very stimluating hour, not least due to the chair being the wonderful Jon Snow of Channel 4 News.
A range of issues were discussed, and we will delve into some in detail in our Summer Newsletter for our clients, but a few thoughts stand out on reflection:
– A long-term question for Oxford is how can the educational and commercial strengths be more effectively merged into a whole to market ‘Oxford’ and help the city “punch above its weight”? An interesting question, with the direct comparison of Cambridge given where the university and associated technology spin-out companies are seen to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.
– The feeling seemed to be that any decentralisation of planning policy from Westminster to the counties will hinder any attempts to move the brownfield boundaries of Oxford further south into green belt land.
– The economic value-add for each university – as measured by 3rd party consultants – has recently been put at £750 million for the University and £365 million for Brookes. These are striking figures and food for thought for anyone interested in reducing student numbers in Oxford.
– This is not news at all, but both Vice Chancellors said that a) they are having to deal with some very real funding cuts from Goverment, b) they agree with an increase in tuition fees [defined as a repayment mechanism which kicks in once you earn a certain threshold post-graduation] as the only way to make the ‘university’ model of education sustainable in the short- and long- term future.
– Finally, did you know that 61% of Brookes’ students are ‘mature’ and 30% live at home?
A big thank you to both universities for inviting us and for staging such an open and inclusive event.