Thursday, 16 February 2012

Universities Role


And so to the Carpenters Hall for the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Rivers Lecture which this year was entitled "The Role of Universities in the 21st Century" delivered by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell President and Vice Chancellor of Manchester University, an establishment with which I have a lot of involvement at the moment.

But first to the reception where Brenda and I were warmly greeted by the Master Ian Richardson together with his Wardens, and then by Ros and Victor Chopin-John who acted as our hosts. This was particularly pleasant as they are old friends and Victor is the new Chief Usher at the Marketors.

As usual with such a presentation there were the facts. In this case that there were 165 universities in the UK with 2.5m students. Manchester alone has a turnover of £800m p.a. It was felt that they offered a rich transformative experience for the students and fostered cross discipline research opportunities. However it was recognised that there were changes occurring due to government legislation regarding foreign students and also fee levels.

This time I actually raised a question - in fact two. Firstly what will happen when the international student levels drop because of the development of education in their own countries; and secondly the increasing level of on line education enables students to pick and mix topics and study when and where it is convenient to them, while also being a part of a community - how will universities compete? I was advised that in both cases the British universities have this covered by creating an internationally attractive environment and increasingly employing technology.

And so to the delicious buffet supper where, amongst others, I met with the Secretaries Junior Warden Lis Bish, an accountant and also a marketer. We regaled each other with tales of working in aerospace all those years ago.

In all a really great evening with delightful company.

John Flynn
Master Marketor      

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