Monday 4 December (online)

Higher education research and educational policy and practice often have different objectives. This is perhaps inevitable as a reflection of institutional autonomy and academic freedom,  but it does also mean that the research ends up having little or no impact on policy development. Nicola will draw on her experience of working at both national policy level and within the higher education sector, to consider where the division is inevitable and necessary, and where it is unhelpful, and for the latter what we could or should do about it.

Dame Nicola Dandridge is professor of practice in higher education policy at the University of Bristol, researching issues relating to the experience of students, regulation and governance.

Previously she was chief executive of the Office for Students, the regulator for higher education in England. Before that she led Universities UK, the representative body for the UK’s universities, and first joined the higher education sector in 2006 as chief executive of the Equality Challenge Unit, established to promote equality and diversity for staff and students in the higher education sector.

Nicola originally qualified as a solicitor in both England and Scotland, specialising in industrial relations and equality law.

She is deputy chair of the Council for At Risk Academics, and a member of the boards of the University of Glasgow and of Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance.

Presentation Recordings

Presenter View Recording
Hanne Adriansen Geographies of pedagogies in internationalised higher education
Joyce Aguiar Unveiling the path to internationalisation: an evaluation of strategies and understandings in Portuguese higher education
Sarah Aiston Trajectories of merit: Re-viewing leadership in elite universities
Said Al Furqani The Representation of Internationalizing HE in the Omani Policy Documents
Ana Maria Albuquerque Moreira Factors Related To The Permanence Of Students In Evening Degree Courses At The University Of Brasília – Brazil, 2015 -2019
Britt-Marie Apelgren The reconstruction of Swedish doctoral education over the past 50 years
Panagiota Axelithioti What does it mean to belong in the physical sciences?
Annette Bamberger Internationalisation of research and the shifting geopolitics of higher education in the European Union
Maria-Ligia Barbosa Politics, Policies, and the crusade against science: higher education research and evaluation under a denialist government in Brazil
Jo Basford Digital Educators: Figuring an identity in the world of Higher Education
Jessica Benson-Egglenton Context Matters: How Human and Material Forces Shape Approaches to Targeting in WP
Rosalyn Black Imagined academic futures: connections and complexities in the move to online teaching
Alexander Bradley What does simulations of the Office for Students b3 regulations tell us about how fair and effectively it can identify areas below specified thresholds.
Jennifer Branch-Mueller Understanding how Doctoral Students Prepare for Faculty Positions in Higher Education: Building Connection, Gaining Insight and Understanding Complexities
Gayle Brewer Disabled Student Experiences in Higher Education
Rachel Brooks European Spatial Imaginaries or Geopolitics? Higher Education Actors’ Responses to the Ukraine-Russia Conflict
Nelson Cainghog Programmatic policy from a clientelist setting: The case of the passage of the free public higher education law in the Philippines
Jiexiu Chen Precarity and privilege: exploring international early career researchers’ experiences in Chinese universities
Tim Clark More than a checkpoint? Exploring the pedagogical role of doctoral progression assessment
Fiona Cownie Purposeful and unintentional greenwashing in Higher Education.
Ceryn Evans Beyond resilience: Exploring transitions to and through higher education of care experienced students and graduates.
Michael Gallagher Refugee inclusion in higher education: the nexus of barriers and the digital
Seyedeh Golafrooz-Ramezani University Rankings in Nordic Higher Education: A Scoping Review
Karen Gravett Belonging, agency and purpose in the digital university
Susan Harris-Huemmert Leadership style and intra-university knowledge transfer in German higher education: making complementary use of administrative and disciplinary expertise in organizational development
Brendan Harrison Examining the Impact of Distance Learning in the Context of International Mobility
Rui He Developing a global translation of Widening Participation to support international HE students
Riikka Hofmann Conceptualising and assessing non-technical skills in simulation-based medical education and training: an integrative scoping review
Helen Hooper Enhancing University mentoring practice through Activity Theory analysis of the lived experiences of Learning and Teaching mentors.
Sam Illingworth Learned Words: A Poetic Content Analysis of ‘Belonging’ in Higher Education
Gonzague Isirabahenda We deserved fair treatment! A pathetic career transition within an outsourcing company
Sazana Jayadeva No Country for Young Engineers: student migration from India to Germany as a second chance at success
Miaomiao Jia A qualitative study employing Bourdieu’s concepts: how Chinese graduates perceive the UK Masters programme
Carol Johnson (Re)Discovering the research on online music assessment: A systematic review
Anna Korchak Quality assurance parameters evolution in online environment
Andrea Laczik Degree Apprenticeships in England: What can we learn from the experiences of apprentices, employers and HE providers?
Karen Lander Supporting students with resits and interruption: Challenges for student engagement
Andrea Lane Meeting Sustainable Development Goal 4 – A Case Study Of the Innovation Processes of Challenger Universities in Africa
Fabien Littel Moving from responsibility learning inaction to ‘responsibility learning-in-action’: A student-educator collective writing on the ‘unnoticed’ in the hidden curriculum at business schools
Mariam Makramalla Transferring a Mathematical Problem-Solving Experience across contextual borders: A case study of an international educational transfer collaboration between Egypt and the UK
Lilia Mantai Skills and employability: Convergence of doctoral experiences in the global transformation of doctoral education
Fran Martin Privileged mobilities? The complexities of class in Chinese women’s international education projects
Georgiana Mihut International student fee-reliant higher education systems: A literature and policy review of the British case
Rafael Miranda Molina Levelling as a remedial education dispositif to govern the entry of non-traditional students within the inclusive Latin American University
Liz Moores How you teach and who you teach both matter: lessons from learning analytics data
Victoria Mountford-Brown Feeling like a rabbit in headlights – Experiencing and dealing with imposter phenomenon in Higher Education
Rowena Murray Understanding Wellbeing: The Affective Response of Writing Retreats in Academics and Postgraduate Students
Fran Myers Imaging the pandemic: Higher Education tutors’ narratives and photographs of precarious online living and learning
Yusuf Olaniyan Higher Education Is A Scam: A Critical Media Analysis of Value Construction for Higher Education In Nigeria
Maren Omland Different but equal? Examining notions of difference and equality in the student-staff partnership literature
Sarah Percy Coaching – The Missing Link in Authentic Assessments for International Students?
Marc Perkins Reflecting on educational leadership during COVID-19: Experiences of Finnish higher education leaders and lessons for future crises and emergencies
Jane Pilcher ‘It has such a huge impact on a person’s identity and sense of belonging’: Saying Students’ Names Right – Practices and Policies in Higher Education in England
Jodie Pinnell Professional Digital ePortfolios: Perceptions on Employability, Reflective Practice and Professional Identity for UK Undergraduate Childhood Studies Students
Susana Pinto “Maybe in Portugal this is the correct way to ask the question, but in Angola you cannot do it like that”: International doctoral students’ perspectives on the qualities of supervisors
Tamer Said Examining the Impact of Online Teaching and Learning on Medical Trainers and Trainees in the East of England Deanery
Tracy Scurry A provocation to precarity: Reimagining the role of doctoral supervision in challenging precarity in academic careers
Sam Shields ‘“It’s not easy”: Amplifying voices of ‘Global South’ international students in the UK
Patrick Shorb The Successes and Challenges of Implementing Assessment Plans in Japanese Higher Education: Using Student Learning Data within a New Quality Management Framework
Donna Smith Mental Health Problems in First Generation Students at UK Universities: A Comparison with Continuing Generation Students
Tom Staunton Platforming Employability: Exploring the experiences of graduates using social media for their post-university career transitions
Josi Tabosa Exploring the Multidimensionality of Student Experience in Australian Higher Education: A Comparison between Domestic and International Students
Grace Thompson Balancing challenge with care: Students’ perceptions of classroom-based experiential learning in vocational postgraduate degrees
Natalia Timus Inclusive Global Educators for the 21st Century: from challenges to advantages
Oduai Tozan Peeling the Multiple Layers of Inequalities in Higher Education: The Case of Syria
Anastasiya Umarova How do past feedback experiences influence the use of feedback in postgraduate coursework students
Sarah Walker More than food and fun: a systematic review of higher education orientation programs
Richard Waller Critical Perspectives on Educational Policies and Professional Identities: Showcasing lessons from doctoral studies
Richard Waller Working class women on Access to HE courses two decades apart – A comparative analysis of risk, opportunity and (re)constructing identities across a 20 year period.
Louise Webber ‘I would probably still be sort of floundering a little bit now if I didn’t have the Foundation year and the skills that it afforded us.’
Bronwyn Wood Academic resistance in higher education institutions during times of precarity
Wei Zhang Evaluating the Impact of the Teaching Campus Programme on Education Subject Students and Hosting Schools in an Indonesian Teacher Training and Education Institute

Wednesday 6 December (in person)

Chair: Professor Peter Scott, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Studies, UCL

Contributors: Professor Huw Morris, University College London; Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Technological University Dublin; Professor Chris Millward, University of Birmingham; and Professor Andy Westwood, University of Manchester

Higher education co-ordination is often characterised as a relationship between universities, the market and the state.  In the United Kingdom, the role of the state is significantly influenced by devolution, which enables national governments and agencies in Scotland and Wales to diverge from policy in England.

In England, the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act has separated government oversight of higher education between its interests in education, which is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS) and seeks to establish baseline conditions for student choice and competition, and research, which is funded strategically by Research England within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). There are separate accountability arrangements for further education, adult learning and apprenticeships across England.

In Scotland and Wales, the agencies overseeing higher education have retained oversight of both education and research; indeed policy is increasingly oriented towards tertiary systems, which bring universities together with vocational and technical education.  These developments aim to balance individual and institutional interests – which are embodied in choice and competition and often lead to vertical stratification favouring the most research-intensive universities – by promoting collaboration and horizontal coherence across all types of universities and colleges to address public priorities. Other countries with comparable populations, such as New Zealand and Norway, have also implemented or are exploring unified tertiary oversight arrangements, and there are discussions about similar arrangements in Ireland and Australia.

There is now a movement in England to devolve powers and funding to local areas, with the aim of empowering local leaders to align a greater proportion of decision-making and investment with local priorities. Greater devolution is supported by both the current Conservative government and by the Labour opposition, so it is likely to continue until at least the end of the decade. As devolution grows, it raises questions about the relationship between national and local priorities for further and higher education, including the balance between competition and collaboration.

This plenary will consider theoretical frameworks for understanding tertiary system models, how they relate to evidence on practice at different levels of geography and governance, and the potential lessons from this for future governments in England and beyond.

  • Huw Morris will compare theories for understanding models of tertiary education with practice across the UK nations
  • Ellen Hazelkorn will review major trends impacting on post-secondary education, including the policy shift towards tertiary eco-systems, and putting forth propositions on governance, design, delivery and funding
  • Chris Millward will explore the changing landscape for tertiary education in England and the different approaches that may be adopted by current and future governments
  • Andy Westwood will explore existing funding and regulation issues for FE and HE – and why policymakers might prioritise tertiary reform in England?



Clark, Burton R. (1983), The higher education system: Academic organisation in cross-national perspective.

HM Government. (2022), Levelling Up the United Kingdom.

McCann, P., & Ortega-Argilés, R. (2021). The UK ‘geography of discontent’: Narratives, Brexit and inter-regional ‘levelling up’. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 14(3), 545–564.

Shattock, M., & Horvath, A. (2020). The decentralisation of the governance of UK higher education: The effects of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and on England. Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 4(2), 164–178.

Huw Morris is on secondment from the Welsh Government to the University College London (IOE – Faculty of Education and Society) as an Honorary Professor of Tertiary Education. Prior to taking on this role, he was Director of Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning in the Welsh Government for nine years after twenty-five years as an academic in a variety of roles from research assistant to Deputy Vice Chancellor in universities in London, the home counties, Bristol, Manchester and Salford.

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn is Joint Managing Partner, BH Associates education consultants. She is Professor emeritus, Technological University Dublin (Ireland), and Joint Editor, Policy Reviews in Higher Education. She is, inter alia, a member of the Coordinating Council for Higher Education of Portugal, EU Higher Education for Smart Specialisation Advisory Group and Centre for Global Higher Education Advisory Board/Research Management Committee. Ellen was a member of the Commission for the College of the Future (UK) and the Quality Board for Icelandic Higher Education. She reviewed Post-Compulsory Education in Wales recommending the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER), now being established by the Welsh Government. She is the UNESCO Lead/Coordinator, CFITT project to develop higher technical education in six African countries.  Ellen is currently undertaking a review of the Irish Further Education and Training Strategy, and advising the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Ireland) with respect to Progressing a Unified Tertiary System for Learning, Skills and Knowledge

Chris Millward is Professor of Practice in Education Policy at the University of Birmingham.  He was England’s Director for Fair Access and Participation from 2018-21, held senior roles at the Higher Education Funding Council for England from 2006-2017 and was Head of Research Programmes at the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2002-2006.

Andy Westwood is Professor of Government Practice at the University of Manchester. An expert adviser to the EU, Andy has worked regularly for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as a specialist adviser to the Select Committees on Economic Affairs and Digital Skills in the House of Lords. He writes regularly for Wonkhe, the Times Education Supplement, the Times Higher Education magazine and The Guardian. He was a special adviser to education and science ministers in the last Labour government and also worked as an advisor at the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Peter Scott is Professor of Higher Education Studies at University College London (IOE – Faculty of Education and Society). He was Scotland’s first Commissioner for Fair Access (2016-22), Chair of the Council at the University of Gloucestershire (2011-15) and Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University (1998-2010). He was also a member of the board of the (former) Higher Education Funding Council from 2000 to 2016.