Sunday, June 05, 2011

Thoughts on the Dawkiniversity or 'Bloomsbury Polytechnic'

Ok, so I've had a mooch around their website now. I'm amazed that they've got this far into the set up without it being leaked - or am I just not in the right gossip loops?

My thoughts to date:

- By hooking up with the University of London they've managed to bypass the long and (necessarily) laborious degree awarding powers process. I want more info on how the governance and quality assurance of this 'collaborative provision' is going to work. I know UoL is a weird unique institution but how is this new relationship going to work?

- It looks, frankly, parasitic. Leading researchers who are current or emeritus professors at top universities and have had/still have all the benefits of plugging in to a full flavoured university, take all that experience and reputation and set up on their own, and charge fees only £3k less than Harvard.

- Related to the above, this is effectively a teaching only institution, undergraduate only in fact, so a polytechnic. How about we campaign for the name to be changed to Bloomsbury Polytechnic?

- With the government promising to fund up to £6k loans for students registered at private institutions this will mean students will have to find £12k just for tuition up front. This is equivalent or less than the top private secondary schools in the UK - they might find a market, but I'm still not sure exactly what type of students are going to want to go here when you could go to Standford for a top liberal arts education at a bargain £8k, rather than an untested quasi UoL degree.

- If they're planning on recruiting international students...they'll need to be accredited by QAA if they want highly-trusted sponsor status. Bagsy fly on wall for that Institutional Review.... {update} just been corrected by a friend, UoL will be the sponsor, so they've bypassed that set up issue too!

And I second @WilliamCB - who is financially behind this venture... answers on a postcard please.

P.S. Currently reading Arum and Roska's Academically Adrift so I'm all for us re-focusing on undergraduate education... but I don't think this is the way to do it.


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Pascal Venier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pascal Venier said...

You perhaps mean Stanford University. ;)

Jared.Marr13 said...

Pretty profound stuff. I would normally calling this "killing with kindness". Sometimes the way to kill a bear is to smother it with honey till it suffocates. Thus, the bear becomes satisfied and the desired outcome is still achieved.