18 Comments
May 30, 2023Liked by Katy Barnett

I remember when the Dawkins Reforms came in and overnight faculty at the Standing Committee started talking about 'markets' not students. "This ain't gonna end well", thinks me. A lot of people don't understand that you can't pay for knowledge. A lot of people don't even get that's what you're there to get. Jus' gimme the embossed piece o' paper and a starting salary of hundreds of money!

Expand full comment
Apr 16, 2023Liked by Katy Barnett

1. Monetising everything through markets (and instrumentalising including through govts) is pernicious - unfair for those lacking wealth but also undermining essential values - https://scholar.harvard.edu/sandel/publications/what-money-cant-buy-moral-limits-markets

2. Looking forward to your sequel on similar problems re university ranking metrics!

Expand full comment

No, I don't think they should be treated as consumers. At least not in relation to most of what they are doing at university. Consumerism is destroying academia in my view.

Expand full comment
Apr 14, 2023Liked by Katy Barnett

So much to discuss here. I feel like I could spend hours writing comments despite (or perhaps because of) my very brief experience in teaching at a university. It is fascinating to think about what students are paying for and what they are getting. Is a student paying to learn or paying to get a degree? If a student paid more, should they get to learn more or be taught better or should it be more convenient to get the degree? Should universities provide assessment only for the conferral of a degree and leave it open for anyone to offer teaching (for a price) to pass that assessment? (Shudder but interesting to think about - obviously you would still expect universities to be leaders in such teaching but maybe there would be a market for different levels of teaching.) Who bears the cost where a student gets a degree despite learning little? Clearly not the University directly - otherwise there would be fewer hurdles when failing a student. Probably not the student necessarily either - we all know of people who are appointed to or remain in roles despite not being good at their job. (And also, let’s face it, getting good marks at university does not necessarily mean that you will be good at a particular job). But I suspect that ultimately the cost will borne by all of us (society as a whole) in some way. And one thing we are not good at is dealing with incentives to manage costs that affect everyone in some indeterminate way (see also climate change).

Expand full comment