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Universities UK criticises Government proposals on university title

Universities UK Media Release, November 27, 2003:

Universities UK has issued its response to the Government’s consultation on Proposed New Criteria for Degree Awarding Powers and University Title. The response argues that Research Degree Awarding Powers should remain an essential criterion for University Title. It also takes issue with the Government’s assertion that there is no link between teaching and research in universities. 

The submission reiterates the sector’s position that teaching – both at and above the level of the Honours degree - can only be carried out successfully within a stable long-term research culture, requiring at least a threshold level of staff with 'hands-on' experience of research, whether fundamental, action- or practice-based. Universities UK also emphasises the need for adequate resources to support this research-based environment, particularly in light of the intention expressed in the White Paper to reduce or remove research funding from parts of the sector. 

In its response, Universities UK acknowledges that subject spread criteria are no longer a major issue and suggests that the size criterion could be relaxed for specialist institutions with a high proportion of postgraduate students. It agrees that collaborative systems with appropriate use of the University College title could assist all HE institutions to signal their status, provided that the University Title itself is reserved for those with research degree awarding powers.

Professor Ivor Crewe, President of Universities UK said: "We are clear that a stable long-term research culture, requiring at least a threshold level of staff with research experience, is fundamental to successful teaching at and above Honours degree level. We therefore believe that the Government is mistaken in its assertion that there is no link between teaching and research. Given the continued threat to the long-term support for research in parts of the sector, we believe there is no alternative to retaining the requirement for Research Degree Awarding Powers as an essential criterion for University Title. To remove this requirement could damage UK higher education and its international reputation."

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Last updated: 2 December 2003 10:15
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