Events
  • Follow UCL on social media

    UCL Twitter feed YouTube channel UCL Facebook page UCL SoundCloud UCL SoundCloud
  • A A A

    Education Select Committee Brexit hearing session at UCL

    By Melissa Bradshaw, on 9 February 2017

    On 25 January, the Education Select Committee held the second Oral Evidence Session of its inquiry on the effect of Brexit on higher education (HE) at UCL.

    The committee heard evidence from UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur, NUS Vice-President (Higher Education) Sorana Vieru and representatives of University and College Union, Erasmus Student Network UK, Universities UK, the British Council and London Economics.

    There was a strong consensus on the potentially damaging effects of Brexit on HE, and an urgent call for the government to do more to address them.

    Professor Michael Arthur

    Professor Michael Arthur

    The hearing took place just over a week after Theresa May’s historic speech on the UK’s strategy for exiting the European Union, and evidence was heard in two panels.

    The Chair of the Education Committee, Neil Carmichael MP, began each session by asking the panellists for their reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.

    Every one of the panellists welcomed the tone of the speech and its emphasis on a “global Britain”, but called for immediate action and more specific detail – particularly in regard to the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK.

    Referring to the Prime Minister’s expressed wish to guarantee the rights of EU citizens, Professor Arthur said: “I’d like to challenge the Prime Minister to go one step further and take the initiative to make the guarantee and challenge the rest of the EU to follow”, arguing that this would give Britain the moral high-ground and provide the negotiations a foundation of good will.

    The committee heard evidence of the significant contribution of the higher education sector to the British economy, including the contributions EU staff and students make to the wider economy when they are residing here.

    Dr Gavan Conlon (London Economics) also argued that, with education the UK’s fifth largest services export, the HE sector can generate revenue that could contribute to the government’s Industrial Strategy.

    The panellists spoke of the positive contributions that EU staff and students make in terms of diversity and ‘soft power’, contributing to Britain’s prestigious academic profile and giving their British peers invaluable experience in international engagement, leadership and collective problem solving. “For a global Britain we need global graduates”, said Rosie Birchard (Erasmus Student Network UK).

    The committee also heard evidence that currently UK HE “punches well above its weight” globally – thanks, in part, to our membership of the EU. Jo Beall (British Council) pointed to statistics showing that the UK leads the world in research quality (by field-weighted citation impact) and 1 in 10 world leaders were educated here.

    (more…)

    Why isn’t my professor black?

    By Guest Blogger, on 21 March 2014

    Members of the event panel

    Members of the event panel
    Photo: Rachna Kayastha

    pencil-iconWritten By Jamilah Jahi (UCL Medical Student)

    After three years of studying at UCL, I can count the number of black lecturers who have taught me on one hand: zero.

    Perhaps this is not alarming, after all, black people are a minority ethnic group in the UK. Surely we should expect low numbers amongst our teaching staff too. Is it, therefore, acceptable that only 0.4% of professors in the UK are black? At least six black academics disagree.

    On 10 March 2014, UCL hosted the live panel discussion, ‘Why isn’t my Professor Black?’ It was clear that many were longing for an answer to this “interesting but depressing” question. Due to popular demand, the event had to be relocated to the Cruciform lecture theatre, which holds just under 350 people.

    Professor Michael Arthur, UCL’s President & Provost, chaired the event. Sitting on the panel were black academics from across the UK, including UCL’s Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, who organised the event.

    (more…)

    John Bull vs. Stinkomalee: the early days of UCL

    By Ruth Howells, on 20 February 2012

    In 1825, a group of men that included Whigs, reformers and lawyers came together to found a university in London aimed at those excluded from the two established English universities Oxford and Cambridge – where teachers and students were required to be subscribing Anglicans.

    To mark the anniversary of UCL’s foundation on 11 Feb 1826 – when it went by its original name the University of London – this lunch hour lecture by Professor Rosemary Ashton (UCL English Language & Literature) looked at the opposition to the new university among Tory politicians and journalists, especially in the ultra-Tory newspaper John Bull.

    The new university was designed to have “all the leading advantages of the two great universities” and “no barrier to the education of any sect”. The intention was to exclude theological teaching from the curriculum and have no form of religious test for entrance.

    The media ‘against’

    John Bull took against the idea with vitriol and had a longstanding campaign to ridicule those behind it. Sweeping, exaggerated warnings of threat to church and state were driven by a fear of working-class revolution in the vein of the French model.

    (more…)