Other Ways To Be a University

 Many would feel universities as currently constituted are overly centralised, hierarchic, unimaginative, opaque, conservative and bureaucratic - perhaps these are usual across the sector - and that this has in no small way contributed to the present situation and to the limited and predictable repertoire of responses to it.


Furthermore, there are systemic barriers between academics and management that are unbecoming in what should be a community of scholars, not an institution of the leaders and the led. These barriers marginalise the energy, commitment and ideas of most of that community when these are all most urgently needed


If the institution can countenance considerable losses of courses, colleagues and students, it can presumably countenance other ways to be a university 


Other such ways, characterised by ideals of cooperation and openness for example, already exist and could not only show positive, practical and idealistic ways out of the current appalling situation but also create a genuine, authentic and shared identity and role for the university in the place of the somewhat tired slogans imposed on it


As an expression of our faith in shared endeavour, critical thinking, creative imagination, free speech and intellectual rigour, we propose a webinar[1] open to all staff and students and local community that encourages the exposition and exploration of other ways to be a university.














[1] We are conscious that (i) there are other critiques of universities in the sense of their misalignment with postdigital, mobile and connected societies (ii) their role in servicing neo-liberal political agendas (iii) there are critiques from the advocates of ‘open’ including open learning. We recognise the potential validity of such critiques but want to maintain a clear focus on the organisation and managerial nature of universities, especially ours, whilst there is still time, before more of our most able lecturers and researcher go leave us.