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An Oxbridge for those who can't get into Oxbridge

Article by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph:

... It is the brainchild of Prof A C Grayling, who certainly looks and writes like a philosopher (I seem to remember some good stuff on Russell and Wittgenstein), but who turns out to have a Bransonesque practical flair. Together with Richard Dawkins, Niall Ferguson, Sir Christopher Ricks and various other academic superstars, he is setting up a New College of the Humanities, based in Bloomsbury. They have found the premises, they will start taking applications from next month, and the first one-on-one Oxbridge-style tutorials will take place in autumn 2012. They will ultimately have 1,000 undergraduates, all of whom will be expected to achieve a minimum three As at A level to get in ...
 
Sounds interesting.

I was hoping though that somebody would set-up a science and mathematics equivalent of this - an English Institute of Technology or similar, in somewhere like Birmingham.
As much as I love the humanities, there seems to be a saturation of these courses in the UK (which I am sure is great if you are coming from another country to study Archaeology or similar), and a lacking of some serious technical institutes.
 
It's nothing like Oxbridge. I wonder how long this little project will last. Can't imagine that many academics will want to go to this place to do their research once Dawkins et. al. pass. Not to mention they have no ability to do any science what-so-ever. It seems like a university that does philosophy and nothing else.
 
The degree-awarding authority is to be the University of London. And though this college is private, it would appear the students can use the facilities of the U of London -- the libraries, clubs, and bars. On the one hand the government is putting the squeeze on humanities budgets, on the other there appears to be robust demand for such courses. Hence a private initiative from academic entrepreneurs like AC Grayling. I also don't know how long it will last. But then again, the University of Buckingham is alive and kicking after almost three decades of receiving its royal charter.
 
My question is slightly different from this topic; nevertheless, I could not stop myself from putting it forth.

Why do Google's, Microsoft's, or Intel's of the World not establish universities with their own money? These universities will never fall short of funding, and in return, these universities will churn out high caliber graduates for these companies. In a way, each party would be benefited with this set-up. I don't know about UK, but in US the tech companies always complain about shortage of skilled professionals and hence request for a raise in H1-B visa quota. Further, unemployment rate is stubbornly high in the US.
 
Ahh that makes sense if it is going to be part of UoL, like LSE.

This blog post sheds a bit of light:

Prospective students of the college are assured that they ‘won’t be just a number’ and that they’ll get weekly one-on-one tutorials. Students of the new college will apparently ‘use many of the resources of the University of London: the exceptional library in Senate House, the University of London Union with its many societies and sports activities’ - how is this even remotely allowed? If you’re going to set up a private college, at least have the decency to buy your own fucking resources. I suggest that current students at the University of London find a way of protesting in the strongest sense against the private use of their resources. And where will the college itself be based? Parasitic-like on the existing buildings of the UoL, paying top dollar for room rental, perhaps?

And some coverage in the Guardian:

Its first master will be the philosopher AC Grayling, and top teachers from Harvard, Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge will include Richard Dawkins teaching evolutionary biology and science literacy, Niall Ferguson teaching economics and economic history and Steven Pinker teaching philosophy and psychology.

New College of the Humanities, based in Bloomsbury, is being backed by private funding and will aim to make a profit. It will offer some scholarships, with assisted places being granted to one in five of the first 200 students.

Other teachers signed up include Sir David Cannadine, a history lecturer at Princeton; Ronald Dworkin QC, a leading constitutional lawyer teaching at University College London and New York University; and Steve Jones, a leading geneticist. Lawrence Krauss, professor of Earth and space exploration and physics at Arizona state university, who has advised Barack Obama on science policy, will teach cosmology and science literacy.

One of the backers is Charles Watson, chairman of the City PR firm Financial Dynamics. He said: "Higher education in the UK must evolve if it is to offer the best quality experience for students and safeguard our future economic and intellectual wealth. New College offers a different model – one that brings additional, private sector funding into higher education in the humanities when it is most needed, and combines scholarships and tuition fees."
 
Why do Google's, Microsoft's, or Intel's of the World not establish universities with their own money? These universities will never fall short of funding, and in return, these universities will churn out high caliber graduates for these companies. In a way, each party would be benefited with this set-up. I don't know about UK, but in US the tech companies always complain about shortage of skilled professionals and hence request for a raise in H1-B visa quota. Further, unemployment rate is stubbornly high in the US.

Unemployment rate is also high for "skilled professionals." The argument that there is a skills shortage is a specious one. Before the 2008 crash, the unemployment rate among American computer programmers over the age of 50 was 20%; it can only be worse now. The idea is to have a large pool of pliant, docile, low-wage skilled workers who are eager to grasp the chimera of the "American dream" that is portrayed to them. Hence the lies about the "skills shortage" so as to keep quotas in place, if not increase them. But for the sake of argument, assume there was a skills shortage. Private capital wants taxpayers and/or individuals to fund the cost of their training. It just wants to exploit (skilled) labor; not develop it at its own expense. That's how they make their money in the US; not by investing in human capital (that's for the PR brochures).
 
House, the University of London Union with its many societies and sports activities’ - how is this even remotely allowed? If you’re going to set up a private college, at least have the decency to buy your own fucking resources. I suggest that current students at the University of London find a way of protesting in the strongest sense against the private use of their resources. And where will the college itself be based? Parasitic-like on the existing buildings of the UoL, paying top dollar for room rental, perhaps?

I'm not entirely sure what the problem is here. UoL colleges set their own admission criteria already I believe ( I'm positive LSE does). They will also be setting their own tuition fees soon. Can somebody from LSE access all the resources at SAOS for example? I don't know but I would doubt it.
Why not protests against elitism on the part of LSE from the other member school students? I've certainly heard that leveled at them before.

All of the colleges that are members effectively have their own buildings, but must contribute in some manner to the cost of Senate house and similar? Also it looks like they have sourced their own buildings in Bloomsbury, so it seems they would be using the communal resources, that the other colleges have access too, not a big difference to the status quo?
The UoL international programmes, of which LSE, SAOS and similar are members, already are effectively private courses. They charge whatever fee the international programmes office see's fit. Those students get access to some of UoL facilities (but not all) and pay privatley for the courses.

I'll wait to read more about it, but it sounds like the blog author may be over-reacting a little.

I'm not really opposed to this move, but the post 92's def need more resources and need their standards pushed up (and I attended one of these). Many of them are crap and are contributing to the qualification inflation problem that exists currently.

Just to add to the above: 18K a year is bloody expensive though.
 
I'm not entirely sure what the problem is here. UoL colleges set their own admission criteria already I believe ( I'm positive LSE does). They will also be setting their own tuition fees soon. Can somebody from LSE access all the resources at SAOS for example? I don't know but I would doubt it.

I'm not sure either. But I don't think SOAS and LSE are profit-making entities. For sure they're not charging (and will not be charging) 18,000 quid a year. But yes, they are moving in the same general direction. This new college is but an egregious example of a general tendency.

All of the colleges that are members effectively have their own buildings, but must contribute in some manner to the cost of Senate house and similar? Also it looks like they have sourced their own buildings in Bloomsbury, so it seems they would be using the communal resources, that the other colleges have access too, not a big difference to the status quo?

Again not sure. Will the new college be paying for the use of communal resources? And if so, how much?

I'm not really opposed to this move, but the post 92's def need more resources and need their standards pushed up (and I attended one of these). Many of them are crap and are contributing to the qualification inflation problem that exists currently.

You mean the ex-polys. The names have changed from poly to uni but they haven't become any more prestigious. Also, the CNAA used to award the degrees before whereas they do it themselves now.

In (somewhat) related vein, some comments on a talk by David Willetts at Cambridge a few days ago:

On Thursday 3rd March, Tory Universities Minister, David Willetts came to give a talk on ‘The Coalition’s Vision for Science and Technology’ at Cambridge, one of the institutions he and his colleagues are busy vandalising. Here is a response from one of the people in attendance, poet and fellow Jeremy Prynne:

“Yes I went and I did try to listen to all of it. I am not accustomed to hearing politicians smarm up their audience, and so it was very painful and disgusting. Willetts has a fluent/glib performance style, anxious to flatter and butter his listeners, who to their credit seemed stolidly unimpressed. Much chat about rational analysis, fair choices, necessity for immediate and expedient decisions, no time for pausing or forward thinking, these reductions in cash outflow are fixed parameters (set in granite), and must be delivered in short order. That’s politics. But then, smile smile, we profile the likely consequences by analytic procedures based on empirical data, because we support scientific method (smirk smirk), of which Cambridge is such a shining example (try not to be sick). To claw back the rising cost of Higher Education through a graduate tax is not faute de mieux, it is intellectually defended as a deferred market which, because it shifts the burden forward, need frighten no-one, not even the poorest and most disadvantaged, isn’t that clever?
 
LSE now grants its own degrees, indepedent of the UoL. Also, LSE does charge 18k for its courses. Look at its MSc brochure.
 
LSE now grants its own degrees, indepedent of the UoL. Also, LSE does charge 18k for its courses. Look at its MSc brochure.

The table of fees is here. For the year 2011-12, the fee for home undergrad students is 3,375 per year. For the new college it's to be 18,000 per year for undergrads. Compare like with like.

The LSE fees will probably go up -- 6,ooo, 7,000, maybe even 10,000 a year. But no-one is talking of 18,000.
 
Well that's because there is a cap, and they haven't updated their fees. They're having the debate as we speak, and there is no doubt that the fees will increase to the fully allowed £9,000. LSE and others would charge more if they could. Oxbridge as been thinking about turning private for years, to allow them to do this.
 
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