Is Higher Education Broken? An online seminar with Professor Richard Watermeyer

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Last week Bristol Leadership & Change Centre was delighted to host an online seminar with Richard Watermeyer, Professor of Higher Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Higher Education Transformations at the University of Bristol. He is by training and orientation, a sociologist of higher education with expertise related especially to academic praxis; institutional and research governance; scientific accountability and engagement; and higher education policy reform.

In this presentation Richard Watermeyer (University of Bristol) presented empirical findings from research undertaken as part of the Digital Futures of Work programme. He discussed the challenges faced by universities in adapting to global digital transformation, accelerated by the pandemic, and as relates specifically to their role as producers of graduate talent. He reflected on ‘disruption’ to a global higher education marketplace associated with (i) limitations of universities’ digital capabilities and concerns of a widening mismatch of their educational offering with evolving skills needs and (ii) claims of the weakening of their contribution to social mobility. The role of EdTech organisations as intermediary entities and private online ‘affordable’ universities were discussed as ‘challengers’ to the status quo, and so too, alternative models of public higher education being pursued in European and North American settings that focus on experiential, entrepreneurial, customizable and flexible forms of learning. Richard also debated the leadership role of public universities in servicing the ‘public good’ at a time where their public worth is increasingly contested.

You can watch the full seminar recording here;

Connect with Richard on Twitter HERE

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