News archive 2007
Boris Johnson speaks at King's22 Jan 2007, PR 06/07
Boris Johnson, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, addressed a national meeting for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities in the River Room at the Strand Campus on Friday (19 January).
Mr Johnson had been invited to give a talk at a General Meeting of the Council of University Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CUDASSH). Professor Ann Thompson, Head of the School of Humanities, is on the Executive of CUDASSH and hosted the meeting.
The Shadow Minister spoke about issues in developing Conservative higher education policy. He was robust in remarking that it was ‘economically illiterate' of politicians to denigrate degrees in film and media studies, given the UK's excellence in these fields and their importance to the economy – a theme he repeated the following day when he appeared on Radio 4's The Week in Westminster programme.
He also argued against ‘philistines' who dismissed the importance of research in areas such as medieval history.
However, he would not be drawn on the question of whether the Conservatives would remove the cap on student fees, but gave the impression that he, at least, was moving in that direction and was generally in favour of giving universities more autonomy.
The meeting was opened by King's College London Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, who welcomed around 40 delegates to the College, including Professor Barry Ife, former Head of the School of Humanities and former King's Acting Principal, now Principal of Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Dr Bill Brooks, Associate Dean (Education), University of Southampton, and Chair of CUDASSH, chaired the meeting.
The first speaker was Professor David Eastwood, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), whose topic was ‘Sustaining Excellence in Higher Education'. His summary of recent history and current developments in the higher education sector was upbeat and he claimed that universities had risen effectively to recent challenges.
The afternoon session of the meeting consisted of a round table discussion led by Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost of University College London and Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Panel, and Phil Sooben, Head of Corporate Strategy at the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), on ‘The use of metrics in research evaluation in our subject areas'.
Professor Thompson comments, ‘I was very pleased to bring CUDASSH to King's and that there was a good turnout of Deans and Heads of Schools from all over the UK despite some difficulties with transport systems after the previous day's gales. CUDASSH has grown in 20 years into an organisation that is regularly consulted by the AHRC, the ESRC, Hefce and the Government on issues relating to the future of higher education nationally and internationally, and delegates felt that this had been a stimulating day.'
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 5,600 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK's major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, international relations, medicine, nursing and the sciences, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to four Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £100 million, and has an annual turnover of more than £363 million.
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