Bailing out a boat

Universities used to be thought unsinkable, but the unthinkable – an institution going to the wall – is now a genuine, if yet remote, prospect

neon sign

Institutions are feeling under attack; they need to counter their critics by showing proudly and publicly the immense good work they do

Tool box

Universities claim to bestow on graduates the key to open the door to any job: critical thinking. But even if they do, are employers interested?

Measuring salary

Amid fresh criticism of executive remuneration, perhaps universities need to rethink the issue of vice-chancellors’ salaries

Woman looking into ear trumpet

As the row over fees reignites and mutates into a debate over the very purpose of universities, silence reigns on the issue of hyper-selectivity

Deckchairs in a park

Academics may see their work as a calling, which makes it hard for them to switch off. But vacations are essential for well-being – and a bit of fun

Older man waterskis

To remain carefully balanced ecosystems where experience and youth combine, should universities impose a sell-by date on academics?

Jeremy Corbyn flag at Glastonbury

Few in academia will have celebrated Brexit’s first anniversary but the unpredictable year since the vote has shown the power of a united voice

Bear reaching for golden stars

The TEF results will not halt universities’ unease about the exercise, the prospect of gaming the system or anxiety about long-term consequences

Protester in Theresa May mask

The wide appeal of Labour’s fees pledge means free higher education is back on the agenda, amid a shift in the political landscape

University of Oxford

And, if so, does it matter where they studied and what subject they specialised in?

Scene from horror movie

Terrible tales attest that some see this activity as a nuisance or worse, rather than as something that can benefit supervisor as much as student, says John Gill

Man standing next to cash machine

Labour’s pledge to axe fees suggests that ever-higher charges may not be inevitable, but tough choices between university priorities seem unavoidable

Horse race

Higher education might not be a central issue in the UK’s general election campaign, but it certainly has much riding on the outcome

Roulette table

As universities rely on multiple income streams to stay afloat, private money comes with caveats and portfolios must balance profit and principle

Men in suits

Women’s pay still lags behind men’s, and a lack of transparency around salaries makes it all the harder to address

Democrats and Republicans disagreeing

In an age of political civil war, the question of why the Right is so under-represented in academia is important

An image from Blade Runner

While some fear a dystopian outcome in which private innovators bypass the university, others are more sanguine about the potential threats to the sector

A man looking through a small window at many things

Data, and the increasingly sophisticated way it is martialled, has enabled remarkable improvements in graduation rates and quality of education

Youth on pedestal

Excellence in an institution is measured by the value of its research and the quality of its teaching, not by the height of the ivy on its walls