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

Japanese geishas on train

In a unique but under-pressure university system, there is still cause for optimism, as the new Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings show

Football subs

How do you solve a problem like REF selection? Research-active status may be defined by formal or informal means, but is there a realistic alternative?

Blacksmith hitting anvil

Tertiary education must be considered as a whole if governments are to prepare the workforce they need

Crawling under net

Theresa May’s new industrial strategy will support universities’ R&D, but more partnerships with business – while never entirely risk-free – are needed

Asian students

Since the Brexit vote, UK institutions have been losing friends and influence around the world. That will continue unless they win political support

French sign

Modern languages are struggling in an inward-looking nation. Revival may come by showing the young they are a route to a more connected world

A teacher turned to face the blackboard

Teaching is being looked at seriously by the government, but those providing still feel overlooked and underappreciated

Trump protester

Our age of unenlightenment demands that institutions share their intellectual and moral capital with the communities around them