* Five working groups named to lead inquiry * Privatisation on the agenda * Super league seems likely Five working groups are to spearhead Sir Ron Dearing's official inquiry into higher education, it was announced this week.
Sir Ron, chairman of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, said the groups will cover the economic role of higher education; teaching, quality and standards; information technology; research and use of staff and cost-effectiveness.
Details of two more groups dealing with funding of higher education and student support and the structure and governance of higher education will be announced in the autumn.
Sir Ron also confirmed the membership of a Scottish standing committee this week.
The terms of reference for the working party looking into the economic role of higher education include the economic case for further expansion of higher education, graduate demand and the role of higher education in regional and local economies.
The teaching, quality and standards group will consider issues such as personal development of students and changing employment needs. Specific areas to be probed include course content; teaching methods; modes of delivery of higher education; the range of qualifications offered in higher education and quality assurance.
The impact of new technology on teaching, learning, research and administration will be key issues for the information technology group to consider.
The research group will carry out a detailed analysis of the structure of the United Kingdom research base, covering the balance between basic, strategic and applied research; the relationship between teaching and research, and the implications of an increasing concentration of research funds.
The group looking at effective use of staff and other resources will consider the effective recruitment and deployment of staff, including terms of conditions of employment and career structures, as well as the effective use of resources such as equipment and libraries, organisation of the academic year and institutional collaboration.
* The Dearing committee will also be considering private universities as part of its wide-ranging deliberations on the future of higher education.
The issue, one of many to be considered, was brought into focus by chairman Sir Ron Dearing's visit to Japan last month to investigate its private university system.
ECONOMIC ROLE OF HE
Chair: Sir Geoffrey Holland Professor John Arbuthnott Profesor Mark Blaug Dr John Bridge Professor Martin Cave Sir Ron Dearing Judith Evans Dr David Potter Professor Adrian Webb Gill Wilson Secretary: Elizabeth Maddison
TEACHING, QUALITY, STANDARDS
Chair: Sir Ron Dearing Dr Madeleine Atkins Anne Bailey John Bolton Pamela Morris Sir Ron Oxburgh Sir George Quigley Dr John Rea Professor David Watson Professor Adrian Webb Simon Wright Secretary: Clare Matterson
Chair: Sir Richard Sykes Sir Ron Dearing Ewan Gillon Professor John Laver Dr Anthony Ledwith Professor Howard Newby Sir Ron Oxburgh Professor Sir David Weatherall Professor Adrian Webb Secretary: Clare Matterson
Chair: Prof John Arbuthnott Sophie Ansell Sir Ron Dearing Professor Diana Laurillard Sir Ron Oxburgh Dr David Potter Sir William Stubbs Secretary: Jane Denholm
USE OF STAFF AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS
Chair: Sir Ron Dearing Professor David Chiddick Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde Sir Geoffrey Holland David Holmes Professor Diana Laurillard Hon Mrs Sara Morrison Dr Robert Smith Simon Wright Michael Yuille Secretary: Eva Jagusiewicz Scottish Standing Committee Chair: Sir Ron Garrick Professor John Arbuthnott Professor Sir James Armour Sir Ron Dearing Zoe Heathcote Ann Kettle Janet Lowe John McClelland Finbarr Moynihan David Pigott Sir William Stewart Dr Joan Stringer Secretary: Jane Denholm