Finger on the pulse

March 4, 2005

Our reporters are, of course, known fortheir ability to glide effortlessly around higher education soirees. But a few conversations at the party began very inaus-piciously. One journalist was heard introducing herself to Gary Day, principal lecturer in English at De Montfort University, and remarking that his name was familiar. Dr Day replied that it could be because he had been one of The Times Higher's columnists for the past two years.

Meanwhile, a reporter inquired of a senior academic how things were going at Birkbeck, University of London. "But I'm at University College London, what's Birkbeck got to do with me?" he replied. Hastily backtracking, the reporter asked him how work was going. "I'm recovering from a major operation." Ah - time to circulate.

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Universities in most nations are now obliged to prioritise graduate career prospects, but how it should be approached depends on your view of the meaning of education. Academics need to think that through much more clearly, says Tom Cutterham


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