'Higher' unveils new look

January 4, 2008

Expanded news, feature, analysis, research and people coverage: Phil Baty outlines the key changes.

The Times Higher Education Supplement is changing.

In the most radical development in the publication's 36-year history, the paper will relaunch next week in a full-colour magazine format, with a new name - Times Higher Education - and a new website.

The word "supplement" has been dropped from the title to recognise the publication's status as the only stand-alone weekly news publication dedicated to higher education and its staff.

The series of changes represent a total investment of £2 million by the publication's parent company, TSL Education.

Gerard Kelly, editor, said: "The content will play to our traditional strengths - news, analysis and debate - but the format aims to make the title much more accessible and attractive."

The Times Higher was first published on October 15, 1971, with a cover price of 8p and a staff of just seven, including Peter Hennessy, now a professor of modern history at Queen Mary, University of London, and the commentator Christopher Hitchens.

The decision to shift to a magazine format brings with it an opportunity to improve design and page layout, and to allow for more comprehensive news coverage and in-depth analysis.

The revamped Times Higher Education will offer new features including a research section, an expanded section on the sector's people, enhanced book reviews, a news analysis section and expanded news from Laurie Taylor's fictional University of Poppleton.

A new website, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, will merge the old Times Higher jobs website with the editorial site, and will, for the first time, be entirely free. It will also provide distinct teaching, career and legal advice that will not appear in the publication.


Laurie Taylor, the broadcaster and sociologist, will continue his popular back-page column on life at the fictional University of Poppleton. The newly expanded section will feature additional Poppleton news.


Each week, the new research section will include a "research intelligence" feature giving notice of forthcoming funding opportunities. New listings will detail the latest grants awarded by the research councils. In addition, Thomson Scientific, whose citation data will underpin the research excellence framework, will provide a weekly feature highlighting the most cited journals and academics.


The magazine will feature an expanded section on the people who work in universities. More appointments, from junior to senior staff, promotions and staff achievements will be covered. A profile section will celebrate dynamism, diversity and creativity across the sector, from all levels and all institutions, and a weekly obituary will commemorate the lives of those in the academic community.


As well as about 12 weekly pages of in-depth higher education news, the revamped magazine will feature a "campus round-up" news section. This will ensure that campus and local community developments - new initiatives, new courses, new research centres, guest lectures - from across the UK receive the coverage they deserve.


Our books section will be expanded and improved, with a number of new features. Heading up the section will be a THE Book of the Week with author profile; a new "week in books" section will provide a digest of key reviews; and "published this week" listings will cover key new titles across the disciplines. University bookshops will detail their top sellers in a new slot.



The front page of The Times Higher in September reported the appointment of Lord Dahrendorf as the director of the London School of Economics, described as a "supreme prize" for the institution by its chair of governors, Lord Robbins.


In June, the paper reported on concerns from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry that the education ministry was failing to take seriously a manifesto pledge to switch more resources to engineering and technology degree courses.


The newspaper, known as The Higher , led its front page in June with a story about education minister Kenneth Clarke's attack on national pay bargaining in the polytechnic sector, saying that it was "bizarre" and "not suitable".


It is a story that will be familiar to readers today: the Conservative Government of the day was pushing universities to form much closer bonds with business in order to provide degree courses that were more closely aligned to employers' needs.


Next week, Times Higher Education will be launched in magazine format with an in-depth probe into target-driven schools' struggles to produce students equipped for degree-level study.

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