Regions of doubt

January 19, 1996

Roger King (Letters, THES, January 12) objects to my warning that the development of universities with a strong regional emphasis could lead to unhealthy rivalry for students. While I welcome the co-operation between his institution, the University of Humberside, and De Montfort University in Lincolnshire, I feel the warning - which did not solely relate to Lincolnshire - was justified. Potential tensions among institutions affected by other projects, such as the university for the Lake District, have already been indicated.

My concern was not just because of the competitive tone of prospectuses and promotional literature produced by De Montfort University and Humberside, both saying that they are providing the region with a university for the first time, but more generally that universities might put resources into competing with each other, rather than into their own teaching and research. Finally, the description of universities moving "down market" was not made by me, but Brian Robson, pro vice chancellor of the University of Manchester (Cities of Learning, CVCP 1995 p.39). The quotation marks were removed after I submitted the article.

Stephen Court Researcher Association of University Teachers

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