University Alliance > Blog > A time to pause and reflect

A time to pause and reflect

Libby Hackett
Published on December 14, 2012

Delegates at a University Alliance event

A year ending is always a good opportunity to pause and reflect. For University Alliance 2012 has been our busiest and most active year yet, helping our universities to steer their way through a changing landscape and supporting their ambitions for the future. With new members joining us, our aim continues to be a constructive and positive voice within the sector to promote, safeguard and sustain the public benefit delivered by universities. We do this by developing solutions and new thinking; forging a partnership approach; and being an advocate for UK Higher Education more broadly, as well as Alliance universities specifically.

“Our aim continues to be a constructive and positive voice within the sector to promote, safeguard and sustain the public benefit delivered by universities.”

This collaborative approach has become a trademark of the way we generate ideas and develop policy in order to inform and improve public and political discourse about higher education. This approach has proved a huge success in our university_vision project, which has brought together a wide group of people and organisations to stimulate a sector-led debate about the future of universities. This project will continue into 2013 as we explore the issues and challenges facing universities and ask the big questions about how and where universities need to position themselves to deliver the knowledge, networks and communities our country needs.

Shabana Mahmood MP and Professor Janet Beer

A key priority for us in the past year has been highlighting the critical role of our universities as Anchor Institutions; driving economic growth and being at the heart of our communities. Our report, ‘The way we’ll work: labour market trends and preparing for the hourglass’, explores the issue of graduate shortages and the impact this could have on future growth and social mobility in the UK. While our ‘Problem Solved: university research answering today’s challenges’ brought together a new collection of case studies showcasing the strength and quality of the UK’s diverse research base and its role in responding to global challenges and strengthening our economy and society. Our work on the back of the Wilson Review demonstrated our ability to bring together a wide range of stakeholders and promote serious debate on these issues.

We have run our biggest and most successful events programme this year. Our interactive and solutions-focused events have helped us to engage with a wide audience and raise the profile of University Alliance and the public benefits delivered by our universities. Our varied range of events have included policy seminars, project launches and network meetings. Our events programme will remain a strength for us in 2013.

“We remain ambitious for the future of UK higher education and look forward to the exciting opportunities that await us in 2013.”

A key part of our political engagement is the three weeks of Party Conferences. We ran a series of fringe events on ‘the future of higher education’ and held a number of meetings with parliamentarians from all three main parties. Our fringe events were run in partnership with NUS, GuildHE, IPPR and Policy Exchange and each saw a high turnout and lively debate about the future of higher education. While 2012 has been a challenging year for the sector, we have much to celebrate and be proud of.

As Anchor Institutions, our universities continue to offer a life-changing experience for their students, solutions to the complex problems and remain a key pillar of our economy and society. We remain ambitious for the future of UK higher education and look forward to the exciting opportunities that await us in 2013. We invite you to get involved and work alongside us as we continue to champion the transformative effect that universities have on the UK and the wider world.

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