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The Future of the University: public lecture and podium discussion

(1 February 2018)

Lord Willetts will be sharing his vision of the 'Future of the University' with Durham University members on Thursday, 8 February at 8pm in the Great Hall, University College. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis. He will also be debating his views with Professor Peter Coveney from University College London in the more intimate forum of the Senate Suite of the Castle between 9.30am and 10.30am on Friday, 9 February. Capacity is limited to this discussion event and places must be registered in advance here. Please contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk if you have any questions in relation to either event.

David Willetts, Baron Willetts of Havant, was Minister for Universities and Science in the Coalition Government 2010-2014, having previously served as an adviser in the Treasury and Margaret Thatcher’s policy unit. He famously presided over the introduction of £9000 student fees, the opening of the university market to alternative for-profit providers, and the removal of the enrolment cap. As an eloquent and scholarly Oxford-educated critic of Oxbridge privilege, promoter of university pluralism and an unrepentant advocate of the need for market-driven continuous change of the university in today’s global context, he remains a controversial figure to this day.

Yet he is also a fierce critic of unintended Brexit consequences and the Home Office immigration policy on foreign students. He is a strong apologist for the British universities’ tradition of international research excellence and a staunch defender of university autonomy who sees the university as a chief pillar of occidental and global advancement.

In the footsteps of Wilhelm von Humboldt, John Henry Newman – and David Lodge – David Willetts has just published his personal memoir and vision of the future, A University Education (OUP, 2017).