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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

A University Education: a podium discussion with The Rt Hon. the Lord David Willetts

9th February 2018, 09:30 to 10:30, Senate Suite, University College, Durham University, The Rt Hon. the Lord David Willetts


A University Education


The Rt Hon. the Lord David Willetts will be sharing his vision of the Future of the University and debating his views with Professor Peter Coveney (University College London) on Friday 9 February, 09.30-10.30 in the Senate Suite, University College (Durham Castle).

Capacity is limited to this discussion event, and places must be registered in advance here.

This is the second of two events hosted by the Institute of Advanced Study and University College. The Rt Hon. the Lord David Willetts will give a public lecture on Thursday 08 February 2018 at 8.00pm (see details) .

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 and promotor of university pluralism, notably in teaching quality and curriculum breadth, and an unrepentant advocate of the need for market-driven continuous change of the university in today’s global context, he remains to this day a figure of controversy. Yet he is also a fierce critic of unintended Brexit consequences and the Home Office immigration policy on foreign students, a strong apologist of 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).

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.