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Seminar Series - Failing the Challenge of Institutional Evaluation: How and Why Managerialism Flourishes

Date: 1 May 2013 Time: 12.30 - 2.00 p.m.

Venue: B.89 County South

Professor Rob Cuthbert

Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Management

University of the West of England

Failing the Challenge of Institutional Evaluation: How and Why Managerialism Flourishes

Governments spending billions and individuals spending thousands of pounds on higher education (HE) rightly expect accountability for how the money is used. But pressure for accountability has accelerated the spread of managerialism, jeopardising rather than improving quality and posing dilemmas for managers trying to reconcile internal and external pressures. In the managerialist dialectic, unthinking resistance meets unthinking control, an unwinnable battle between the stereotypes of 'academic populism' and 'new managerialism'. Managers and staff could respond more effectively to the challenge of evaluation by thinking differently about managing, to find social practices embodying the values needed to transcend managerialist pressures. I willuse the case of league tables and draw on theory and practice (including my own experience as Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellor in a large 'mid-table' university) to sketch an alternative approach.

Rob Cuthbert is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Management at the University of the West of England with 20 years' senior management experience as Dean, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Acting Vice-Chancellor. He has worked in universities, further education colleges and government agencies worldwide as a manager, academic and consultant; his publications include six books and many reports, articles and papers on HE policy, management, teaching and learning. Rob was Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) in 2002-2003. An SRHE Fellow, he edits Higher Education Review ( and SRHE News (, is co-director of the consultancy partnership Practical Academics, and chairs the independent not-for-profit 'Improving Dispute Resolution Advisory Service' for higher education (


Who can attend: Anyone


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Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation, Educational Research


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