Professor G. R. Evans, Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History and project leaders of Improving Dispute Resolution, a Leadership, Governance and Management Fund project funded by the Higher Education Council for England, has written widely on higher education policy matters. She is the author of ‘Calling Academia to Account’ (1998), ‘Universities and Students’ (jointly with Jaswinder Gill) (2001). ‘Academics and the Real World (2002), ‘Inside the University of Cambridge in the Modern World’ ( Mellen, 2004) and numerous articles in higher education journals. She is also a non-practising barrister with extensive experience of dispute resolution in higher education and co-founder of the Higher Education Mediation Service of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies.2009 0-7734-3786-X
Unique in its examination of the development of state regulation of higher education in the United Kingdom during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, with reference to the interplay of policy-strands and government initiatives involving the use of public funding to ‘drive change’, and the struggle to protect university autonomy and academic freedom. It analyzes the progress of the struggle between state control and academic institutional autonomy with its concomitant traditions of academic freedom. The reference work relies directly on the documents and discussions which have underpinned this process.2004 0-7734-6455-7
Higher education policy is a subject drawing together political and educational questions, and also more profound questions about the purpose of universities and their value to society. This study is offered at a time when these matters have become the subject of heated political debate and are, for the first time in history, of widespread popular concern.
Government policy has been driven in the last decade or so by a determination to ensure that the work of universities benefits society and costs as little public money as possible. At the same time, universities have been encouraged to seek funding from industry and business. All this has gone forward with little thought about the consequences, though there have been some well-publicized episodes questioning the reliability of research funded by a business which thought it was buying the results it wanted. Government pressure has also sought to force universities to alter their management structures so that they behave more like businesses, interfering in their organization of their own affairs, while calling for a lighter regulatory burden.
Among the universities which have been most affected is Cambridge. This is a study which takes stock of the debate, giving an insider’s account of the recent history of the University of Cambridge within this wider context. It seeks to make a contribution to both the history of the University, which is told here with considerable frankness, and to the process of analysis which is now needed if Government policy is to be evaluated and adjusted, so as to protect the lasting contribution of universities to society.