Why governments are right to expect more from universities

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield Professor Bob Cryan spoke to us exclusively about his hopes and strategies for Going Global 2014. The University is Times Higher Education University of the Year 2013-14, with over 22,000 students from more than 120 countries. Their Chancellor Sir Patrick Stewart will be speaking at the conference’s launch of the Times Higher Education rankings for the top 100 research-led universities under 50 years old.

Professor Cryan is looking forward to a repeat of the connectivity he’s experienced from Going Global:

"Connectivity can lead to concrete partnerships. Through initial conversations at Going Global, we have a partnership with Study Group, who run pre-university courses on site at Huddersfield. But generally it is about finding out what is going on…There are very few opportunities on the scale of Going Global."

Reflecting on this year's themes of inclusivity, innovation and impact, he comments on why universities are already implementing these – and why governments should expect higher education to deliver:

"[The themes] really do fit with what universities around the world are trying to do. We are all trying to be more inclusive and looking at how to develop the skills base. We are all looking at how universities can generate the economy and the important role they play in regeneration. The expectation of governments is increasing and quite rightly so. They are saying ‘we are paying universities a lot of money, what are we getting back?’ So this word “impact” is becoming more and more significant across the world."

Professor Cryan believes passionately in continuous educational improvement. He is chairing our session on 'Lifelong learning: an industry and higher education partnership?':

"It is a model I am interested in. Some parts of industry are ahead of universities and we need to learn from them and bring those ideas in to the university and vice versa."

He stressed the importance of lifelong learning to industry and the UK economy:

"In terms of the drop in mature and part time students in the UK, we are creating a time bomb for the future. It means we have a tranche of the workforce who are not going to be fully developed. It is UK Ltd shooting itself in the foot."

Read the full interview with Professor Cryan, including why inspiration is important at University of Huddersfield, how a time bomb being created by dropping numbers of mature and part time students – and why he’s in favour of a graduate tax.

This is one of a series of interviews with Going Global speakers conducted for the British Council by Media FHE, providers of the HE intelligence service HEi-know. Read all our Going Global interviews on the Going Global 2014 website.