The Future Role of the Educator in Higher Education

London, 3 June 2019, 5:15 pm

Panel discussion, jointly organised by
the Special Interest Group Higher Education of the Worshipful Company of Educators and
the Council for the Defence of the British Universities


A joint event, co-ordinated by the Council for the Defence of the British Universities and the Special Interest Group Higher Education of the Worshipful Company of Educators.

Different sectors of education place vastly diverging demands on the educators working within them. The question what constitutes an effective educator is complex, being deeply entwined with the goals and purposes of that sector.

In the tradition of the 19th century, the higher education sector is considered to be categorically different from the others; in Schleiermacher's emphatic words: "Verderblich, wenn die Universitäten nur fortgesetzte Schulen werden" ("It would be perverse if universities become the continuation of the schools"). According to this Humboldtian tradition, the goal and purpose of the higher education sector is the formation of minds able to do pure research; the consequences for the demand on the higher educator would be the inseparable unity of teaching and research.

In contrast to this, in the last decades, the boundaries between educational sectors became more fluid and permeable and the goals and purposes of university education have become more similar to those of other educational sectors. One important component of this change was the advent of information and pedagogic technologies that fundamentally change the way we deal with knowledge, knowledge transfer, and reflection about knowledge.

In our panel discussion The Future Role of the Educator in Higher Education, we will consider various possible goals and future purposes for Higher Education, their relation to other sectors of education, and their impact on the role of the educator and governance.

Venue & Schedule.

The panel discussion will take place on Monday 3 June 2019 in the Drama Studio of the UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL from 5:15pm to 8:00pm. The discussion will be chaired by Elaine Unterhalter.

The event is organised by Jon Hall and Benedikt Löwe.

17:15–18:00. Arrival and informal discussions.
18:00–19:00. Position statements of the four panelists.
19:00–20:00. Open discussion.


Professor James Crabbe

James Crabbe is Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Bedfordshire and a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society of Arts, the Linnean Society, and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. His research spans biomedical and environmental sciences and his links with industry and consultancies have resulted in many successful projects.
Alice Hynes

Alice Hynes has worked in educational governance and Higher Education policy at universities in Northampton, Bedfordshire, Liverpool, Dartington, Kingston, Roehampton and London. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Association of University Administrators.

Position statement. Exploring how retaining the history and opening the future of education empowers the learner to be the educator.
Position statement. In the future the Educator in Higher Education will be the student rather than the professor, as well as curators, facilitators, vloggers/bloggers, coaches and forms of artificial intelligence.
Professor Sir Peter Scott

Peter Scott was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in Education and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds and Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University. Currently, he is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Studies at University College London. He is a member of the Academia Europaea and the Academy of Social Sciences. His research interests are governance and management in higher education and the links between further and higher education.
Professor Alison Wolf, Baroness Wolf of Dulwich

Alison Wolf is Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King's College London and sits as a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords. She is highly involved in national and international educational policy debate, writes widely for the national press, and is the author of the 2011 Wolf review of vocational education. Her current work focuses on the interface between education institutions and labour markets and she maintains long-standing interests in assessment and in mathematics education.
Position statement. Educators in higher education will cease to be a profession with a high degree of personal autonomy and will instead become a managed workforce whose performance is measured according to standardised norms and imposed protocols.
Position statement. Internalised values and culture are the main reason why higher education professionals take education seriously; there is no guarantee that those values will survive in the future, and some strong arguments for concluding that they will not.
Last changed: 4 June 2019