The university protectionists

A week after the Group of Eight launched its higher education reform package, we start to get a backlash, as the anxieties of other universities appear in the media.

From University of Sunshine Coast VC Paul Thomas came a variation on that old favourite of protectionists, the infant industry argument, except his infant institutions would be approaching middle age before they could face competition:

younger universities needed to be given the same opportunity as their Go8 counterparts to build up over decades.

So a generation of students should miss out on choice in the (unlikely) hope that the University of Sunshine Coast can become like the University of Queensland. But why should USC be like UQ? It is one of the mysteries of Australian higher education that universities would rather open themselves to ridicule as implausible would-be research institutions than be good teaching and regional institutions.

From (somewhat surprisingly) Greg Craven of Curtin University comes the same preoccupation with university hierarchy: Continue reading “The university protectionists”