Publication Date: 23/11/2017 ISBN: 9780198767268 Category:

A University Education

David Willetts

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 23/11/2017 ISBN: 9780198767268 Category:




Universities have a crucial role in the modern world. In England entrance to universities is by nation-wide competition which means English universities have an exceptional influence on schools – a striking theme of the book. This important book first investigates the university as an institution and then tracks the individual on their journey to and through university. In A University Education, David Willetts presents a compelling case for the ongoing
importance of the university, both as one of the great institutions of modern society and as a transformational experience for the individual. The book also makes illuminating comparisons with higher education in other countries, especially the US and Germany.

Drawing on his experience as UK Minister for Universities and Science from 2010 to 2014, the author offers a powerful account of the value of higher education and the case for more expansion. He covers controversial issues in which he was involved from access for disadvantaged students to the introduction of GBP9,000 fees. The final section addresses some of the big questions for the future, such as the the relationship between universities and business, especially in promoting innovation..
He argues that the two great contemporary trends of globalisation and technological innovation will both change the university significantly.

This is an authoritative account of English universities setting them for the first time in their new legal and regulatory framework.

Publisher Review

His book charts the rise of the modern university and is filled with bold ideas. * Harry Yorke, The Sunday Telegraph * Powerful, interesting, and important. A very good read, and full of wisdom. * Sir Michael Barber * I don't think I have read anything better on British universities and their international competition. * Chris Patten, Chancellor, University of Oxford * This is an excellent book. * Nigel Thrift, Times Higher Education * Policy enthusiasts will find these descriptions, and meticulous analysis of research funding systems, invaluable. * Miranda Green, Financial Times * Willetts's consistently thoughtful approach to higher education has earned him the respect even of his political opponents. Academics and students out of sympathy with his reforms will need to read his book and engage with his arguments if they are to build a case to challenge them. * Stephen Curry, The Guardian * Blending serious scholarship with reflections on his time as a minister, it's a tour-de-force by a politician who starts with a confession: "I love universities". * James Wilsdon, The Guardian, Favourite reads of 2017 - as chosen by scientists * It mixes killer historical facts and sharp policiy analysis (including some criticisms of the coalition government) with bold predictions for the future. Most readers will learn something new on every page. * Nick Hillman, The Guardian * Magisterial study. * Barbara Kiser, Nature * Meticulously researched and incredibly detailed. * Andy Westwood, HEPI * It's an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to understand the modern university system, both here and abroad. * Roger Mosey, Reaction * A reader may wish for a more thorough investigation of potential solutions to these problems. But A University Education is nevertheless an admirably clear analysis of English higher education. To its credit, it is an inversion of most writing about English universities, which tends to be laudatory of the Oxbridge model and unduly sceptical of others. Lord Willetts's book is all the more interesting for it. * Economist * A masterly exploration of the modern higher education institution... Willetts has provided us with a text for our times. * Matthew D'Ancona, Evening Standard * Peppered with entertaining and enlightening asides and illustrations... a treasure-house. * Kevin Stannard, Conference and Common Room *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible