Reclaiming Generalism

Ask yourself this: would you prefer your prime minister to have studied one thing at university or to have had a more rounded higher education? I put this question recently to a group of 60 school and college students who came to UCL. They had come to see what the Arts and Sciences degree was about. Many of...

Breadth vs Depth in university education

Health Warning: I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep separate my personal views about education, as expressed on this blog, and the work I am doing on Arts and Sciences BASc. I guess this is inevitable and may be no bad thing. It is worth saying, though, that by no means all that I write or say...

The Khan Academy and undergraduate education

I’ve been struck today by this story on the BBC pages, which pulls together things I have been writing on the blog since I started and which has interesting implications for undergraduate education. The Khan Academy is superb. It is close to covering universally the entire syllabi of the world’s...

Experts, PhDs, research, employment – and musicians

There is anxiety that the UK is not producing enough PhD level researchers, particularly in science and engineering. The view of some commentators such as Brian Cox is that this puts our economy and national well-being at risk. There is no doubt that we need experts. And there is no doubt we need cutting...

Interdisciplinarity, future work and the learning of ‘languages’

Currently my work has me thinking about future employment, the world of work and the role of universities in preparing students for this aspect of their lives. For this blog entry, I want to put aside the issue of whether there is a conflict within universities between scholarship and preparing people for...