Wednesday, 8 June 2011

If only it would happen in New Zealand

Over at Marginal Revolution Tyler Cowen blogs on The new British university model?
Well, it’s certainly star-studded. A new private university in London, devoted to the humanities, will have the philosopher and public intellectual A.C. Grayling as its “master.” Richard Dawkins will teach evolutionary biology, Niall Ferguson economic history, Steven Pinker psychology, and Ronald Dworkin the philosophy of law.
[...] Daniel Davies notes correctly that few if any of these illustrious names will be resigning their normal academic posts. That is the real innovation of this business model. Why not rent illustrious names rather than paying the whole set of fixed costs? Then hire excellent teachers — mostly not top researchers — to provide most of the actual instruction.
The Guardian reports,
A new private university in London staffed by some of the world's most famous academics is to offer degrees in the humanities, economics and law from 2012 at a cost of £18,000 a year, double the normal rate.

The Oxbridge-style university college aims to educate a new British elite with compulsory teaching in science literacy, critical thinking, ethics and professional skills on top of degree subjects taught in one-to-one tutorials.

Its first master will be the philosopher AC Grayling, and top teachers from Harvard, Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge will include Richard Dawkins teaching evolutionary biology and science literacy, Niall Ferguson teaching economics and economic history and Steven Pinker teaching philosophy and psychology.

New College of the Humanities, based in Bloomsbury, is being backed by private funding and will aim to make a profit. It will offer some scholarships, with assisted places being granted to one in five of the first 200 students.

Grayling said he was motivated in part by fears that government cuts to university humanities and arts courses could leave "the fabric of society poorer as a result".

"Society needs us to be thoughtful voters, good neighbours, loving parents and responsible citizens," he said. "If we are to discover and inspire the next generation of lawyers, journalists, financiers, politicians, civil servants, writers, artists and teachers, we need to educate to the highest standards and with imagination, breadth and depth."

The college aims to attract candidates with at least three A grades at A-level with the promise of more direct teaching than at traditional universities. The student-teacher ratio will be better than 10 to one and there will be 12 to 13 hours' contact with teachers each week.
As far as I know this will be only the second private university in the U.K. Starter for 10, name the other one.


Tribeless said...

Buckingham University

Paul Walker said...

Tribeless: 10 points. Your bonus question is, Name the economics professor at Buckingham who has a very nice book on the theory of the firm.

Tim Worstall said...

Big bonus points for me here then.

Grayling Hall won't actually be a university. It'll be teaching to the University of London degrees. Just as hundreds of schools in the UK and around the world do.

It's much more like a tutoring school than it is a university.

Does U Canterbury offer external degrees? By mail order or internet? Then it's exactly like someone being paid to aid a student gain one of those.

Buckingham does issue its own degrees.