It is co-authored with Ed Byrne, the Principal of Kings College London, and it argues that, more than ever, we need our universities to be engines of change and social justice. Universities can play a major role in making this complex and changing world a better place, helping economies and societies to adapt and respond to the grand challenges we face from tackling climate change to harnessing artificial intelligence.
This is their mission and their challenge. If universities are to remain true to their higher purpose they must also find a higher gear. The book shows how transforming universities can change the world.
The book can be purchased here:-
Below is the summary from the publishers, Pearsons:-
Byrne & Clarke – The University Challenge
Changing Universities in a Changing World
More than ever, we need our universities to be engines of change.
Universities can play a major role in making this complex and changing world a better place, helping economies and societies to adapt and respond to the grand challenges we face, from tackling climate change to harnessing artificial intelligence. This is their mission and their challenge. If universities are to remain true to their higher purpose, they must also find a higher gear. Ed Byrne and Charles Clarke show how transforming universities can change the world.
“This is a call to arms. Ed Byrne and Charles Clarke demand universities understand themselves and their potential influence for good. In difficult times, higher education can help society manage change, grasp alternatives, develop skills and promote knowledge. Should they fail…”
Professor Glyn Davis AC, Chief Executive Officer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
“Finally we are seeing some light and heat around the frozen notion of the universities as static creatures not responsible for the outcomes of our society or our planet. This is a must read for anyone thinking about universities and their responsibilities for the future.”
Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University
“A blueprint for how universities and governments can help to resolve the problems of our age.”
The Right Honourable Alan Johnson, UK Minister for Universities, 2003-4 and Secretary of State for Education and Skills, 2006-7
'This is an important and timely book which addresses the role and challenges faced by universities across the globe.'
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Manchester
We need our universities to be engines of change. As the planet, and all of us on it, face huge challenges in the decades ahead, all of humanity’s creative and innovative capacities need to be aligned and applied as never before.
Universities can play a major role in making this changing world a better place, bringing vital contributions to helping economies and societies adapt and prosper.
Our universities develop our understanding of the world and equip us to take on its grandest challenges. From the forces of climate change and artificial intelligence, through the pursuit of health and the eradication of poverty, to the changing worlds of culture and work, our universities can lead from the front.
At the heart of Ed Byrne and Charles Clarke’s wide-ranging look at the essential principles and innovative practice of higher education is the clear conviction that high-quality universities are the best way to help our world deal with the enormous challenges of accelerating change, and the simple message that universities should determine their destiny and contribution by committing in practice to these ambitions, facing up to the reform that this would mean.
This is their challenge. If universities are to remain true to their higher purpose, they must find a higher gear, not only doing things differently but doing different things.
Ten Questions for Universities
Will the research-led University, which has been the key model for a century and a half, persist into the future or has it had its day?
Will the multi-faculty university survive?
How many universities will there be? and what size?
Will the proportion of international students increase or decrease?
How many students will be studying courses in different modes?
Will technology take over and eliminate current approaches to teaching? With increasing e-education what will happen to the current geographic institutions with large campuses?
What will happen to the quality of university degrees and ‘grade inflation’?
Will freedom of speech be maintained in universities?
Will academia continue to be an attractive and sustainable career?
How much will thriving economies devote to the university sector in GDP terms?
Notes for coverage and conference opportunities
Our central argument and theme is that Universities play a valuable role as engines of progress - enabling learners, economies and societies to adapt to change and respond to challenges - but universities themselves need to change if they are to perform that role effectively and secure their place in the world. The book offers the perspectives and prompts that will help higher education fulfil this higher purpose.
Our analysis begins with the context within which modern universities have become what they now are. We then explore the way in which university research develops understanding of our world and the ways in which change is taking place; we cover the modern relationship between universities and work particularly as Artificial Intelligence extends its reach; the need for universities to serve the whole community, and not simply a relatively small subset, mainly of a particular age and class. Oxbridge and Ivy League institutions have made and continue to make superb contributions to humanity but they also, perhaps inevitably, perpetuate an elitist mindset and educate a small number of students. Here we look broadly at what universities can and must do – helping to form future generations and equip them to meet the challenges they face; the role that universities need to play in promoting global interrelationships and how universities should be funded and governed so that they can operate in a truly sustainable way.
Universities have four vital essential contributions to make in helping the world deal with accelerating change and address the challenges that change creates. They are the pillars of university impact in the modern world:-
Understanding the change
Harnessing change for good
Educating for change
Creating an intellectually engaging climate for change
Ed Byrne is an Academic Neurologist who has worked in Australia and the UK. His research contributions are in the fields of mitochondrial disease and neuromuscular disorders.
He was Professor of Neurology and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne, and then had a number of leadership positions in health and in the university world including Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Vice-Provost for Health at UCL and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University. He is now the President and Principal at King’s College London.
Ed is currently the Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and has long standing interests in working to improve the contribution that the university sector can make to society at large.
Charles Clarke studied at King’s College, Cambridge. He was President of the National Union of Students from 1975 to 1977 and advisor to Neil Kinnock, Education spokesman and then Leader of the Labour Opposition.
He was MP for Norwich from 1997 to 2010 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Skills. He introduced and implemented the major university reforms of the 2004 Higher Education Act. He also served as Labour Party Chair and Home Secretary.
Charles works on international education reform for parts of Cambridge University and has held Visiting Professorships at the Universities of East Anglia, Lancaster and King’s College London.
This is a recording of a discussion between the two authors, Ed Byrne and Charles Clarke, moderated by Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)