Taking action in higher education

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Lecturers to quiz cabinet secretary on higher education plans

23 March 2012 | last updated: 11 December 2015

The cabinet secretary for Education, Michael Russell, will be quizzed on his plans for higher education at UCU Scotland's annual congress. University governance, reforms to post-16 education and student visas will be on the agenda as Mr Russell takes part in a Q&A session.

University governance is likely to be the key theme of the one-day congress as delegates are expected to back a motion calling for the full implementation of the Review of Higher Education Governance's report into how Scottish universities are run. The report, in response to UCU's concerns over crises in university governance, recommended:

•Protecting academic freedom and institutional autonomy
•The appointment of two nominees of both students and staff unions to the governing body and committees
•Greater transparency in appointments and remuneration of senior management
•Election for chairs of governing bodies
•A broadening of the experience of governing body members and greater transparency in appointment procedures

UCU Scotland president, Gordon Watson, said: 'Michael Russell instigated this review and now needs to ensure the report's recommendations are fully implemented. We need greater transparency and accountability in our universities.

'It is right that there should be greater transparency and more scrutiny of senior management's remuneration, appointments and decisions. The report puts control of universities back into the hands of the academic community and, at a stroke, removes the dictatorial management systems which have led to many of the other issues we will be discussing today.'

Delegates will also debate other issues, including management systems, workloads, outsourcing, satellite campuses and health and safety and there will be a special session on constitutional reform and the implications for higher education.