Professor Glyn Davis: “Key to saving universities’ credibility – and themselves – is increased community engagement”

The UPP Foundation, a charitable trust created by UPP to help tackle the biggest issues facing the higher education sector across the UK, holds its Inaugural Autumn Lecture this evening – hosting Professor Glyn Davis AC, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

Australia’s longest serving vice-chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis AC, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne, will challenge the “rising tide of criticism and hostility” towards universities by calling on the Higher Education sector to publically embrace civic engagement.

Professor Davis, credited as ‘the most influential person in Australian higher education’ in 2016, will point out that deepening the role of universities in society will serve to propel them beyond recent denouncements as “arrogant institutions” – and may be the key to saving universities from “disaster” at the hands of the tech revolution.

Drawing parallels from history as well as between the current political situations in Australia, the United States and the UK, Professor Davis urges universities to strengthen their links to the local communities in which they reside, stating: “We need practical demonstrations of how teaching and research bring prosperity to community, opportunities for the young, a richer and more engaged life for all.”

Dr Paul Marshall, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the UPP Foundation, said: “We are extremely pleased to have one of the world’s most notable voices in HE share with us his views on the current climate in UK Higher Education. Universities enrich our cities, towns and regions through community access to lifelong programmes and public engagement events.

“Whilst there are some great examples of universities strengthening their links to local communities and business, like other industries HE cannot be complacent. For it to thrive, universities must continually strive to strengthen the place they are part of and become the civic anchor of their communities in order to improve their complex and nuanced product. For this reason the UPP Foundation is committed to enhancing the civic role of the University. We’re proud to support projects and events that help foster partnership and collaboration between universities and their local communities.”

The UPP Foundation’s Inaugural Autumn Lecture will take place at The Globe Theatre’s Swan Restaurant, and it will be attended by around 70 senior higher education sector leaders, including numerous Vice-Chancellors from universities across the UK.

The private event will facilitate debate among attendees who will discuss the current challenges and opportunities facing the higher education sector.