I went to hear the 6pm debate on What Are Universities For? at the RSA last night. Debate? Well not quite we had two speakers: Stefan Collini whose book of the same name has just been published by Penguin (The FT persuaded Chris Patton, Chancellor of Oxford University, to review it 10 days ago, giving two thirds of a page!) and Professor Paul O'Prey Vice Chancellor of Roehampton University.
You can catch it all at www.thersa.org
I asked i. How could there be over 150 centres of excellence? and ii. If (say) Cambridge was so good why couldn't it borrow the model from California and have the University of Cambridge at Colchester and Chelmsford and Norwich (to drive up standards)?