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LSE joins rush for degree awarding powers

Nov 26 2002 01:59
Mustafa Arif
Despite the collapsed merger talks, future of the University of London looks shakier than ever.
Senate House, headquarters of the University of London. But for how long?

Last week?s Times Higher Education Supplement has revealed that the London School of Economics (LSE) has announced it is to seek powers to award degrees in its own name. LSE, like every other University of London college (including Imperial), currently awards degrees in the University?s name.

The University of London?s formal line is that it has no objection to colleges holding degree-awarding powers ?in reserve?. However, there is no half-way house and any use of such powers would require that college to leave the federal University.

Imperial College applied for degree awarding powers last year. Following an assessment of Imperial?s worthiness to award degrees carried out earlier this year by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, powers are expected to be granted in the New Year. Imperial, like other applicants, has not yet made a formal decision as to whether to use degree awarding powers. However, Sir Richard Sykes stated his aspiration for Imperial College to gain independence "within five years" when speaking to students in January of this year. His senior officers have made similar rumblings, on the record.

LSE?s announcement follows that made by Kings College in the aftermath of the news the merger talks between Imperial and UCL. Should these applications be successful, it is expected that UCL and Queen Mary will follow suit with their own.

Although merger plans have now been abandoned, it seems that the future of the University of London is now even shakier. The government has indicated that it feels there are too many universities in the UK and that it wants to see consolidation in the higher education sector, particularly in London. With the IC-UCL marriage off the cards, for now, there is uncertainty as to exactly how consolidation will take place.

LSE and Kings students unions have long-standing policies committing their officers to campaign for the continuance of the federal University. The last emergency meeting of ULU Council also mandated ULU sabbatical officers to campaign for the "retention of the University of London in its present form." In contrast, Imperial College Union has no current policy on the future of the University.

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Discussion about “LSE joins rush for degree awarding powers”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 26 2002 10:10

Mustafa, the majority of what you have written is true. However, you have neglected to mention a key point that I shall now elaborate on.

When Sir Richard was throwing his toys out of his pram at being coupled with other UL Colleges, Graham Zelick, the Vice Chancellor of the University of London, took a decision that, some believe, aided in the collapse of the merger talks.

Essentially he said that the University would have no objection to Colleges holding reserve degree awarding powers, and, if they chose to use them, could do that SIMULTANEOUSLY with an award from the University.

This was seen by many at the time as the last grasps of a fallen man, but did throw an interesting hat into the arena.

Hence, if LSE did achieve reserve degree awarding powers, and took the decision to use them, the may not have to withdraw from the University at all. In fact, all that would change would be where the College attended came on your degree (as in on it, rather than what happens now, placed discretely on the transcript).

2. Rob   
Nov 26 2002 13:51

My UL degree certificate says 'Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine' clear as day just below 'University of London' and in a similar sized font

3. Tommi   
Nov 26 2002 20:56

Ok, so LSE wants to disassociate itself from the University of London too. How about merging Imperial and LSE then? It's not a new idea, and I think it makes much more sense than the whole IC-UCL malarky. Think about it. The MIT MBA is one of the top MBA programmes in the States. MIT is one of the top engineering/science colleges in the world. In Europe, the only institutions that can compete with MIT in postgraduate business education are London Business School and INSEAD. Imperial is one of their few competitors in engineering and science, worldwide. Surely we can get the quality Humanities departments Sykes was after by combining what IC and LSE have now, and make sure they have presence on each campus to guarantee access to all students. There are many "synergies" (sorry to use that dirty word) in this deal, as there's quite little overlap in our fields of expertise. However, we have a quality MBA programme at IC, and surely combining the expertise of IC and LSE academics will only do good for it, as well as the LSE undergraduate programmes. On top of that, we have Medicine, which MIT only gets involved in through their collaboration with Harvard... So, bring on London Institute of Technology! My suggestion is that we merge IC and LSE, both universities would stay geographically where they are, we get a better MBA programme, and subsequently attract plenty of (foreign) students willing to pay up to ?40,000 per year (double the current rate) for their one-year MBA. I think we would be in a better position to fight top-up fees for undergrads that way too. And if College funding will be relying more on spin-off companies in the future, having finance and economics expertise in-house will only be a good thing. What do you think?

4. Tommi   
Nov 26 2002 21:19

...not even mentioning the Tanaka-style donations the College is expecting, and that institutions like Harvard Business School continuously receive from their almuni. I really see this as a serious alternative to charging everyone ?10,500 p.a. for undergraduate education.

5. Tommi   
Nov 26 2002 21:24

I also feel that LSE is internationally better known than Imperial, so we would finally get the recognition I believe we deserve and long for by combining forces.

Ok, enough of this monologue...

6. aqeel   
Nov 26 2002 23:22

er...not likely. The LSE has no plans, intention, or desire to merge with anyone because "we don't feel we need to". And that's a quote from one of the deputy directors.

Closed This discussion is closed.

Please contact the Live! Editor if you would like this discussion topic re-opened.


See Also

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