Date : 26/09/2019 | Time : 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm | Location : The North Library, The Athenaeum Club

Although still regarded as a significant national asset, Britain’s universities have been in the firing line in recent years. From questions about the worth of a university education, through concerns about high fees and value for money, to public criticism of vice-chancellors’ pay, higher education has been under critical scrutiny like never before. Coupled with rising student and societal expectations and uncertainties around future funding for teaching and research, is this now a crisis point for our universities?

These issues, and many others, will be discussed by Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland and 1993 Harkness Fellow. Drawing upon his extensive experience at both institutional and national government level, David will address current criticisms head-on and mount a robust defence of the breadth and range of activity carried out by British universities. His current position in Sunderland also gives him an excellent vantage point to assess the role of a university in our divided nation.

Sir David Bell (HF 93-94) is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland and Vice President (England and Northern Ireland) for Universities UK (UUK). He was previously VC at the University of Reading for six years. His career started in teaching, leading to a headship, posts in LAs as Director of Education and CEO, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools and then Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. Sir David is a trustee and advisory board member of the Higher Education Policy Institute, a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a trustee of RFK Human Rights UK.

There will be a reception at 6.30pm – wine, soft drinks and light snacks will be on offer – and the talk will commence at 7.00pm.  The dress code at the venue is jackets and ties for men and ‘elegant’ for women.


HFA Member: £20

Non-member: £23

Guest of HFA Member: £15

Guest of non-member: £20



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