Today I am pleased to have a feature in the Times Higher Education which is a look at my funny old profession; higher education policy. There was only so much space that I had, and there’s a lot more I have to say about many of the themes touched on in the piece. I shall be returning to them through some professional projects, my own research as well as this blog, so watch this space. It was not, as some have suggested, a bet to see how many times I could get THE to print the word ‘wonk’… (though I should have made one).
Power hierarchies in higher education are being challenged. A new breed of professionals is shaping policy inside universities and across the sector. But while universities are their natural habitat, these policy experts – known informally as “wonks” – are not “of” the academy. They can be looked down on, sneered at and misunderstood, and they occupy roles that are frequently a source of conflict amid the daily grind of institutional politics. The rise of the wonk represents a new way of doing business in national higher education policymaking, and for the vice-chancellors who make use of them. As wonks’ numbers swell, their presence in the academy can no longer be ignored.
You can read it online here.