Higher Education, Stratification, and Workforce Development

Volume 45 of the series Higher Education Dynamics pp 127-149

The Imaginators of English University Reform

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This chapter traces changes to English universities as a result of changing political economic conditions in the United Kingdom. These conditions shifted funding and governance mechanisms in unprecedented ways, and so entailed dramatic transformations for English universities. The chapter calls attention to the “imaginators,” meaning a group of campus officials and government officers, who systematically laid the groundwork for these reforms. Analysis of documents such as speeches and policy reports highlights the imaginators’ collective efforts to recast and repurpose existing university infrastructure. This effort has been gradual and concerted, creating mechanisms that could be redeployed when the Great Recession provided a crisis moment. The resulting system yields numerous opportunities for private-sector actors to capture profits from state-subsidized activities, but may provide more limited options to students and faculty.


University reform English university Imaginators Policy fields Vice chancellors United Kingdom