What Is the Purpose of a University?

Centre for Industry Engagement
  • at -
  • at
  • 80 Strand
  • London WC2R 0RL

The Centre for Industry Engagement is on a mission; to answer the fundamental questions that inform our circle of influence. Centres for higher learning have existed for centuries, even millennia in some cases. The ones that have survived the ages have exercised a proven ability to adapt, survive and remain relevant in a changing world, while offering a rich mixture of heritage and perspective.

However, with the cost of obtaining a degree continuing to rise, does a university education still add value?

In a world that moves faster than ever, we are forced to examine whether the modern university is best serving its multiple publics. Is university equipping students with the skills they need for successful living? Are academics able to demonstrate real world application for their teaching and research? Is the future of UK plc assured in the hands of the next generation of graduates?

We have assembled a worthy panel of experts ready to debate the topic, and provide definitive answers.

  • Carl Lygo, Former Vice-Chancellor BPP
    Carl Raymond Lygo is a British barrister and academic who was the founding Vice-Chancellor of BPP University, a division of the Apollo Group. He is the founding Chairman of the Association of Cost Lawyers Training, the founding Chairman of Turner Schools a multi academy trust charity set up to help disadvantaged children in Folkestone, Kent.
  • Wendy Piatt, Former Director-General Russell Group
    Wendy Louisa Piatt was Director General of the Russell Group of research universities from January 2007 until February 2017.
  • Lord Willetts, Former MP
    David Linsay Willetts, Baron Willetts,is an English Conservative Party politician, life peer, and academic. From 1992 to 2015, he was the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the constituency of Havant in Hampshire. He was the Minister of State for Universities and Science from 2010 until July 2014. Willetts became a member of the House of Lords in 2015. He has been a Visiting Professor at King's College London since 2014.
  • Roxanne Stockwell, Principal Pearson College London
    Roxanne joined Pearson in 2011 as Managing Director of the Higher Education Awards division, with the aim of helping Pearson set up its own university. Roxanne graduated with a BA and LLB from the University of Sydney and worked as a solicitor in equity and trusts law, before becoming an in-house corporate lawyer in intellectual property. 
  • Dr Joanna Williams                                                                       
    Dr Joanna Williams is an author, academic and the education editor of Spiked. She was profiled in the Times Higher Education and appeared on the Rubin Report. Joanna is the author of "Consuming Higher Education Why Learning Can’t Be Bought" and "Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity."