In November 2018, we held a symposium called ‘What should universities be?’ where we sought to clarify what universities should be and to identify the changes required in public perception, industry connections, and government policy that affects universities.

Our premise was that Australia and other modern societies increasingly need academically well-functioning universities. Students and their academic teachers form the core of every university, but corporatised university businesses now largely disregard this, with detrimental effects on academic life and the ability to undertake high quality research and teaching. The symposium was held in the New Law School Building on Camperdown Campus.

Read a summary report of the event (pdf, 387KB).

New Law Building exterior


Event highlights

During the two-day symposium we covered:

  • the university in society
  • the current state of affairs and problem areas
  • what intellectual capital is
  • academic standards worth maintaining
  • future students, teaching and research
  • what the role of management is
  • how much management and how many administrators are necessary
  • selection criteria for the ideal Vice-Chancellor
  • resolutions on scholarship and education.


Presentations and resources

Event resources

Related resources

Title Author/publication
How professors ceded their authority – article Chad Wellmon, the Chronicle of Higher Education
Empty administration – article André Spicer, the Guardian

The fight for free speech: what it means for universities (pdf, 8MB)

Professor Richard Fisher