For the last three days I've been cocooned within the leafy surroundings of one of England's 'plate-glass' campus universities, a product of the Robbins era and very much a major player in the contemporary higher education scene. The campus was devoid of undergraduate students but teeming with the people that make the university business model work...conference delegates.
Conferences are changing...these days at least 50% of delegates have their heads in their iPads during keynotes and presentations, another 25% are checking their phones as if their sanity depended on it. Are we bored, lonely, curious, or simply unable to leave the office? This conference had live tweets beamed onto the big screen during the introductory speeches. It provided a distraction when the speeches flagged or disappointed, but really, is this polite?
The best thing about the last three days has been reconnecting with the other students on my scholarship scheme. We're based at institutions around the UK and last met in November at an induction event. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and it was good to catch up, eat together, drink together (some more than others!), compare notes, share woes, welcome new members. We're all on the same track, deadlines biting at our heels, juggling study, work, personal lives. There's something to be said for a bit of group solidarity now and then. Keep it up guys!
Campus what campus