Exciting news about the AUA Essay Prize

David Law MAUA
Principal Editor of Perspectives

Announcing our 2018 winner and our brand new sponsor

The AUA established an annual essay prize four years ago.  We have had generous support from the John Smith group of companies which provide useful services to university students including on-campus bookshops and stored value cards for bursaries. Now the sponsorship has moved to Invisible Grail, a company that provides consultancy and courses for colleagues who care about the power of the written word and narrative.  Invisible Grail summarises its purpose like this: “to find the narrative that will energise and galvanise people around a common purpose and shared vision”.

The Editorial Board at Perspectives is delighted to be working, in 2019 and beyond, with a group of enthusiastic wordsmiths.  Before the AUA conference meets we will release details of how the next competition will work.  Please keep your eyes open for this.

In 2018 we invited essays and articles that considered the challenges and rewards of managing change in higher education.  The response was the best ever in our experience with this competition.  We will be publishing the five short-listed pieces in the journal.  Already the four prize-winning pieces are published online on the Perspectives page of the Taylor and Francis website (www.tandfonline.com).

How can universities contribute to the common good? – First prize

Different universities, different temporalities: placing the acceleration of academic life in context

Managing change successfully: a case study at Brunel University London

The death of a course: a case study of degree closure

Karen MacFarlane, the author of the winning piece, argues that although higher education has become increasingly competitive and stratified there is also a counteracting trend of opinion that wants to reclaim the civic role of universities. Her paper suggests that, if HE is to reclaim its civic function, civic engagement needs to move beyond being a separate strand of activity for universities and become a guiding principle.  The judges were agreed that her work deserved the first prize of £1000.  Karen will be presented with her prize at the annual conference dinner in April.

If you would like to be involved in the next round of this competition, either as an author or as a reviewer, please contact me at davidlaw.academic@gmail.com.


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