Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)


Upcoming events

CHEER virtual event promo: 15oct2020VIRTUAL EVENT

Date: Thursday 15 October 2020
Time: 11am
Zoom link to join: https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/98130103604 / Meeting ID: 981 3010 3604
Speaker: Professor Rebecca Boden, Research Director of the Social Research Programme at Tampere University, Finland

Paying the Piper? The governance of vice-chancellors' remuneration in Australian and UK universities

Rebecca Boden (face mask)There is a long running, cyclical public debate in the UK and Australia - and indeed in many other countries - regarding the escalating levels of vice-chancellors’ remuneration in publicly funded universities. These debates occur at times of severe pay restraint for most university staff, accompanied by contractual issues such as increasing casualisation. Governments repeatedly promise greater oversight, but little appears to change.

In this presentation of work conducted with Julie Rowlands (Deakin University, Australia), Rebecca Boden will critically analyse the determination of vice-chancellors’ remuneration, framing it as a governance issue. In the context of corporatised public universities, she will argue that reforms in university governance towards greater marketisation and financialisation may have contributed to the shifting nature and increasing levels of vice-chancellors’ remuneration in Australia and the UK. The stark conclusion is that much of the remuneration is more akin to economic rent rather to appropriate salary payment for work undertaken. In conclusion, proposals for fundamental governance reform will be set out.

(This presentation is from: ‘Paying the Piper: The governance of vice-chancellors’ remuneration in Australian and UK universities’ by Rebecca Boden and Julie Rowlands, forthcoming in Higher Education Research & Development).


Past events 

CHEER virtual event: 15july2020VIRTUAL EVENT

Date: Wednesday 15 July 2020
Time: 12-1pm
Moderator: Professor Louise Morley, CHEER Director

Post-COVID Topography: What new land do we inhabit?

A critical exploration of the lines of inquiry generated as a consequence of the pandemic and its related 'snapping points'. Further, what we would wish to change to make the global academy more hospitable, humane, and hopeful.

Post-covid topography event image



Date: Wednesday 24 June
Time: 12-1pm

Which Norms have been Reinforced/Disrupted in Higher Education by the Covid-19 Crisis?

Thanks to all of those who joined us on 27 May for such a rich discussion, which included:

  • The Politics of Performative Productivity
  • Vulnerabilities and the reinforcement of inequalities e.g. ageism; heteronormative constructions of the household;
  • Domestication/ Homefication of work and learning- racialised, gender and class privilege and access to resources.
  • Recasting the international in a post-mobility world.
  • The Impact Agenda and the inclusion/abuse of academics in crisis policy.
  • Leadership and the re-shaping of HE - whose agenda?

This event followed on, further addressing these important themes.


CHEER virtual event promo image: 27may2020VIRTUAL EVENT

Date: Wednesday 27 May 2020
Time: 12-1pm
Moderator: Professor Louise Morley, CHEER Director

Our Emerging Thoughts on the Impact of the Covid-19 Virus on Higher Education:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

An online discussion which offered people the space to express ideas and feelings, and to start to identify a possible research agenda. 



Date: Thursday 12 March 2020
Time: 11am-12pm
Venue: Debating Chamber, Falmer House (First floor of Falmer House - accessible via stairs or lift. Go through the Common Room and it is the first set of double doors on the left)
Speaker: Professor Rebecca Boden, Research Director, New Social Research Programme, University of Tampere, Finland 

Australian and UK vice-chancellors' pay, widely seen as excessive, has been a near constant source of public scandal for a number of years. In both countries, this is set in a context of worsening employment conditions for all but senior managers and, in the UK, a decade of fierce pay restraint.

This seminar explored this issue from a governance perspective, tracing how the commercialisation and marketisation of UK and Australian universities has led to the adoption of corporate-style governance mechanisms in which VCs have become akin to CEOs. However, existing literature suggests that there is little or no relationship between VC remuneration levels and organisational performance. This is a serious equity issue; excessive remuneration undermines principles of fairness and diverts financial resources from educational and research organisational objectives. Suggestions for reform were made in conclusion.

Professor Rebecca Boden is research director of the new Social Research Programme at Tampere University, Finland. A critical accountant with a background in STS and public management, her works explore the impact of regimes of financial and management control on sites of knowledge production, especially universities.




CHEER seminar poster image_feb2020Date: Wednesday 12 February 2020
Time: 1-5pm
Venue: Room 202, Fulton

Rainbow Laces and Safe Spaces! Queer Eyes on Absences, Erasures and Distortions in Higher Education

This event was a panel presentation and discussion aimed at identifying a change agenda for universities and the University and College Union (UCU).






Rainbow Laces and Safe Spaces: Photo Gallery



Date: Wednesday 16 October 2019
Time: 12.30-2pm
Venue: Room 201, Fulton
Speaker: Professor Fazal Rizvi, Melbourne University, Australia

Higher Education as a Site of the Formation of Business Diaspora

CHEER seminar poster: 16oct2019A contemporary definition of diaspora points to communities that are transnationally dispersed but connected to their place of origin. Accordingly, diaspora do not have an objective existence but are forged through a variety of means, involving multiple agencies and sites of formation. One of these sites is higher education. Based on interviews conducted with Indian and Chinese students in Australia, Professor Rizvi argued that recent policies and practices of internationalisation of higher education, shaped by a market rationality, have steered international students towards particular forms of diaspora, aligned to a range of beliefs about the importance of their participation within the global economy and in particular their role in facilitating transnational regimes of business activities.

Fazal Rizvi is a Professor of Global Studies in Education at the University of Melbourne Australia, as well as an Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States. He has written extensively on issues of identity and culture in transnational contexts, globalization and education policy and Australia-Asia relations. A collection of his essays is published in: Encountering Education in the Global: Selected Writings of Fazal Rizvi (Routledge 2014). His most recent books include a co-authored volume, Class Choreographies: Elite Schools and Globalization (Palgrave 2017) and a co-edited volume,Transnational Perspectives on Democracy, Citizenship, Human Rights and Peace Education(Bloomsbury 2019). Professor Rizvi is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences and a former Editor of the journal, Discourse: Studies in Cultural Politics of Education, and past President of the Australian Association of Research in Education.




For details - and recordings for some - of other CHEER-hosted events that took place during the current (2018/19) academic year, visit our archive.

To be added to our mailing list and receive news and information about CHEER and its upcoming events, please contact Yasser Kosbar
E: Y.Kosbar@sussex.ac.uk