Felicity Callard Profile picture
Oct 2, 2018 4 tweets 4 min read
Given importance of HE sector "there may be a case for future governments to consider alternative options" (incl "state-backed guarantee" or "measures enabling more risk-taking"). Powerful piece from @JMariathasan on #USS DB debate post-#JEP ipe.com/analysis/blogs… #USSstrike 1/ Article argues that central problem lies in regulatory changes that transformed management of a DB pension scheme into "a risk management problem, not an investment one" 2/
Sep 22, 2018 4 tweets 4 min read
Thank you to @EricRoyalLybeck & all the other organisers in Exeter, as well as @ExeterUCU: Volunteer University Revisited was such a magical day. Gathering all of our energies for the months & years to come #YesVolUniCan 1/ Particularly magical to meet some people in the flesh for the first time -- incl. @thetroutpouts @lizmorrish @TheGraceK @sstroschein2 Mike Finn, Alison Wood, @ProfAlastair @ms_rhian @NoisyBits 2/
Sep 16, 2018 6 tweets 3 min read
There's a bonanza of new FOI responses that give us a much better sense of the range of university responses to #UUK #USS consultations from Oct 2016 and Feb/March 2017. Picking through them it's fascinating to see which universities challenged the direction of travel 1/ e.g. Aberdeen: "Aon ... & UCU have indicated that it may be advantageous to consider other models. We are interested in the Trustees views as to whether there are alternative models that could result in a more considered outcome" whatdotheyknow.com/request/508696… cc @aberdeen_ucu 2/
Sep 16, 2018 18 tweets 7 min read
So with the publication of the #JEP, the issue of UUK consultations with employer institutions is back big time. Both the famous Sept 2017 survey – and now the possibility, if JEP recommendations are taken up, of UUK reassessing employers' appetite for risk.

I'm worried. 1/ #JEP has emphasised the problems with how UUK framed the questions. What's really obvious if you look back Sept survey is that all the focus is on risk and on a *reduction to benefits*. And NOT on the potential to increase contributions. Or on amending the technical provisions 2/
Sep 15, 2018 13 tweets 11 min read
2. #JEP has a lot to say about Test 1. Its sentence 'The view of the Panel is that Test 1 is not well understood outside of USS' is ... well ... certainly marvellously diplomatic.

Cf. and 6/ 3. #JEP's discussion of #USS's & #UUK's 'differing perspectives' on the shift from Sept to Nov valuation shows just how murky the deliberations that resulted in this shift still are.

This remains a big issue, given #JEP proposal to reassess employers' atttude to risk (p. 45) 7/ Extract from p. 45 of JEP report
Sep 15, 2018 5 tweets 5 min read
After a few weeks away from Twitter, I'm back to think – alongside many others – about content & rhetoric of the #JEP.

And abt what we at @USSbriefs have been doing all summer w @OpenUPP2018 to encourage deliberations over #USS valuation to take place in public #USSstrike 1/ Many (incl. @NJSHardy @gailfdavies @DrJoGrady @etymologic @MikeOtsuka) have already provided cogent analyses of the #JEP report & its implications. So here I'll just going to pick out some of what has struck me most forcefully on a first read. #USSstrike 2/
Aug 17, 2018 9 tweets 14 min read
It's been a pretty busy week at @USSbriefs HQ.

We published @BenPatrickWill's fantastic brief on what's coming down the chute in terms of transformation of HE into performance data. An essential read – & glorious @acupunctureUSS design #USSbriefs40 medium.com/ussbriefs/numb… 1/ We published Richard Farndale's (in consultation with @CambridgeUCU Exec) excellent set of questions for the #JEP in our @OpenUPP2018 series #USSbriefs41 medium.com/ussbriefs/cruc… 2/
Aug 9, 2018 6 tweets 6 min read
I'm loving how @OpenUPP2018 is, er, opening things up.

We wrote to everyone who had submitted to/given evidence at JEP.

David Miles responded – see his piece on Test 1 medium.com/ussbriefs/the-… (#USSbriefs36).

@MikeOtsuka read Miles's brief – & disagreed.


So Mike Otsuka @MikeOtsuka then made a (2nd) submission to JEP engaging w – contesting – Miles.

And then also responded to our invitation from #OpenUPP2018 – see "USS’s Test 1 is not too risky and how Test 2 should be changed" #USSbriefs39 medium.com/ussbriefs/why-…

Jul 26, 2018 7 tweets 4 min read
So Universities UK released a statement responding to the #USS announcements yesterday about contribution increases.

Notice the adjective "challenging" & the phrase "difficult decisions ... over financial priorities" universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/Pro… #USSstrike 1/ screen shot of the press release linked to in the tweet We should recall that the leaked UUK briefing paper to employers laid out their 'initial views' vis-à-vis the institutional consequences that they believe would follow from increased contributions academicfreedom.watch/sites/default/… 2/
Jul 20, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
"What is clear, however, is that some universities are much better placed to weather the oncoming storm than others." S&P on financial pressures affecting English universities 1/ capitaliq.com/CIQDotNet/Cred… Lots on capital expenditure, including: "prestigious universities can afford to halt capex in the medium term, as their reputation for high-quality teaching will continue to attract students. However, not all universities can afford to halt investment in their infrastructure" 2/
Jul 17, 2018 10 tweets 7 min read
I've been catching up w latest on CDC pensions after yesterday's report from Work & Pensions Cttee parliament.uk/business/commi… #USSstrike

TL;dr: I predict even more enthusiasm from UUK about CDC in coming months as part of long-term plan to remove DB to reduce pension liabilities 1/ REMINDER: Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pensions share risk *between* the members of the scheme. CDC means that employers are not exposed to the risks associated with DB plans. i.e. Risk is transferred from employer ---> employees ft.com/content/64ae04… 2/
Jul 13, 2018 11 tweets 8 min read
"The working paper provides the required proof & argument against the flawed valuation method adopted by #USS. Using an appropriate valuation technique, the USS is found to be in surplus as large as £10bn ...": Woon Wong #USSbriefs34 on the phantom deficit medium.com/ussbriefs/indu… Wong: "many actuarial practices should be reviewed ... [T]here is a need to examine the economics of risk & return from a long term perspective ... given ... low interest rates, de-risking can be suboptimal & extremely expensive" #USSbriefs34 working paper medium.com/ussbriefs/indu…
Jul 5, 2018 4 tweets 6 min read
We at @USSbriefs HQ have spent lots of weekends & evenings getting our first briefs ready for OpenUPP. Our efforts to Open Up the #USS Joint Expert Panel start for real today, as we challenge the epistemic landscape of #USS #pensions dispute ussbriefs.com/openupp2018/ #USSstrike 1/ screen shot of press release linked to in tweetscreen shot of press release linked to in tweet Our first #OpenUPP2018 brief is 'Opening up the USS Joint Expert Panel', by me. I explain why we at @USSbriefs are so committed to Opening Up the #JEP, & provide thumbnail reflections on the 7 people who make up that closed panel medium.com/ussbriefs/open… 2/
Jun 20, 2018 9 tweets 5 min read
I need help from those in PR.

In my ongoing efforts to track the very recent history of UUK/EPF I'm wondering if 'myths & misunderstandings' is a standard PR trope used to reframe a debate, or a particular discursive tic of Alistair Jarvis #USSstrike universitiesuk.ac.uk/blog/Pages/Hav… 1/ In Jarvis's recent blog ('Have we "miseducated a generation" about student finance?') he argues that 'myths & misunderstandings' have allegedly led to students having – wait for it – *MISGUIDED* concerns about 'high costs & debt' 💰💰💰 universitiesuk.ac.uk/blog/Pages/Hav… #YesUniCan 2/ Screen shot from blog post linked to in tweet -- including phrase myths and misunderstandings
Jun 13, 2018 9 tweets 6 min read
Your regular UUK update (or: Keeping an 👀 on the rolling out of the marketised vision of UK HE)

So, yesterday, UUK held an event on "Improving Student Retention" universitiesuk.ac.uk/events/Pages/s… #UUKSR #YesUniCan The proud sponsor of "Improving Student Retention" was Civica, 'the leading provider of business-critical software, digital solutions & managed services for our public sector and regulated markets' Screen shot of Civica tweet quoted in the tweet
Jun 7, 2018 4 tweets 4 min read
I am startled that at an event aimed at supporting women in higher education & in addressing social media trolling, the President of UUK decides to use – at least according to a tweet from @AdvanceHE – such profoundly stigmatising #mentalhealth language #mentalhealth #LFAurora I have been disturbed about this all day. Not least because Janet Beer sits on @REF_2021 Equality & Diversity Advisory Panel ref.ac.uk/about/ed/ Could we please receive clarification, after @AdvanceHE's tweet of Janet Beer's apparently direct speech? #LFAurora
Jun 7, 2018 16 tweets 15 min read
This is fascinating by @MikeOtsuka on logic & motivations of #USS Test 1 (& how Test 1 might be met without de-risking), based on talk at @bsaweel Pensions Symposium. We've invited Mike to contribute longer piece for @OpenUPP2018 at @USSbriefs medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ho… #OpenUPP2018 screen shot of part of blog post linked to in website .@MikeOtsuka's piece links to #USS discussion document sent as response to a Qu & challenge from Mike (sent by USS & linked to a meeting Mike had w USS executives on 23 March 2018). This adds to archive of #USS materials (cc. @ForPension) drive.google.com/file/d/1Q4r6tE… #OpenUPP2018
Jun 5, 2018 7 tweets 4 min read
Do you want to '[F]orever chang[e] HE for the better'? Become a Partner Success Consultant @CivitasLearning – & use a 'predictive analytics platform & engaging applications' to bring 'personalized, real-time recommendations directly to the front lines' wonkhe.com/job/partner-su… 1/ Screen shot of job advertised in the link As Partner Success Consultant you'll manage relationships w UK universities 'that are excited about using predictive analytics to measurably improve the student experience'. You'll leverage each HEI's 'data to find & distribute the strongest signals across the student lifecycle'
Jun 4, 2018 7 tweets 7 min read
In awe of @USSbriefs colleagues & those #ucu2018 delegates who joined us over the weekend to get on the record 'What happened?' & 'What happens next?' after the extraordinary events at #UCU congress 1/ #UCU Congress was unceremoniously closed c. 1.30 last Friday. Later that afternoon @OurUCU was born. Shortly after that @USSbriefs started – from afar – gathering key eye witnesses & actors (#Motion10 #Motion11) asking if they would be happy to get something on record #ucu2018 2/
Jun 2, 2018 8 tweets 6 min read
In my efforts to understand configurations of discourse & representation around UK pensions in 21st century, I've been fascinated, today, by Pendragon's competition, running since 2003, titled the "Art of Pensions" artofpensions.com/exhibition.php 1/
#USSstrike screen shot of website linked to in tweet The Pendragon "Art of Pensions" is a full-scale competition – with a whole raft of categories (e.g. see artofpensions.com/winners.php?ye…). The winners & long-listed entries are all available for perusal on the Pendragon site 2/ screen shot from website linked to in tweet
Jun 1, 2018 6 tweets 5 min read
So ... if anyone not in Manchester needs an update on what on earth is happening at #ucu2018 1/ "The leadership’s behaviour ... marks the sharpest break yet between the energy & determination of the 1000s of new members ... & the conservatism of a leadership that refuses basic demands for transparency & accountability", by @lazebnic counterfire.org/articles/opini… #ucu2018 2/