Building the co-operative university

Exciting developments in the project to conceptualise and lay foundations for the co-operative university

PAPER: ‘Beyond public and private: a framework for co-operative higher education’ (Joss Winn & Mike Neary, 2016)

Universities in the UK are increasingly adopting corporate governance structures, a consumerist model of teaching and learning, and have the most expensive tuition fees in the world (McGettigan, 2013; OECD, 2015). This paper will report on a 12-month project funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) to develop an alternative model of knowledge production grounded in co-operative values and principles. The project has been run with the Social Science Centre (SSC), a small, experimental co-operative for higher education established in Lincoln in 2011 (Social Science Centre, 2013).

PROJECT: Co-operative higher education leadership

The aim of this research is to explore the possibility of establishing co-operative leadership as a viable organisational form of governanceand management for Higher Education. Co-operative leadership is already well established in business enterprises in the UK and around the world (Ridley-Duff and Bull 2016), and has recently been adopted as the organising principle by over 800 schools in the United Kingdom (Wilson 2014). The co-operative movement is a global phenomenon with one billion members, supported by national and international organisations working to establish co-operative enterprises and the promotion of cooperative education.


This detailed reading of the 2016 Higher Education and Research Bill, in which Dan Cook analyses the affordances for establishing co-operative governance.

Recommended reading together with Richard Hall’s ‘On resistance to the HE White Paper’ and his exemplary response to the ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ [sic] with reference to the Alternative White Paper which is being discussed at a Convention on 30 June in London.

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