University head hailing end of ‘vanity courses’ apologises

The new head of a Scottish university has apologised after reportedly hailing the end of ‘vanity courses’ at his institution, with learning to be more closely tied to jobs and the economy in the future, writes Alison Campsie for The Scotsman.

Professor Todd Walker, vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), made the comments after arriving in Inverness from Australia to take up his position. Walker, who was appointed in February, but whose move to Scotland was delayed due to the pandemic, told the Inverness Courier that a review of the curriculum was now underway. He said: “I’d go on the record as saying the days of having a vanity course, unit or subject are over. We’re not here to study something for which there is no direct employment, growing market or sector.” Walker told the newspaper that renewables was a growth area of interest to the university, along with “seven or eight” others.

Walker’s remarks were criticised on Twitter by academics, creatives and other commentators, with the vice-chancellor issuing an apology. He said: “I understand the concerns of some students and staff following the article in today’s Inverness Courier, especially the headline focusing on ‘no more vanity courses at UHI’.”
Full report on The Scotsman site