Susan Bassnett's jibe about naked fat cats of quality assurance diverts attention from the force of her general argument: that university quality assurance is too much form and not enough substance. This is a problem we share with much audit development in public services. But it is partly of our own making; we have often left unprofessed the underlying purposes of our institutions and any value vacuum is wont to be filled by the reductionist tendency of procedure.
Learning cultures are shaped by curricula, staff, facilities and most of all students themselves, and these cultures will, thank goodness, be different. We can only celebrate and justify this diversity by professing our values more clearly.
Andrew Gray, Professor of Public Sector Management, Director, Centre for Public Sector Management Research, Durham University Business School