chapter  9
Heads of institutions and prestige
Pages 16

This chapter proposes that prestige is a significant factor that helps to explain values, attitudes and behaviours in higher education. A number of richly interesting analyses of the head of institution role were obtained which are explored here as a way of considering the extent to which ideas of prestige and of a prestige economy might be of explanatory value in university leadership. It was widely felt that the Russell Group had been immensely successful in achieving a position of prestige, so that the term was now coming to be synonymous with excellence. The regular national assessment of research quality, through the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise was believed to be the strongest driver in universities. Some institutions that are strongly teaching-led and have a major social inclusion role, there was some sense of resentment that both the REF and the National Student Survey regularly showed their institution in a poor light.