Higher education is currently in a state of fl ux and uncertainty, with profound changes being shaped largely by the imperatives of global neoliberalism. The impact of global neoliberalism intersects with a range of other potent forces, changing the higher-education landscape in contemporary times. This includes the forces of globalisation, neoconservatism, corporatisation, new managerialism, neocolonialism, neopatriarchies and enduring forms of institutional racism. In this contemporary and changing landscape, there is increasing pressure for universities to position themselves as ‘world-class’, and to compete in a highly stratifi ed fi eld driven by discourses of ‘excellence’ and league tables. Within such a frame, quality is often in tension with equity because it is reduced to neo-liberal principles and limited measurable outputs.