Prof Malcolm Prowle

Nottingham Trent University

United Kingdom


What is a good university



There is much discussion, in many countries about what constitutes a “good” university. Prospective students, university managers, governments etc all askthis question repeatedly.

Establishing what constitutes a “good” university involves clarifying two main issues;

  • What is the purpose of a university and what should it be doing?
  • How well is the university undertaking what it actually is doing

These are difficult questions to answer because different persons will have differing views on what universities should be doing and how well they are doing it.


Using stakeholder theory, this paper looks at the various stakeholders in the higher education sector and considers their perspectives about what constitutes a “good” university in their eyes. Using the UK higher sector as an example it considers the various measures of university performance that are available and way in which different stakeholders utilise these measures in different ways.



About Prof.Malcolm Prowle

Malcolm Prowle is professor of performance management at two UK university business schools. He has extensive experience of strategy and performance management in a variety of sectors including the higher education sector. His experience was gained through senior management posts, academic posts in several universities and management consultancy positions with PWC and KPMG. With the latter he was, for five years, a senior member of the higher education consulting team working for the UK Government, Higher Education Agencies and individual universities.

Malcolm has worked at the highest levels of government and has advised Ministers, Ambassadors, senior civil servants, public service managers and service professionals on a variety of public policy and policy implementation issues. He has been an adviser to two House of Commons Select Committees and has spoken and presented papers at a wide range of events and conferences including that of: the Prime Ministers Policy Unit, the Government Accounting Service, the Confederation of British Industry, the Higher Education Funding Council for England as well as academic and professional conferences