Lincoln VC’s book looks at lives transformed through education

University of Lincoln Vice Chancellor Mary Stuart released a book about working class families and university.

Social Mobility and Higher Education: The life experiences of first generation entrants in higher education studies 150 people who were the first in their family to go to university during the last half century.

The book looks at the experience of university and the opportunities it then bought to those people after studying in an autobiographical fashion.

Professor Stuart used their personal accounts to consider what these personal experiences say about changes in British society and culture, since the Second World War.

She analysed their perceptions of the changed social positions, and what effect this had on their identity.

Professor Stuart said: “The dialogue about the merits of higher education has become heavily politicised in recent years and, to some extent, we as a society may have lost sight of all that higher education can offer.

“In this book, I have tried to illustrate how higher education can and does transform the life chances of individual people from the humblest of backgrounds.

“The book charts the history of the growth of higher education in the UK through the eyes of people who were the first in their families to go to university.

“The message that if you have talent and ambition, then you will have the chance to apply it, regardless of your postcode or parents’ income, is really fundamental to having a fair, meritocratic and prosperous society.

“The repercussions of pulling up the ladder for a new generation of young people could be very serious for our society.”

The book, published by Tretham Books, is available for £21.99 from main online retailers and good bookshops.

You can also find out more about Mary Stuart, her book and her job as Vice Chancellor on her new Facebook Page.