Restruction is “dESTRUCTION by means of a Restructuring exercise”.
What happens when you attack the core values that hold together an academic department? It falls apart. Unless enough patches are put together on time to avoid the sink. Then the sail becomes rougher and rougher, year after year.
Who starts these restructions? A character sketch can be found here (thanks to the friend who sent me the example).
We learn that my former department (restructed in 2012) is rapidly dropping in student satisfaction scores, league tables, in some cases to the last quartile in the UK. Now this is a department that only a few years ago was being “reprimanded” for doing such an excellent job in teaching (see report below) and not focusing enough on research. Its staff suggested more time (i.e. a change in the staff to student ratio) was needed for bringing about a better balance. The managers imposed their own views, which vehemently opposed (trashed) the academic opinion.
Was there a shift in research as a result? Alas, no, the most promising researchers (those who could) have left the place and continue to do so. The results of the “research excellence framework” are only expected until Spring next year, but that exercise saw only half of the staff returned to it – so it will be difficult to compare with the 2008 evaluation. Also a number of big-hitters appearing on that submission are no longer at the University…
I was shown a new set of recent instructions intended to improve the student experience. At the end of that message, managers explain how they will monitor the situation and according to them “the only valid control to which we can compare SBCS is SBCS!”
Well, which SBCS is that? All that was going to happen had been predicted and exposed before the restruction took place. See for example the open letter sent to the managers prior to their finalizing their execution. But are those directing the “University” accountable for gross misconduct now that the outcomes are becoming obvious to anyone who cares to take a look?
The story presented in the Telegraph and referred to above paints the current picture of many UK Universities.