Chris Havergal reports today on Queen’s University Belfast plans to axe 236 (note the precision in their count) jobs and reduce student numbers by 1,010. James Field reports that the University of Surrey is to cut 100 jobs and scrap its politics department, partly using the Research Excellence Framework (REF) as a guide. Jack Grove reports that up to 165 jobs may be lost at London Metropolitan University. The University of Aberdeen is to cut about 150 jobs as part of efforts to save millions of pounds in the coming months (this item from BBC but see also my post over one protagonist).
On more personal stories, Stefan Grimm took his own life, making sure to expose the circumstances in which he found himself by documenting his view of how professors are treated at Imperial College. Imperial College responded by saying they hoped to “create an environment in which everyone understands what is expected of him or her”. When Louise Lindsay, Imperial’s director of human resources, was asked if changes being made would have helped Professor Grimm, she said it was “not clear it would have resulted in a different outcome”. (She is correct: Professor Grimm understood what was expected of him.) David Colquhoun has expanded on this story, which he helped disseminate in the first place.
Damien Markey, a senior lecturer in visual effects for film and television and secretary of the Bolton branch of the UCU and his wife, Jennifer Markey, an academic administrator in the health and community studies department, were sacked by the University of Bolton for allegedly leaking information about the vice-chancellor to the press. About 40 per cent of PhD students at the University of Exeter believe that studying for a doctorate has worsened their physical and mental health. A leaked paper written by management at Swansea University describes critics among its economics staff as a “cancer” that “must be removed”. Yet, academics must watch their tone of voice (and bring in the income that sustains their masters).
How does it feel like being an academic in the UK these days?
Does Malta really wish to import such habits? As I said elsewhere, the Principal of Queen Mary University of London, Simon Gaskell, boasted about setting aside last year £14.9 million (after removing one-off items). Now we know why the sackings, at least with respect to one university… I predicted the scandal a year ago. The tragedy within the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is also being admitted: The staff survey… revealed that many staff in SBCS felt stressed and unhappy about work life. Matthew Evans has invited an external consultant to the Senior Executive away day to discuss some of these issues. Members of the Executive discussed the problems and the following points were noted:
- There is a lack of collective responsibility
- Many changes involving staff leaving, new appointments, performance expectations
- A disparity between Schools and departments in the College, where there are no performance expectations in place.
May I take this space to thank the students at the University of Surrey that moved in support of their lecturers? If you have a moment check out this 5 minute video they made, which reminded me of our own students who moved in our support. It is time to take collective action everywhere.