Category: Academic

Briefing on the state of affairs in the UK academy

When a country needs a Council for the Defence of its Universities, something has gone wrong.”What is happening in your university? Help us record the rot”, CDBU asks. Various responses are being published on the creeping Stalinisation (sic) by the cadre of managers who perceive themselves as a new kind of officer class that is strangling the proper function of UK universities.

Rick Trainor receives an annual remuneration of £321,000. He should be asked to return every single pound he has received from this institution for the damage he is inflicting upon Kings College and its students. Voltaire once wrote “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”. Martin Parker of the University of Leicester recently found out what he meantThomas Docherty, Sarah Sayce, John Allen are also learning.

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Three abridged passages from publications I share with John F. Allen

John Allen is a close scientific collaborator, a monster of knowledge (excuse the literal translation from the Greek τέρας γνώσεως) who has honoured me with his friendship. If ever a colleague is missing, this wasn’t the case in the department I joined in 2007. But then things changed. First, when the best brain in our department was sent to live on benefits, against the signatures of most of his academic colleagues and despite a number of very senior external colleagues stepping in his defense. At the time, John and I published our first joint letter:

Firing excellence. Is this the wrong way forward? Fanis Missirlis and John F. Allen – 30 June 2009 in “Statements concerning the research achievements, qualities and potential of Dr Robin Maytum”.

The decision to dismiss Robin Maytum has been a mistake. In a few words, we will discuss some of the misconceptions that seem to have led to this decision. Embedded in this discussion is our view of the School’s research strategy. The key proposition is that we must foster a friendly and collaborative scientific environment, built on mutual trust. We shall then produce world-class contributions, and attract the best people from all over the world for collaboration. We are in the unique position of having a collegial merge of talented biologists and chemists that encompasses a very broad research scope, working in a beautiful campus in a vibrant city.

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A proposition for the status of academic freedom in the UK

The United Kingdom is in violation of the UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel as evidenced by the many instances where university managers frame and sack their ideological opponents.

The recommendation can be read here

http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13144&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Two recent examples from Universities, Warwick and Kent:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/warwick-suspends-prominent-critic-of-higher-education-policy/2012013.article

http://www.riveronline.co.uk/content/2014/02/27/prof-kicked-campus

A whole year has passed by, a new one has started

2013 was the year of settling down in Mexico. Cheel and Myrsini have grown but still dislike it when I come to the computer. The only difference is they now play more with each other. Cheel is just over 4 and Myrsini is almost two and a half.

I now lead a laboratory that is working on a few questions and our presence in the web is

http://fanis.fisio.cinvestav.mx

2014 started with an employment tribunal hearing. A very partial discussion (based only on the first of six days) can be found in the following two places

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/head-denies-rigging-assessment-thresholds-in-redundancy-dispute/2010477.article

and

http://www.labourblawg.com/employment-law/lecturer-claims-unfair-dismissal-in-employment-tribunal-after-alleging-biased-redundancy/

This was a learning experience. Many valued colleagues supported me, our friendship deepened, my sphere of knowledge widened, and my emotions deepened.

I broke free from a strange type of slavery – where the masters had been managers at Queen Mary University of London.

I feel a free human being again. And joined twitter