Summary – the story below describes the preparation required to provide a high-quality series of lectures to university students and what happens when corporate management takes over university governance. After I was dismissed someone was employed full-time to cover the teaching of cell biology. A year later this person was also dismissed.
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.
In a post written in the Greek language, I asked readers what they would be voting in the upcoming elections, trying to summarise the 43 choices of parties or coalitions between parties that are participating from my country. Greece is often referred to as the birthplace of democracy and – if the number of parties is any indicator – seems to be in an intense period of soul-searching. No doubt the economic crisis is being reflected here. I pointed out that job insecurity or enhanced mobility (two expressions of a similar process) is now infecting the political world. It is important to note the irony of a workforce being continuously moved around despite – in so many areas of the economy – the jobs it serves remaining still.
With the above as a brief introduction, I present here two tables for a wider audience who may wish to ‘read’ into the Greek participation in the process. The first one – in English – is the summary of my analysis. Therefore there is a subjective component in grouping together the 43 parties into 13 categories that may be more recognisable – based on their ideology, which trascends our culture. I think my message on twitter with the results from local elections shows such categorisation is useful – see
Μαζί με την οικονομική κρίση και τη χρεοκοπία είδαμε την κινητικότητα να μεταφέρεται από τον ιδιωτικό και στο δημόσιο τομέα. Αναπόφευχτα λοιπόν περνάει τώρα και στο πολιτικό σκηνικό. Όπως στην αληθινή ζωή, κινητικότητα σημαίνει μικρότερη σταθερότητα για όσους κινούνται. Οι εργασίες όμως που καλούνται να φέρουν σε πέρας συχνά παραμένουν.
Coming to Mexico, I am easily identifiable as a griego, which has never been confused – when said – with a gringo. I ask sometimes why do you call the yanquis – mexican spelling for yankees – “gringos”? (As if I knew the origin for this alternative term – I didn’t. I checked today, only to find out that the origin of yanquis is as uncertain as the origin of gringos that prompted this post)
‘Ελα μαζί μου, σ’ αγαπώ. Στ’ όμορφο ακρογιάλι καρτερώ φεγγαράκι, ξαστεριά, κύμα και φωτιά. Και μετά: όποιος το πνεύμα του ποθεί να δυναμώσει να βγει απ’ το σέβας κι από την υποταγή. Menudo, amada sensación. Voces de aquellos que han desaparecido para nosotros como los muertos. Ojos de un azul de zafiro. Y ahora, iniciado, en el viaje a Itaca no mires atrás, son solo sombras la luz te está llamando, acuérdate la luz de Itaca.
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
Two recent examples from Universities, Warwick and Kent: