Tag: academic freedom

Simon Gaskell should reinstate John Allen

Simon Gaskell should reinstate John Allen to his post at Queen Mary. It is the right thing to do after the Employment Tribunal’s findings that John’s dismissal was unfair. The Tribunal found that removing the whole of the John’s pre-sabbatical work was such a serious breach of contract that, taken together with the failure to deal with his grievance in a reasonable time, it would have justified resignation and a constructive dismissal claim. (more…)

Imperial College management and Professor Stefan Grimm teach us:

What should we learn from the recent suicide at Imperial College? A collation of comments from the discussion in the Times Higher Education pages gives hope. However, one commentator, Jim, has spotted a danger: “If we tar all senior management as the same simply because they are making people redundant, decent compassionate people will opt out and only the real monsters will do these jobs.” I would say reform is urgent, for “The record suggests… such monsters are climbing high on the ladders.”

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How to avoid petrification from the real monsters? Reform is required with respect to university governance; I suggest we pay close attention to concerned academics:

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New facet of scientific illiteracy

In Mexico, bean-counting is also referred to as puntitis (Jorge Quevedo) or cuentachilismo (Marcelino Cereijido). My local colleague and celebrated author has created with his student Claudia Edwards a three-paragraph gem on the stupidity of bureaucratic managerialism in science. You can read it in Spanish here. The text is so good that I have translated the 5 concrete examples of “modern” stupidity below. The international reader will instantly see that the crisis Pirincho (as Marcelino is also known to his friends) describes is by no means a “third world” problem.

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Preparing for the big day

REF probably means little or nothing to scientists around the world, unless they work in Britain. This is the final week, prior to the preliminary announcements of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) “assessment outcomes”, which “will inform the selective allocation of research funding” and “provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks“. Are you REFable or a REFugee? asks THE editor John Gill. He would probably classify me to the latter category 🙂 Yet, Lord Stern of Brent, President of the British Academy and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society have raised questions:

Has what was designed as an instrument of quality assessment become an institution that risks stifling the excellence it was intended to foster?

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Thoughts on undeperformance at Warwickshire College and/or Warwick University

I read yesterday that Warwick’s “Medical School and School of Life Sciences have been warned that the departments are under-performing financially” and that “bosses at the campus, in Gibbet Hill, Coventry, say if they have to cut staff they aim to find volunteers to leave their jobs in return for redundancy payments“. I then saw an earlier report in BBC suggesting that the situation was such at Warwickshire College. Were both institutions issuing job threats to instill uncertainty?

What caught my attention was the terminology used: bosses at the campus. I could think of other terms, more appropriate for those in positions of responsibility in a bank, a prison or a university…

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