“This last man standing is Dr. Nakamoto” writes Caitlin Logan and certain memories make me shiver. I want to extend my hand and to stand firmly besides Dr. Nakamoto. For his story has not been told yet, beyond what Caitlin brings to light today. I wish to add two details, here.
I noticed visits to this blog from DailyNous “Serious Cuts and Stark Choices at Aberdeen“. I asked whether the former Science & Engineering Vice Principal at Queen Mary, Jeremy Kilburn, was repeating one of his destructive assaults against colleagues? At Queen Mary he convinced academics to strike; an act he repeated at the University of Aberdeen. Unfortunately, according to the BBC, it looks like Kilburn continues to call for academic sackings. I wish he fails and faces instead the sack himself. (more…)
Simon Gaskell has announced with an email to all staff his retirement. This is good news for the College, although it will be challenging to find a successor to reverse such decline witnessed in the past few years. Together with the departures of Matthew Evans and Jeremy Kilburn, none of the culprits of the destruction of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences remains in post. As I put it to Gaskell in November 2011:
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…)
With two tweets, Prof Matthew Evans announced his notice to Queen Mary University of London, standing down on July 1st, 2016. His departure follows that of Prof Jeremy Kilburn. I once shared with the Principal of Queen Mary my view that because managers (like politicians) change all the time, the incentive to build an improved department (which in former times would mean personal recognition) appears to be lacking. Indeed, this pair of managers deeply transformed the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences: in a blink of an eye they recruited over 50 new academics who joined 40 members of staff surviving since 2011, while effecting 35 departures of active researchers. Was it for the better? I think Prof Evans would say so:
Last week I visited colleagues that continue to work at my former department. I and others had our affiliations severed following the restructuring of SBCS in 2012. My trip coincided with the publication of the names of individuals (and their contributed papers) representing SBCS in a major UK government evaluation, known as the REF. It is therefore unsurprising that conversations centred, amongst other things, to an evaluation of the REF outcomes for the department and the effects the restructuring had on its performance. Some of the comments I heard are difficult to transmit without placing valued colleagues or myself at risk of further reprisals. In this category I place important matters such as the wellbeing (health) of friends who have been put under “performance management” or subjective views on the dramatic shift in what is being valued and rewarded within the restructured department.
In 2007, I started on my first independent position in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. Two years later Sir Nicholas Montagu was appointed Chairman of Council and Simon Gaskell was appointed Principal of the University. They formulated a strategic plan with the explicit aim to rank QMUL in the UK’s top-ten list according to the Government’s Research Excellence Framework assessment.