Summary – here I continue a previous comment on the same subject with a new twist to the story. Introducing 400 students to a major subject in biology during a full term is a significant task, especially if their education is to be at a higher level. It took me three years of guided preparation before I was asked to teach the full Cell Biology module single-handedly at Queen Mary University of London. I was then sacked because I opposed dubious management practice so someone else (sadly with fewer qualifications) was recruited and asked to perform this teaching instead. The student body protested in their evaluation forms and the newly recruited lecturer didn’t get her contract renewed. Here I summarise what followed her departure.
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.