Tag: restruction

Innocent spin inviting a laugh or public display of dishonesty?

I wrote in August 2012

It is time… to intervene and force a change in leadership at Queen Mary. Otherwise, future generations will learn by example that those who disrespect academic integrity are rewarded with university title and published fanfare in the academic press

If scientists knowingly spin an incorrect statement into the title of a paper and present a misleading finding of fact, qualified in footnote with reference to a table, the table showing that title, finding and footnote do not stand to scrutiny, what happens to their reputation?

I ask here again if science and modern university management are presently in conflict. The question follows what Queen Mary management has published in the University’s website:

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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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Three notable conversations

Internet is changing some aspects of the world we live in. Faster and easier verbal communication between individuals with more dialogues appearing intentionally in the public domain. In separate conversations, I engaged today with Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Law at Queen Mary University of London and with Anne Marie Cunningham, General Practicioner and Clinical Lecturer in Cardiff University, Wales, UK, neither of whom have I met in person. My “good friend and colleague” also blogged over the use of words in misuse of power, in reply to last night’s tweet from Mexico City! The conversations follow below and can be independently accessed via our respective twitter accounts; I have assumed twitter users don’t mind the reproduction.

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John F. Allen, Professor of Biochemisty, was dismissed by Simon Gaskell, Principal of QMUL

Reposting published items on John’s dismissal written by others.

A salute to whistleblowers

“Now they have got around to sacking John as well, on what has all the appearance of being a trumped-up charge (failing to obey an order from the Head of School)… If you appoint independent thinkers (as surely any university worthy of the name must do), you should not be surprised when they think independently.”

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The teaching of cell biology in a School of Biological and Chemical Sciences – Part II

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.

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King’s College London

The historical King’s College London is in trouble, or at least this is what Sir Robin Murray, FRS and Professor of Psychiatric Research (Mass Redundancies at King’s College London are destroying morale), David Colquhoun, FRS and Professor of Pharmacology (Bad financial management at Kings College London means VC Rick Trainor is firing 120 scientists) and Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology (No logic in King’s College job cuts) suggest, and they are not alone.

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